How Being a Body Art Model Helped my Body Image
I did something a bit wacky on the weekend! I was a body art model for Elissa Anne's Retro Extravaganza Body Art Exhibition at Sonar in Fremantle. How did this happen do you ask? Well, the lovely creative Sally Newman from Lyrical Infusion was organising the event, and tagged me in a Facebook post saying they were looking for musicians and a body art model. It looked like fun so I said yes! I had previously been exposed (see what I did there?) to body art at the Perth Hair and Makeup Awards a few months ago, and met artist Elissa Anne, while she was body painting Zoe Jay. Zoe Jay is also the amazing photographer from Viva! Life Photography who took all the photos featured in this blog post.
In the week leading up to the event, I'll admit I had a few evil thoughts.
Q1:Do you think maybe you should eat a lot less, exercise a lot more, and just have soup this week so you look thinner on the night?
Q2:What about the stretch marks on your belly, which is by the way, looking a bit round?
Q3:Aren't you going to be embarrassed that your boobs have shrunk and sagged after four kids have sucked the life out of them?
Q4:What are people going to think about you after this? You, a body art model? Are you crazy?
My very quick response to this voice of doubt and negativity was:
A1: Hell no! I'm still going to finish off that tub of chocolate Connoisseur ice cream in the freezer, and I will have one or two cones of it per day this week regardless. No I will not exercise more, I will just continue to aim for my 30 minute walk 3-4 times a week. And as for eating just soup for the week? Get stuffed!
A2: No I'm not ashamed of my stretch marks, they are there because I grew and birthed four human beings, which is a pretty amazing thing to do, and something I'm proud of!
A3: No I'm not embarrassed about the state of my bosoms. They kept the four human beings that I birthed alive and healthy and I'm happy about that!
A4: As if I could give a toss about what people think! I do things because I want to, not because of what people think. So you can just bugger off now because I'm not going to let you get me down, like, ever!'
So, once the demon was banished from my mind, I actually was freaking out about performing three sets without music on the night. No one said I had to do it without my music, I just seem to enjoy setting myself goals all the time, and this was the one I set for myself on this night! So the week leading up to it I was not worrying about my body image or what others would think, I had my eyes set on the goal of performing for the whole night without my music. I was freaking out about it, and the pressure made me practice a lot more at home, which was the point!
I also had another goal, which was to wear high heels for one whole night. I generally wear flats, but Elissa Anne asked me to wear heels, so I got some for $5 from The Good Sammy's and shoved those silicone things in the shoes. I was actually surprised at how much more comfortable the heels were, and that I didn't fall over once!
Was I naked? Well, not really, I had black knickers on, and nipple covers. The nipple covers were like these temporary tattoos that set as a silicone gel cap sort of thing. And I was clothed in paint of course! How long did it take? I would say somewhere between 2-3 hours, and it felt like a nice massage with a paint brush. It was actually quite relaxing. And I ate a big box of Maltesers back stage while I was being painted, which I also shared with the other performers.
Was it cold? No it wasn't. Even if it was, you wouldn't be able to tell because of the nipple covers! I did ask the bar staff to turn the air con off because it was getting cold, but that was a joke, which thankfully they got!
So I was about to perform my second set, and my damn guitar battery died. It worked perfectly in the first set, but you know, the annual guitar battery dying fiasco just had to happen at this very moment of course! So I had to run down the stairs and in to the car park of Little Creatures to get my guitar battery out of the car. Yep, got a few weird looks. It was as if I could read their minds, 'WOW! Naked body art peacock painted woman running! Oh that's right we're in Fremantle this is normal. Where's my beer?'
There were other amazing entertainers on the night, including burlesque dancers. For some reason, I always thought burlesque dancers were the ones who did the can-can dance? Let me tell you, they're definitely not as I discovered on the night! Amelia Kisses was one of the burlesque dancers, and baby got back, if you know what I mean! She knew how to shake it and she was beautiful, sexy, confident and entertaining!
So, next time you look in the mirror, be kind, and please try and see yourself as a canvas, as a unique work of art, as a beautiful creation. The way I see it, is my body is an amazing container for my soul while I'm on this planet. I'm not going to nit pick at it and I'm not going to tolerate any voice that tries to tell me otherwise, whether it's from a magazine (not that I read them), the TV (not that I have an aerial), movies (don't watch them either), a full length mirror (don't have one of those), or the voice in my head (told him to bugger off and don't have time to entertain him because he's a jerk!). When my mind isn't tolerating negativity, there is all this space in there for me to imagine the next wacky thing I'm going to do. Which is to raise $50K through my next album for Walk Free Foundation to combat modern day slavery!
Thank you Sally for inviting me in to an exciting world of body art and performance, and thank you Elissa Anne for letting me be your canvas. The look on my 10 year old son's face when he barged in to my bedroom the next morning while I was still covered in paint, was priceless! My skin was a bit green the next day even after I had a shower, and I had a wedding to sing at, so I just wore a dress that covered the green! Also how cool is it that I have all these photos for my funeral slideshow one day? I don't want it to be full of boring pictures of me as an old lady. I want it to be full of wacky pictures of all the wacky things I did living life to the full. No regrets! GO AND LIVE WOOT!