When I was first asked to take part in The Naked Podcast I said no, because why on earth would I want to take my clothes off to do an interview? But then I listened to some of the episodes featuring frank and fearless females talking about body positivity and overcoming setbacks and I thought – why not?
I’ve spent most of my life feeling various amounts of shame about my body – first feeling flat-chested and unsexy next to my curvier friends, then suffering the deformity of limb loss, and the savagery of breast cancer treatment. And now it is time to stop. Because hating your own body is pointless and boring and soul-destroying. Plus, when I look back at old photos of myself aged 19, I wonder how I could have felt so frumpy and unattractive when clearly I should have been having an outrageously good time while I still had the benefit of two legs. Instead I wasted too much time moping around feeling hideously ugly (although, to be fair, I did have a shaggy perm at the time).
So, I said yes to the podcast, and then had a couple of nights of anxiety dreams in which the hosts (Jenny Eells and Kat Harbourne) and I were trying to find somewhere to record it in the middle of a mad house party, and ended up hiding underneath a billiard table. As you do. To explain, if you aren’t familiar with the podcast, the concept is two friends (Jen and Kat), one guest (in this case, me), no clothes. The interviews are recorded with hosts and guest completely in the buff, which has the dual effect of creating intimacy and lifting energy in the room. Yes, it’s wacky, but it works. The worst bit is taking off your robes at the start. But after a few minutes, you really do forget you’re naked. Honestly. We chatted for about an hour – about limb loss, competing with the GB cycling team, mastectomies and more. It was genuinely a fun, uplifting and liberating experience.
But I was incredibly nervous to listen back to the podcast when it was released this morning, because I wasn’t sure how it would come across. So I listened on headphones on the indoor bike, to distract myself from the awkwardness of confronting my own story. Listening to myself talk about personal and difficult (and exciting) experiences from the past few years was strange – I felt like it was someone else and I ended up getting a little emotional. But mostly I felt proud and happy about doing something so far out of my comfort zone.
So here’s my naked truth: my body, like everyone else’s, is perfectly imperfect. And I’m OK with that.
If you want to listen (warning – there’s some swearing and it’s a frank conversation about bodies so it’s not for everyone) you can download it via your usual podcast supplier, or here.