The best job I ever had was the one where I took my clothes off for money.
Um, let me start at the beginning…
I was 19 years old and a sophomore in college. I had recently been dumped by a cheating boyfriend (my 2nd cheating boyfriend in less than a year).
I was feeling depressed. I had no close friends, no college major, no job, and no self-esteem.
One day, I was cutting through the art building to get across campus to my next class. I would always cut through buildings to avoid the snow and cold.
I felt so at peace in the art building. It smelled like paint and pencil shavings. On one of the bulletin boards next to the display cases was a plain white poster with the text “Models Wanted.”
I had heard that the art classes needed nude models, and I had brought it up half-jokingly with my ex (that cheating bastard). He said that he’d leave me if I ever took a job like that.
But he was gone now.
I looked at that poster for a long moment and felt a smile spread across my face…
The next week, I was standing in my white bathrobe in the clay studio with about a dozen students. In the center of the room was a rotating wooden platform with couch cushions and sheets haphazardly arranged on top.
I carefully took off my robe, placed it on a stool, and climbed up onto the platform.
It was exhilarating!
I’ve heard about people having nightmares where they’re naked in public. This was no nightmare—my job as a nude figure model was a dream come true.
I worked as a model for 2 years, and I learned so much during that time.
I’m stronger than I think.
Modeling wasn’t all ethereal poses and lounging on velvet pillows. It was physical work! The classes were 3 hours long, and depending on the type of class (drawing, painting, sculpting), I would have to change my pose every 60 seconds or hold a single pose for hours.
After one 3-hour session of leaning in a half standing/half laying position on a couch, the students were packing up their supplies, but I couldn’t leave. Somewhere around the 1-hour mark I had realized that a tingly sensation was crawling up my leg, and by the end of class, the entire left side of my body from my toes to my abs had fallen asleep. That was some intense pain! But the instructor and students were so grateful I hadn’t moved. If I could push through that pain, what else was I capable of?
My imperfections are beautiful.
Walking around at the end of class to view the finished drawings was the best part. The art students were focused on creating images as lifelike as possible, and they were lifelike: poochy stomach, cellulite down my thighs. But it was me. My imperfections were sketched so lovingly that I couldn’t feel embarrassed. I wasn’t perfect, but I was human and so happy to be in my body.
Being brave means there will be those who want to knock you down.
Putting yourself out there in any capacity means you’ll be open to attacks from small-minded, jealous people. I was at a house party when a drunken guy sauntered over to me and announce loudly, “I’ve seen your pussy!”
“Why yes, you have,” I said, then turned and walked away. No one could make me feel ashamed about my job. That guy was a classless jerk who wanted to build himself up by putting me down. But there’s no way he’d have had the balls to pose naked in front of his peers.
Stillness brings me peace.
I used to wear glasses during this time (I’ve since had laser eye surgery), but I had to remove everything when I modeled, even my glasses. I was extremely nearsighted, and the art room was a fuzzy blur of colors to me. Posing for hours and not being able to see gave me a lot of time to meditate. I had some really deep thoughts about my place in the universe. You could always tell when I had just finished a modeling session because I’d be smiling at everything with this faraway look in my eyes.
Nude modeling gave me self-confidence and a sense of assuredness. I’ve had some pretty good jobs in my life, but I’ve never had one that built me up the way that modeling did.
What risks have you taken in your life? What have you learned from being brave?