Monday, June 1, 2015

Live Nude (Fat) Witch!

I'm fat.

I have always been fat.

I have had someone comment on my body, appearance, weight, face, and voice at least once daily for thirty years.

Sometimes it was complimentary-ish:

"Oh, look at those cheeks, I just want to pinch them!"
"Oh what a handsome face you have!"
"When you get older and start playing football, you'll lose the baby fat and be a real lady killer."
"You're just a big old teddy bear!"

Most of the time, not so much. School was a nightmare, as it was for most of us, but I heard the worst of it at home.

I was being given Slim Fast at 3. Name a diet pill, I've been on it. Think of all the weight-loss gimmicks you've seen on an infomercial. Did all that too. The line was drawn at weight loss surgery, which oddly enough, would probably have been the most effective choice.

There is a certain acceptance of fat men's bodies so long as they are hyper masculine in every other way. Play football, do sports, get married, make babies and your fat will never be used as a weapon against you. You could also be the funny guy who likes to party and is nice to everyone and you'll probably be okay. If you are fat and gay, artsy, sensitive, feminine, smart - any deviation from the patriarchal norm, and you have purchased a ticket for abuse and torment.

I have wrestled with body image and self esteem issues for decades. There has been depression and anxiety in the mix as well. There are days when I feel great about myself and days when I never want to leave my house again.

Doing theatre helped - I've had to strip down to my underwear so that dressers could properly lace me into a costume and there isn't much room for self-consciousness when you have mere minutes to do a costume change and make your cue.

Finding the bear community helped, though Goddess knows I have my issues with the subculture.

I also had witchcraft. My initial exposure (ha!) to Wicca were books written before the days of robed covens or wearing street clothes in circle. Being a witch meant you were naked. That first book talked about an initiate and a Priestess taking a ritual bath together and lots of touching and kissing of body parts.

Kinky shit for a ten year old.

I remember the night I did the self-blessing ritual out of the book. I'd taken a bath and had a lit candle and sandalwood incense. I had no access to wine so I used grape juice. There was a part of me that worried I was buying a one way ticket to hell and that Satan himself was going to show up and eat me. The part that scared the shit out of me was the required nudity. Doing a witchcraft ritual and calling upon Old Gods to be present and notice you was one thing - being naked while doing religious things was quite another. Cultural Catholicism runs deep.

It was great, but I still wasn't down with the nudity. I've worked robed, which always felt ridiculous, pretentious and uncomfortable. I've worked in street clothes, which leaves you sweaty and smelling of incense for the rest of the day. I'd been practicing for awhile before I incorporated nudity into my rituals. It was different then and I did a lot of work around self-love (shut up pervs!) and self-esteem during my teens/early twenties.

Eventually, I was working naked all the time. I started hating my body and myself a lot less once I was spending time in front of GODS with all my imperfections on display. I don't think ritual nudity, even on a solitary basis, will be a healing experience for everyone but it was for me.

Nudity by myself is easy. I was happy being naked in circle by myself, but I didn't want anyone else looking at me. I figured if I ever found a coven I'd have to find one where any nudity involved would be completely optional - with me opting to stay fully clothed.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and I find myself interested in a few specific traditions of witchcraft. Those traditions are all skyclad traditions. If I ever train or initiate into one of those traditions, I have to be naked. The traditions and styles of practice that would cater to my comfort levels or my hang ups about my body don't interest me, I even think a lot of them are pretty dumb.

I don't want to be comfortable. I've never grown from comfort. I've only ever grown from being challenged.

When I finally circled with other people, I found myself amazed by a few things. First of all, it was hot as fuck in that room. Granted, put a handful of people in a room with candles and charcoal going and it will get warm, but this was in a nicely air conditioned room and I was still drenched in sweat. If they had asked me to strip down, I would have. Second, I didn't give a damn about them possibly looking at my body. We were focused on other things and my huge ass wasn't one of them.

I'm still not into being naked. I'm not even into being sleeveless, for crying out loud! If I had to change my shirt in front of someone that I'm not sleeping with, it would be a most dreadful thing for me. If I were about to witch-up with the right group of witches, I'd probably feel differently.

I won't know until it happens.




4 comments:

  1. As a fat woman, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about all of this, and I just can't seem to articulate them properly right now. But I couldn't just walk away after reading this without thanking you for writing it. I have done some ritual work naked, but only in the context of ritual baths, never any full workings. But this makes me want to. Rather, it reminds me that I NEED to, and it's something I have been thinking about for a while now. So thanks again.

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  2. Thank you! I don't know if I've articulated myself all that well, really. This has been sitting in draft mode for months. I have complicated feelings about it all.

    For me it's a need and a want and I think is necessary for *my* practice, but I can only speak for my own thoughts and experience.

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  3. I think you said it quite well! I have been overweight all of my life, too, and I know how complicated trying to tease out all of the ways it impacts us it can be. I spent a lot of my time trying to hide myself, both emotionally and physically. I still sometimes catch myself trying to make myself "smaller," even in ritual. It's something my gods have called me out on before. I think I really need to do some more work on it. I still have some of that old conditioning that I need to get clear of (both cultural and religious.)

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  4. I'm way late to this reading your blog. Also a fat girl most of my life (I was "big-boned" as a girl, not quite fat yet).

    So. I have not gone skyclad till recently. Often, it's not full on nudity... naked except for a sarong around my hips perhaps, saggy tits and all. Though last initiation we did we were nude, but it helps we're an all women coven. One of the pagan festivals we go to a friend holds a skyclad ritual for people to affirm their nude beauty ritually (he's a bear too!) and I was planning to go except the whole fest was flooded out. However... I recently went to a camping weekend with a largish sabbat that was clothing optional, and was at least half nude most of the time and let me tell you, in that safe space where nearly everyone was middle age or older and partially nude a lot, and even the younger women had the marks of baby-making so they weren't perfect, it was worth every square inch of bare skin to feel so free and have no one give a squat.

    Maybe I'd feel different if 2/3 of the people I spent time with had "model perfect" bodies. But... who does anyway? Take off the clothes and nearly every pagan and witch I've seen has flab, scars, or something they were intimidated to uncover.

    I have a long way to go, I still hesitate to take my shirt off. It helps my covenmate started the #nakedcoffee movement. It gets all our shirts off. lol Find your own safe space, and you'll find freedom too!

    "Wearing nothing is Divine, nakid is a state of mind." ~Luscious Jackson

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