When I was asked to share my story and write a book, I felt overwhelmed and truly vulnerable.
When I started using social media, I decided to use it not for likes but as a way of stripping back my layers to heal and build connections with myself and others.
I have experienced personal trauma that led me to an attempt at taking my life when my daughter was two years old. Exploring how to strip back my protective layers, to feel brave and beautiful again, and to make the rest of my life the best of my life encouraged me to get out of head and more into my body and heart and reconnect with both myself and others.
I wanted to feel less judged, less insecure, and less scared. I wanted to feel more accepted, more worthy, more confident, more me, and more loved—just as I am.
The place I choose to do this was on social media, and ever since I came online, I wanted to build the type of community that allowed us to be brave, to open our minds and hearts, to get fit from the inside out, and to both “bare” it all (allowing ourselves to be vulnerable when appropriate) and “bear” it all (accepting both the good and the bad with patience and grace). This is when we could feel our most beautiful and live our best lives.
But many do not realise that being brave looks different for everyone.
For some, it is skydiving. For some, it is going naked. For some, it is asking a question, leaving their partner, telling a truth, or facing a spider. For me, however, it means being open enough to really get to know and love ourselves, stripped of all societal pressures and expectations. And when it comes to being beautiful, well, we’re all beautiful in our own ways, so it’s just about accepting our own truth and embracing and believing in ourselves.
Part of this journey has been working with body love and being nude.
My first experience as an adult being nude with other adults in a public environment was in a small-town sauna in Austria with my partner’s parents, the town mayor, and the head of police, along with a few neighbours. I had no idea a sauna meant being nude in Austria, but it opened my eyes. Being nude with such well-known people in the community showed me that society has gotten nudity so wrong in its association with porn, and also so underrated for its healing benefits.
It has been extremely hard sharing my art and healing journey—with being misunderstood, shamed, judged, and attacked on line. However, being nude has played such an important role in my body-positive life and my healing. It has also given me the gift to see that our bodies do not limit us no matter the shape or size. It is our mindset that does—and you realise this while being privy to all different body sizes, shapes, colors, and ages on this journey of learning to be nude. You learn that most can be happy in their imperfections or unique beauty.
I think it is important that we as humans are surrounded by people who have healthy perceptions of their own body. In this age of filters and curating ourselves online with clothes, makeup, lights, and angles, we have all developed a complex that we are not enough. When truly, we are all enough and beautiful—and we need to realise that we must stop curating ourselves and judging others for how they look.
I grew up with a mother who never wanted to wear a swimsuit because her mother told her she was not pretty enough. It saddened me that my mom would never swim with me. As a child and even as an adult, all I could see was my beautiful mom who I wanted to spend time with, but the judgement and shame had limited her in life because she felt unworthy.
When I was younger, I always had a fit body—I was an athlete, and after pregnancy, I continued my athleticism. It has never been easy. It is many hours of work including making time at 5 a.m., self-discipline (which I believe is self-love), time management skills, and compromises about time spent on social media, or watching Netflix, or choosing healthier foods when I had cravings. I worked consistently on good habits and my mental health, and it took hours and hours of practice to develop my skills.
But what people will never see is that it was never about my body first—it was always about me feeling well. It helped me manage my mental health. As a new mom, I found it extremely tough—and being online or offline made no difference: people shamed me for my body. They said I had it easy, that I had the time to do what it took to have specific body type. Or that I was selfish and did not take care of my daughter well enough. Or that I was in the porn industry. It was devastating.
However, for me, being selfish wasn’t about my body—being selfish meant taking my own life and leaving my daughter in this world without me. This is what would have happened had I not started stripping back the layers and finding movement to be my medicine. I was, and am still, in fact, caring for myself so I would never try to take my own life again. I was also showing my daughter how to manage adversity, how to do hard things to get results, and how fitness can be fun and a part of life. It is possible to make time for any kind of self-care, including fitness, even whilst you raise a kid, work, travel, and go through life’s challenges.
Part of my nudity journey came from watching my daughter run around unapologetically in her own skin. She did not question her value, even with her soft dimpled bottom, her rashes, or the world around her. She just lived like normal—she wasn’t limited by her physical looks; she didn’t feel ashamed. It made me realise it is not a life with or without clothes, it is just life. It is not yoga with or without clothes, it is just yoga. It is not a shower with or without clothes, it is just a shower. And we should all be able to be comfortable in our skin.
These days, as more of us become a part of the social media generation, we are constantly bombarded with labels, judgment, and filtered reality, which isn’t real.
This is why I share all facets of my being—because real is when we heal, when we become who we are always meant to be, when we meet our tribe, when we feel our best and can handle life a lot better.
When I was a child, my dad used to get changed in public, stripping down naked at pools and beaches and walking through the house naked. It made me feel uncomfortable because I did not know anyone else who did it. However, as I got older and started to do it more myself, I realised it was only uncomfortable because it was new and the world had taught me it wasn’t okay.
When my daughter came along and ran around naked, I realised what my dad had been trying to teach me all along, and I remember that he’d shared with me about the aboriginal cultures also doing the same. Our mind is the battlefield, not our body.
I have come to realise a lot of people just won’t see me or love me because they are too busy making up stories about who I am, and hating or loving me for what I am not.
I have come to realise so many of us feel alone because we are too busy talking about others’ lives instead of telling our stories.
I have come to realise so many of us are lost in a story we don’t belong to because we focused on the externals instead of the internals.
I have come to realise more than ever that the greatest power you can give yourself is the ability to write your own story—yes, we must observe others and the world around us, and we should listen with intention, but then we need to live our own story.
Doing this helps to take away the pain of lost love, the hurt within hurt people, the judgement and shame of others that you do not need to own, the lack of hope and faith that make us fearful of the unknown.
Because writing our own story means that we become accountable for who we are. Our focus turns to where we come from and what we can control—and we become too busy being the upward spiral of kindness to let externals dictate or limit us anymore. It also helps us to attract those who see us and the things we want. We simply cannot catch our dreams from a place we don’t belong, with stories that are not ours. We can only catch our dreams by taking one step at a time, remembering who we are and where we are this moment.