I know I’m not the only person who struggles with body image. With the perfect body forced down our throats every minute of the day, it’s understandable many of us are striving for that unreachable level of perfection that is only possible with Photoshop.
I was always a chubby child. As I grew up so did other parts of my body. And you try almost everything from diets to exercise plans — every fad that late-night television throws at you.

I have done them all — every form of detox diet, no carbs, only carbs, only protein, lemons, cucumbers and even drinking litres of a herbal drink that makes you pee like a racehorse and I’m not even going to mention how you smell.

It has recently dawned on me that I have to be happy with myself. I have to make sure I am healthy and fit — even if that means I will never look like any of the guys in the magazines or even the hotties behind the bar at Stonewall.

I still watch what I eat and exercise most days, but I have started to accept my natural body shape and even rejoice in it.
Many years ago I was living with Vanity Faire in Kings Cross. I think I was at my largest, sitting on the lounge wrist-deep in something fried or chocolate ­— or both.

I was watching a documentary on a fabulous photographer Spencer Tunick. In the doco he used thousands of nude models in one place. The models were in different positions, of all shapes and sizes, and Tunick was taking pictures of different bodies against the earth. I was amazed at how liberated these people were, dropping their underwear to be captured forever in print.

I decided that if Tunick ever came to Australia again I would make sure I got involved. It’s one of those promises you make to yourself but never really expect to have to follow through with.

So you could have blown me down with a feather when Mardi Gras announced last week it was bringing Tunick here to do a photograph in Sydney as part of the festival.

My mind is still racing — do I make good on my promise and be a part of it? Everyone else will be in the same boat as me. Nakedness won’t really be that big a deal.

It seems that a lot of the things that are liberating are also terrifying, but an opportunity like this may never come around again. Could this be my ultimate challenge? Shedding all my clothes for the world?

I have taken the first step and signed up at www.mardigras.org.au/tunick. It is the first step, but a huge one for me.
I’m sure once the photo is taken and we are clothed again it won’t seem so much of a deal. But until then the terrified excitement will continue to flow through me.

If, like me, you have things to teach yourself, come join me. We can be nudie together.

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