Seeing from the outside in

How accurately we depict . . . or not

At the most recent Seattle Erotic Arts Festival, I had a chance to take part in David Peterman's amazing Me by Me project. The premise is that the "artist" quickly draws a life-sized nude image of themselves then poses next to it—buck naked.

I was feeling a little gas-and-bloat that day and it was making me grumpy. I drew quickly too (less than 2 minutes) knowing that would be the only way to keep my perfectionist "artist" at bay. The drawing that emerged felt accurate in that moment.

While David and his crew "framed" my picture, I stripped down behind the curtain. Even though I was in public and had David, his camera, and a bunch of helpers coaching and encouraging me on, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to be standing there. Me beside my drawing. Me by me.

Now, when I look at the image he captured, I'm struck by several things: the energy in my face, the strength in my body, yet the way the energy fades as my gaze travels down to my feet. The energy of the top doesn't seem to match the energy at the bottom. Almost like one of those kid's books where you can flip sections—rearranging top/middle/bottom—to make your own magical creature.

But maybe that is just the story I tell. An old story. Maybe making things visible like this can reshape something. A little truth and reconciliation within my own psyche.

June's theme is all about visibility and putting forward who you are. Happy Pride, everyone!

— Amy

P.S. Thanks to Zed for showing me this technique for making a photo SFW. The white lines are mine, not David's. And kudos to David and his crew for creating such a strong and positive container for this experiment. Magical and fun!

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