Exam day

Whoa!

In 2 hours I will know how it went with the project on Women’s Bodies, the one that has naturism and life modelling in it. To be honest, I am quite nervous, which also shows on my blood glucose levels… Not the ideal conditions for an exam to be honest.

We have to do a presentation and then later, there is a socalled ‘informal chat’… Right. We shall see how it goes.

Two projects handed in

Oh my! That took a bit of effort but finally, the Ash project and the Body Image and Self-Acceptance project have both been handed in.

I am feeling a little apprehensive but I believe it will be okay. Exams in a couple weeks based on the project about Body Image and Self-Acceptance.

I think I just want to stay in bed with a book for a little while. Been a hectic week. I deserve som peace and quiet I think.

Ninja Exhibition

It all started like a bit of a joke. Well, a joke and a need to show how an exhibition could look, for the project on Body Image which is due to be handed in next Monday. So we wanted to put a few pictures on a white wall, take a few photos and just get the feel across as an appendix to the project.

Then my group mate said – shame we can’t do it for real- would be fun to do it here, at school. And I didn’t like her disappointed face, so I believe I said something like… why don’t we do a ninja exhibition, exclusively short, only a few hours, next Wednesday – invite the others – we’ll do it in the sneaky corner under the stairs.

Don’t we have to ask first?

Nope, we’ll ask for foregiveness if needed, but no one should be bothered by a few pictures on an otherwise empty wall.

That’s when the printer then decided to not want to print colours.

I’d already started the day by introducing my group mate to croquis – not quite right but I’d found a few pictures for us to draw from on the smartboard and thrown some crayons at her and said: Draw! And she’d blushed and laughed and got on with it and now we had the other part of the exhibition: The Life Models. Hers would be the photographs of natural women.

I’m sure it will be fun. Primitive. Ninja’d. But fun.

The Gaze and The Regard

Currently for the project working with Lacan’s concept of ‘The Gaze’ – the awareness that you can be viewed from the outside and how that makes people anxious because it takes away some of their autonomy in a sense – makes them a little incongruent with themselves because of this external gaze, making them aware that they are objects to others – and on the other hand the ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’ that Carl Rogers says is one of the reasons therapist and client relationships work – that the experience of being accepted is helping people examine and accept themselves.

Applying these theories to women in a social nudity setting as a con and pro voice respectively in my opinion reveals that they both have something to add to the debate but also that the fundamental qualities of this Mirror Awareness that Lacan speaks about is probably not so fundamental, or at least not so absolute. I believe that it is the quality of the gaze, the regard, even when it is mostly neutral, that makes it a positive and healing experience or a negative and alienating experience – many of the models I have talked to say that the fact that they are just models – good models maybe┬ábut not irreplaceable – even though it sounds like a devaluation, actually find that it gives them freedom and puts them in a mindful state where they experience what is and accept it while still being very present in the moment, and naked both physically and mentally.

This leads me to think that the ‘fear of the gaze’ is perhaps a cultural construct to some degree. The experiences of the models and also the naturists, seem to show that there is a level of Buddhist truth to the concept of Dukkha – the slight, ever present unease or annoyance when we wish things were different, and that peace and happiness is not so much getting all that you want, and arriving at that point on the horizon. No, it is an acceptance of what is, leading to an absence of unease, an absence where happiness emerges as a negation, an absence of all the things that should be different.

And it’s this experience, this meditative being-there, that I wish to convey to people – both in experience products related to art modelling, naturism and mindfulness, but also in a more general debate about ideals and bodies and goals – we get so much further by being kind to ourselves and to each other. Whether that is in front of the mirror, with a partner, in the locker room or when walking down the street. What is there is what is there and that’s alright. Really, it’s okay.

In case anyone wants to read about how a starting point of acceptance is good for change too, weight loss for instance, take a look here: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar06/health0306.htm

And everyone have a good day!

Lake

Not all mirrors are bad…

Project Venue

During the past few weeks, I’ve felt a bit busy – I have been making initial contacts for my part of the project – some of which worked out better than others. I’ve now got a contact and a really nice location for our experiment if it will work out – it will be excellent to have the option to actually make something happen this time.

I still need to talk to quite a few people, and I need to try and find participants who are curious about body images and themselves. I think it may be a challenge, but if we can do it, it will be really really good.

The idea is to introduce younger women to body acceptance through an event which combines aspects of naturism and life modelling. And see if we can measure any changes in their view of themselves and others. And also whether they have found the experience rewarding, of course.

I will try to keep you updated on what is going to happen. It’s quite exciting. And okay, admitted, it’s also a bit scary – it will be my first project like that. Suppose it is alright to have butterflies?