Deb and Barb Have A Three-Way With Hart
Deb and Barbara met Hart through her excellent, thoughtful and spirited blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart, which explores lots of "real life" stuff, but focuses mainly on her journey as a writer. Hart has a mind-blowing amount of stamina: not only does she work full-time, raise a family, write her novels, and blog everyday, but she is an ardent, generous reader and supporter of dozens of other people’s blogs, including ours. And we love her.
The Aging Nudist
Hart: Before I get going, I really want to thank Deb and Barbara for having me. I adore these two: the honesty, the energy, the fun... all things I aspire to. In honesty, though, there are things I don't talk about much because... they're embarrassing...
Oh, I hear you. Anyone who knows me is convinced I embarrass myself all the time, but that is the intentional buffooning to throw attention off the... buffoon. But I thought maybe here was a good place to get naked...
See, I've been a nudist most of my life. At age two I refused to keep on the wet swimsuit because WET CLOTHES are UNCOMFORTABLE! (And I had a point, ne? They're MISERABLE! Mom said I was easy to potty train, though, so I suppose that is the other angle to the naked toddler in the front yard.)
Two years later I gave up nightwear for good... (it gets TANGLED!), and at sixteen I finally started recruiting... you know, spreading the word about how much more COMFORTABLE it was!
But here's the thing... at sixteen, or twenty, or twenty-five, I could legitimately say I looked better naked *cues Chris Isaacs song*. Video here (note, it is the 1:07 mark where he says 'you're the kind of a girl who looks better naked'). I'm a bit Amazonian... have always hopped the line between the high end of normal and overweight... not the kind of girl to compliment the latest fashion (particularly anything straight-legged—even at my thinnest, I've always had ample thighs), but my parts were firm and smooth... they held in place... so long as I made a point of getting some exercise and some sun, it worked well.
Jump ahead 20 years... past two pregnancies... four or five significant weight losses and regains... and frankly... it isn't pretty. I still walk A LOT (about 25 miles a week)... there is solid muscle coating my legs, top and bottom... erm... under a layer of lumpy stuff... the tummy sags a bit... in fact when I bend, it folds into rolls... lovely.
I don't have many mirrors in my house and it takes quite an effort to see one’s lower half (like standing on something). And it takes the hand-mirror to see much of one’s backside. I never really thought about this until my last hotel stay when it was all too easy to see that time just was not being nice.
Instead of giving up the Nudism and embracing an age of modesty, though, which goes against all that I am, I've decided to embrace the opportunity to practice a little self-acceptance. I see older women who look GREAT and that is great—good for them and more power to them. But I also see older women who are trying far too hard to hang onto something that just isn't happening—lovely, young curls on a face of wrinkles doesn't have the same kind of grace as gray curls. And makeup doesn't hide it—in fact, it just settles into the creases and looks tacky. Ton of eye make-up? HELLO, CIRCUS ACT.
And at least I can be content in my knowledge that I really DID know what I was doing when I chose my tattoo location... upper central back... that moon will neither wrinkle nor sag, no matter what happens to me.
Barbara: First off, LOVE the tattoo! Second, one of the things that drew me to you and your blog, Hart, was your deep commitment to honesty in all forms. That comes across in your writing, of course. But there was always something about the nudism angle that seemed to support that honesty even more (symbolically and literally).
I WISH I had this kind of freedom, I really do, the kind that says “free me of my shackles, I need none of them”. But, sadly, I am not a nudist at heart and never have been. Well… there was this one time…
|Honeymoon pic. Yep, nekkid under the hat :)|
When my husband and I went on our honeymoon (obviously back in the “young bod” years), we found ourselves on a topless beach. I was intrigued by the idea of nude sunbathing. But I was also wracked with nerves at the idea of taking anything off. Finally, though (okay, with some prodding from my new hubby), I decided to go for it. It was exhilarating, no question, to have the nips out in the fresh ocean breeze. My husband jokes that I went from, “Please, no, I can’t possibly take it off,” to “Weeeee, let’s play topless beach-ball!”
Did I find my calling? Um, no. As much as I loved it, it’s not like it ever happened again. But now that I’m older and the older parts are showing? I don’t know. Would it be less likely… or more??? After all, I care less now about what people think. And I also think I’ve accepted the aging process with some amount of grace. But the truth is, maybe I’m just not a nudist at heart.
Should we be hiding our lumps, or showing them off?
Deb: Ahhhh, Hart, you are my HERO! I have always wanted to be that person. Free as the birds, age of Aquarius, flappin’ in the wind kind of gal. But alas and alack, I am clothed. Fully clothed. Don’t even like to go barefoot. Very similar to Barb in that way. And funnily enough I went topless on the island of Santorini on my honeymoon too. Well to be honest, it was the first honeymoon, first husband––does that count? And... I have the pictures to prove it. I won’t lie to you. I had a kick-ass body from the age of ten (yeah, ten, sadly, too too young) to the age of 52.
I remember the day it all ended. It was a February day, a little overcast and breezy, high of minus two, when the bod years died. One brief glance in the mirror and I knew the bod years were history. But even in the day, the “days of the bod”, couldn’t do the bare naked. I even get out of the shower and cover up when I am alone in the bathroom, for crying out loud! Don’t know why exactly, but I suspect it had something to do with having a woman’s body at such a young age. I spent many early years trying to hide it and cover it up. Hence... I guess... the covering up.
You work it, girl. God invented the body, we invented the clothes. xo
Hart Johnson (aka: Alyse Carlson and The Watery Tart) is a super-secret social scientist by day. At night, Hart writes suspense, YA and adult mainstream books from her bath tub. She is currently writing book 9 (the second as Alyse Carlson). Alyse writes Cozy Mysteries for Berkeley Prime Crime––a series to make its first public appearance in June 2012. The Watery Tart is responsible for most mischief you will ever encounter. She's incorrigible.
Hart can be found at her blog Confessions of a Watery Tart, at the blog of her Writer's Group Burrowers, Books and Balderdash or at the Burrow website.