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I think sometimes about the concept of sluttiness, and how it’s not really about how promiscuous or not you are. You can be a slut who hasn’t made it past 1st base, and you can be not-a-slut who’s slept with nine different guys because it’s not about your experience, it’s about your state of mind. A girl who isn’t a slut messes with a guy because she wants to; a slut messes with him because she wants him to like her. A girl who isn’t a slut wears a mini-skirt because she feels pretty in it; a slut wears a mini-skirt because she wants guys to like her. Sluts do things in order to make guys like them, and they treat all guys as if they’re the same- any one will do, as long as he’s cute or whatever. Girls who aren’t sluts want guys because they like them. I suppose the difference is the state of mind- sluts are desperate to get guys to like them so that they’ll feel better about themselves. If you don’t feel that way, you aren’t a slut. That’s my opinion anyway. On a related topic…

In AP Art History last summer, we discussed the difference between nudity and nakedness. It’s one of those things that makes sense when you see it and doesn’t really when you try to explain it in words. The explanations are nonsensical, but sometimes, it just “clicks”. Being naked is the state of being uncovered- being nude is the state of having no clothes. Nudes do not need to be covered, they don’t want to be covered, they are confident in their bare state. Naked people need clothes to cover themselves up, and are uncomfortable or piteous or self-conscious because they have none.

So I’ve been thinking about nakedness a lot lately (stop snickering, crackheads), and I’ve realized that there are a lot of forms of nakedness that don’t involve clothes. I realized that, although I’m just fine walking around school with almost no makeup, I would be more comfortable with a certain person with no clothes than no makeup.

And I thought of other things that make me self-conscious. I realized my dislike of dancing with the lights on is a deep-seated discomfort with exposing myself to ridicule. Dancing in the dark, you can sort of see people, but everyone looks cooler in the dark- we all look stupid with the lights on. And I thought of the thing that makes me feel more naked and open to exposure than anything else- singing at the top of my lungs. In front of people, I always give it some control, sometimes more than others, but I never just let my entire voice hang out there. I never sing with everything I have in front of people.

And I came to a conclusion. Nakedness is a fear of judgment. The good old Adam and Eve story- where they covered themselves up? Why would it matter that they were naked? They were lovers, weren’t they? But because they could judge between good and bad, they were afraid that the other one would look at their body and decide that it came up short. All of us can see the flaws in our bodies, and so we fear the judgment of someone whose opinion we value over all others; we fear that they will look upon us and decide that the flaws we see in ourselves outweigh our good qualities.

So why am I afraid for him to see me sans makeup? Because when I wash it off at night, I can see the flaws I covered up. I can see my beauty just swirling away, flushed right down the drain. And I look up, and there I am: just plain old Sally. And I’m afraid the way he thinks of me is better than the way I am.

Why am I afraid to sing my heart out in front of people? Because when I sing with everything I have, you can hear EVERYTHING. And what if I give you everything and you decide that my emotions are silly and stupid and you laugh in my face? What if I sing with everything I’ve got and you decide that everything I’ve got is BAD?

At the end of the day, that’s it really. I’m afraid of judgment. That’s what’s in my personal Room 101. I’m afraid that the people I love most in the world will judge me and they will decide that I’m bad. And of course, that’s how several people have managed to get so close to me- by not judging me. By loving me at the end of the day when I’ve confessed my most heinous sins to them.

I suppose I don’t have it as badly as a lot of people do. I am not afraid that people will judge me a fool just because I say something stupid- I know I’m not stupid, so I don’t care if they judge me that way. It’s those things I have doubts about that I can’t let out, can’t let them see the light of day to be judged. I have doubts about whether or not my feelings are legitimate, I have doubts about my looks, I have doubts about my character, about the very goodness of my soul. I keep my doubts about all of those things and the thoughts and experiences that prompt them deep in my consciousness, very close to confidences other people have had in me. I don’t let people have at them because I fear their judgment, because I haven’t made up my mind about them. I’m not afraid when I’m sure of myself. But I am afraid that if I let out my doubts and their sources for people to judge, it will change my view of myself. If I am judged nicely, it could be better for me, but on the other hand, I could be judged harshly and find myself worse off than I am now.

Blech, what an obnoxiously self-indulgent post. Oh well. That’s me…

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3 Comments

  1. Well Sally you don’t get to be alone on this one. I’m sure you know this, but everyone feels this way about something(s). (Except I’m a freak cause I feel weird/self-conscious with make-up *on*. Analyze that muahahaha!) And you get extra points for writing about it – that, in a way, makes you vulnerable to what people think, so…yeah. 🙂

    And I must agree with your slut/non-slut thing. It has vraisauce written all over it (or shall I say poured?).

    Love,
    Claire
    P.S. 101 days till CHIC OMD!

  2. Whoa whoa whoa wait. Where did that little picture icon next to my name come from? Because that is totally, like, one of my LJ icons. And yet it randomly appeared here. On something that is not LJ.

    OH THE CONFUSION! I’M BEING VIRTUALLY STALKED BY A PICTURE!

  3. I love you, Sally. Don’t you ever forget that. =]


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