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I Belong to Me

Last month I took part in a naked photo shoot in a beautiful woodland with 5 amazing, inspirational women - all with their own reasons for doing it.  These stories will be compiled in a book with the photos and published to raise money for charity. (Please get in touch if you would also like to be involved in future projects) Here is my story of why I took part. 

I Belong to Me

I have always felt different; like I truly never belonged anywhere.  I have been searching for this feeling of Belonging all of my life and not knowing I had to find it within myself, I have adapted, numbed myself, modified my behaviour and tried to go along with Everybody Else just to experience ‘fitting in’ and being ‘normal’.  But at the age of 44, after doing this photo shoot and writing a book of poetry telling my truth, I am finally celebrating who I really am.  And it’s fucking liberating. And terrifying. And glorious.


I am an Empath who wants to have a heart connection with MOST people on a soul level rather than on a bullshit superficial level.  So, apart from the obvious (- keeping us alive!), I’ve never really seen the point of having a body! I guess on some level I’ve always felt disconnected from mine as anything other than skin and bone, so I find it strange that our society judges people based on their appearance.


Plus I’ve always been the opposite - I don’t really care what anyone looks like - I’m more curious about what’s going on beneath the surface. I want to know if they also have HUGE feelings like me, I want to know their doubts and insecurities, what keeps them awake, what their dreams are, how they feel regardless of their external body. But no one talked about any of this stuff, so that only contributed to my feeling that I’d been born into the wrong body in the wrong country in the wrong time. 


High school only highlighted the ‘There’s something wrong with me’ belief as it became apparent that certain parts of me WERE different to other kids- I guess I learnt this through mild bullying or name calling -My hair was this out of control curly frizzball and given my name, ‘Kate Bush’ was an obvious one, alongside ‘Bogbrush’ and ‘Mophead’.  This attention was excruciating as I was very shy and blushed very easily if more than 3 people were looking at me (which they often did to take the piss out of that fact I was going red).  I also wore very dodgy National Health glasses, had a brace to correct the gap in my teeth and was taller and skinnier than everyone in my class. I hated everything about myself, purely because it singled me out as some sort of freak - which is how I felt.  But deep down I wanted someone to see me for the size of my heart or how much I felt things, rather than how I looked. I think it was during this time that I just accepted that my worth would always be determined by the way others saw me and tried to fit in as best I could.


Needless to say, I didn’t have a real boyfriend until I was 18 and always felt like the Ugly Duckling the whole way through my teens. This all changed at University when men started to find me attractive, which was bizarre to me as I was still the same on the inside - but still it was about the external; this time in appreciation of my body but still not my heart. I had a few boyfriends during these years and in my final year I fell head over heels in love, which ended after a year as he got offered a job abroad. This was the first time I experienced heartbreak. It was no ones fault but I was gutted and hid the pain through numbing;  Binge drinking, emotional eating and One Night Stands. More disconnection to my body.


For the first time in those early twenties, I started to use my body to gain love. Or what I thought was love. The combination of sadness, alcohol and new male attention lead me to let my body be used in a way that was a temporary hit of connection through meaningless sex, which very quickly turned into deep shame and even deeper self loathing afterwards.

I suppose my self-worth was now dependant on how men viewed me and since I was too scared of getting hurt again by becoming involved with anyone, the empty sex was less risky than actual love. Let them into your body but not your heart.


When I was 31 after 6 years being single, I met another Big Love who was able to see through my bullshit story of wanting to be on my own.  The love was immediate, we recognised each other on a deep level and I ignored the lack of chemistry and moved in with him the following year.


He loved me unconditionally, accepted my Empath sensitivities and encouraged my Spiritual side.  Through this exploration I worked on my low self esteem and general unconscious hatred towards myself by stopping the binge drinking, reading the work of Louise Hay about loving yourself and tapping into this Spiritual World of Reiki, crystals, angels and guides etc.  But despite this connection to The Divine, my disconnection to my own body was even worse, as the love between us became  more like a platonic relationship. But I wanted more and we split up just after I turned 40.


It seemed like I had spent my twenties putting my body through sex without love and in my thirties, it became love without sex.  On a deeper level, I longed to integrate a body AND heart connection


At this point in my forties, I had lost all connection to my body but this goddess within me was ready to emerge after being firmly in my shut-down masculine for years.  I finally took responsibility for belonging to myself and started to heal this disconnection. I came off the pill and got in touch with my cycle. I studied the work of David Deida and Esther Perel on intimacy and the Masculine/Feminine polarity, I went to a Jade Egg workshop (google it!)  I experienced Divine Sacred Sex as a Holy Communion with another,  I started to treat my body with more kindness. I chanted the Ho’onopono forgiveness prayer into the mirror a million times, I wrote blogs telling my truth, I published my book ‘What Love told Me’ and gradually I began to like myself for the first time as a WHOLE being.


 I took part in this project because I wanted to connect in nature with myself, purely for me to acknowledge the freedom I now feel from all of the disconnection and as an act of forgiveness towards my body.  I have put her through so much abuse and neglect and wanted to offer myself this photo shoot to myself to honour that.  So for me, prancing around naked in the rain was about the healing I have experienced and me celebrating my precious body in apology to her.


It’s only writing this now, that I realise why I have longed to tell my truth and become more authentic in all areas of my life. The more I have exposed my experience of being the odd-one-out, the more people confess that they are the same. Which is such a relief as for such a big chunk of my life, I felt so much confusion from thinking I was the Only One whilst simultaneously believing that surely we’re all the same underneath.


As I have brought compassion to the weird parts of me and embraced my uniqueness by openly talking about my doubts, my fears and my insecurities; more people from my Tribe have appeared saying that they were always like me too. And that has brought a new feeling of belonging and connection - And I’m not saying I’ve got my shit together or that I believe I will ever reach a state of complete self love (Christ, I still binge on chocolate and check in the mirror how big my belly is) but I want to tell the truth and not disconnect from who I am anymore. 


I’m now at a place where I want to show up in the world as ‘ME’ in all my truth- where I completely and utterly belong to myself - and connect to my own Body, Mind AND Soul. And I’m sharing this because we cannot do this healing by ourselves.  We are all in this together.  We need each other. So if you can also tell your truth and show your wobbly bits (literally in the case of this beautiful book!), I promise you, you will find the Other Weird Ones so you will never have to feel alone again.

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