Embrace the beauty in living life unfiltered.

Thank you for reading my stories, laughing along, and being brave enough to share yours! 

bare naked

Pardon the absence. This Naked Life was having itself a makeover. Scratch that. A make under. We've cleaned up, stripped (even further) down, and now lay before you uncovered like never before. 

Some intentional time was taken off from writing to redesign the site and establish more clearly our naked writing goals. The full truth is that time was taken off from a whole lot else, too. The energy level capping off 2016 was high and I rode every wave in sight. The start of 2017 saw rockier waters and my flow seemed no mo.

The idea of “having and doing it all” had slowly become nothing more than a facade. My family was in a storm and I was resistant against the change of seas. I kept pain to myself while keeping up appearances. When that became challenging, I retreated and blamed a tight schedule for being M.I.A.

Keeping the pain was isolating.

Trying to manage my stress in a therapy session one day I admitted that (NBD) I hadn’t shared with anyone what I was harboring. When your therapist’s face looks a little judge-y it’s quite clear you’ve chosen poorly. My confession bought some therapy homework of sharing with those whom I could trust. Luckily, I had options.

I left the office with sunglasses on despite the day’s grey skies. Disguises come in many fashionable styles. I pushed the door open to the sidewalk and quite literally, bumped into my friend, who had taken the day off and was out running errands. In front of my therapist’s office. At the exact moment I left with my homework. Sign received.

Joining her I took off the shades as well as my armor. She told me I was brave. It was the last response I expected to hear but her sincerity made me feel it true. A heaviness quickly lifted from my body. I shared with a few more trusted friends and the weight that at once felt like it could bury me continued to lift. Even if the seas remained rocky, sharing allowed me to flow with the waves more easily. And eventually, as they tend to do, the waves settled.

Sharing my truth was liberating.

I took the high of feeling free up several hundred notches. Go big or go home right? I submitted and later appeared in Women’s Health Magazine sharing a social media photo with a more accurate tagline than what was originally captioned, originally deceived.

I revealed at the time of the photo I was in a space where even a simple greeting from a grocery clerk ran the risk of my floodgates opening. I was sad. Social media suggested otherwise, as it often does.

Humble brag; that took a lot of guts.

Initially, I felt embarrassed for my larger circles of friends to see the piece. After all, I had spent the last year vulnerably sharing via the World Wide Web personal stories, many of which spoke about struggle and pain and now this. I could hear the pity in people’s voices already, no longer talking to me like I’m the same me. 

A note about me. My dominant nature is carefree, light hearted, and happy. And I have felt periods of heartrending sadness and time frozen by bouts of anxiety. I struggle more than some and less than others. To whatever degree struggle presents, one thing is universal between us all; no one has immunity.

Our whole lives we are taught about the road to happiness while the topic of pain is carefully avoided. If and when a breakdown occurs we feel shame for not being able to hold onto that happy. The inclination then is to cover up, hide our pain, and to keep the happy going. 

With our pain covered and hiding we limit our ability to truly connect with one another. Worse yet, it perpetuates the shame of pain. I don’t know about you but I have never seen shame hit a person and spiral anyplace nice.

I had been perseverating over re-launching this site, mulling over content, indecisive on its purpose, but I kept hitting brick. Turning my attention elsewhere, I got over the self-inflicted embarrassed feeling around The Women’s Health piece and shared online.

It didn’t take long until I remembered my “why” behind the magazine submission. Shortly after, the purpose for This Naked Life became crystal clear.

I am here to make good use of my struggle so others don’t feel alone in theirs. To create a space where you feel connected. To show up unmanufactured and share vulnerably to give you the courage to be compassionate with your own story. And brave enough to share yours in trusted spaces.

I’ve always been intensely curious about the human experience. Whether I’m strolling through my neighborhood or exploring a foreign city my mind gets lost in the people I see.

What choices have brought them to this moment?

What struggles have they known?

What does joy look like to them? How do they work for it?

What can I learn from them?

What lesson of value could I share in return?

Everyone has a story. We are all in this together and we need each other. And This Naked Life will now have the space for others to share their truths as well as their insights on life. I am so grateful for those who have been brave enough to share and I know their unique perspectives will resonate with you.

I want you to know this journey is still full of fuck-ups and hang-ups. Perfect is not a goal I’m striving toward and that is good because I’d be failing, miserably. I make mistakes, some with deep regret, and some more than once. I can beat myself up and rock a mean “woe is me” party.

I struggle more than some and less than others but I will always find a way to hip check myself to see that this journey is ripe with possibility, choice and chance to grow, and more joy around me than my heart can take. And I want to show you how to chase the same.

Naked but showing up anyway. Who's coming with me? 

Jen

Tons of great new content await. Coming soon I’ll talk about how you’re a hypocrite. Don’t worry, I am too. There’s body issues, daddy issues, breakups, makeups, and more.

Let’s connect. Shoot me a line hello and tell me what you want to hear! Subscribe below to stay in the naked community loop. Not a nudist colony. To be clear.

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