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Some people perceive being naked as having no clothes on, being bare. Every inch of your skin on full show. But what If I told you that in this picture I was naked. Would you have known? Would you judge me?
Let me start from the beginning. My name is Abbie Wild, a 21-year-old who has a passion for performing arts and all things peculiar. I have a friend with many talents, one of these being media makeup. Her name is Vikki Croston, a very talented artist, who wanted to showcase her extraordinary talent at a HAM-CON festival. For those who don't know what that is, it's pretty much the same as COMIC CON on a smaller scale, in a smaller town, with people of all cultures and backgrounds dressing as their favourite characters from films, books and comics.
Onto the more important part, I won't keep you waiting too long, don't worry, just a little while longer so you fully understand what I'm trying to get at.
I'm in a hall, a grand hall, named after Queen Elizabeth herself and we are shown into a section that is 18+ (down to me about to be naked of course). We are placed in the centre of two stalls, one being a tattooist and the other, a Simply Pleasures stall.
The place is starting to fill up with exciting clients, characters, parents, and their children. I'm behind a guard now, to protect them from seeing my naked body, as its being painted into a well known heroine, the amazing Wonder Woman.
I chose to wear dark blue underwear due to personal reasons and also nipple covers to go over my piercings in order to make it easier for Vikki to paint on. I understand that this isn't technically naked but this brings me back to my first point, what is your perception of being naked?
I know this may seem like I’m taking forever to get my point across but bear with me, I must tell the story correctly so the moral becomes clear.
Where was I? Oh yes, let's get back to me having my outfit painted on. So I'm behind a screen guard to protect people from seeing my transformation. Now realistically I didn’t stand still for four hours straight so during the process, I took breaks. This included going for a cigarette, to the loo and to have a drink and some food. Even throughout the process I was walking around in our designated section, not one person said a word. Well not out loud anyway and I was far more 'naked' than I was when it was finally finished. So why all of a sudden was there a commotion and why did it impact on me so badly?
The commotion didn't start for a good few hours after I was finally ready to be the heroine everybody had been waiting for. I walked around, had pictures taken, spoke to children and adults and was loved by all.
All except one.
I would like to refer to her as a small-minded woman, however I think that might be a bit extreme as everyone is entitled to an opinion so you will now know her as the SM mum. That way I'm not technically calling her.
So I'm parading around on stage, everyone is having a great time, we are handing business cards out and talking to people and then something happened that would change the mood of the whole festival. The SM mum had complained to the security guards and to the management of the Queen Elizabeth hall.
I watched a short stocky woman walk towards me with her ear piece in and her security badge on show and instantly I knew what was about to come.
"You must leave this area," she said, “you must return to the 18+ zone." To which I replied "But why? I'm not doing anything wrong."
The woman looked at me sternly but also with apologising eyes, I knew it wasn't her decision but she was there to do a job that she had to follow through.
“You must not be in this area at any point; you have been given an area to stay in so that the children don't see you naked."
I was in complete shock. I had been walking around for over an hour and not one person had even given me a second glance. They accepted that I was showing off my body so I could showcase my friends amazing talent. The children were oblivious they just pointed out how great my outfit was.
All except one. The SM mum.
I was so irritated and humiliated that I just walked back to the 18+ area without a word spoken to anybody with the body guard and Vikki right behind me.
Vikki kept muttering things under her breath but I had become oblivious to everything, almost deaf.
All I kept seeing was the little boy's face when his mother covered his eyes after I walked past him. He had just been smiling at me in awe a few seconds before. Why was he now being blinded so that he couldn't see me? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
This little boy didn't see my naked body; he saw my outfit, the strong character that is Wonder Woman. He looked at me with his big eyes and his toothy smile and it was like I had just made his dream come true. I was just about to talk to him when his mother covered his eyes and moved him away from me.
I was upset but I didn't think that much of it. That was until the security guard grabbed my arm and walked me back to my section.
I arrived back with my head held high and I was right to do so. I am proud of the work that I and Vikki accomplished that day because we showed people that clothes are a luxury but our eyes can also be deceived by art. But deep down I still felt embarrassed of my body for that fraction of a second.
We weren’t born with clothes on our back. We were born naked. Shocker. I know right.
It's like we as mankind have created a negative perception about being naked. It is NATURAL. Our skin is our natural cloth to protect us, so why are we made to feel bad about it?
Everyone is entitled to an opinion but don't force it upon someone else. That mother might have been shielding her son's eyes for protection against seeing me with no clothes on, but if it wasn't for her actions, that child wouldn't have known any different.
The moral of my story is that you are entitled to your opinion about being naked, you can learn to embrace it or to hide away from it but ultimately it is YOUR OPINION and no one else's. If you imprint something onto your child, more than likely that child will grow up having a STRONG opinion on something, even if it wasn't theirs to start with. That could then lead to body confidence issues or even worse, making somebody else conscious of their body.
That happened to me that day.
Even though I was confident enough to walk around with virtually no 'clothes' on, the SM mum made me paranoid about something that can't be avoided. Nakedness. We all experience it in life. It's how you perceive it that counts.
I still to this day loved being Wonder Woman. It gave me a sense of pride, a sense of purpose.
I didn't know what that was until now, but now I do, it’s made me who I am today and for that, I am truly grateful.
I had an amazing day with amazing people and the ultimate lesson that I learnt was that everybody will have an opinion no matter what. Be strong. Be you. Be the heroine you were born to be. Be naked. Why not?