I’ve never been particularly comfortable with my body. I don’t hate it, I’m not ashamed of it, but I’ve never been one to show it off. Mostly I just don’t like the attention that I get. In my head, if someone’s first impression of me is that I’m trying to draw attention to my body, they will judge me as less than I am. They will see me as shallow & assume less of my brain. I identify far more with my personality and accomplishments rather than this bag of skin I was born into.
But I’ve always wanted to be body painted.
When my friend Sarah co-founder of The High 5, asked me if I wanted to be in a glittery topless photo shoot for next month’s PRIDE edition of their pop-up market, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. My first pang was of excitement. It’s an artform I’ve admired online and admittedly I’ve binged every episode of Skin Wars.. but I had never faced the realities of doing it myself. Topless. For a photo shoot. My insecurities hit me like a tonne of weed.
What about my tits?! I’m 31 with larger-than-average natural breasts.. Let’s just say they ain’t what they used to be. My weight has fluctuated several times over the last 15 years, as much as a 40 pound increase once when I was 18.. It was almost exclusively in my boobs and belly, which means I got asked if I was pregnant several times. (Pro Tip: Don’t ever ask a woman if she’s pregnant!) Despite that, and a few other health-related downsides, I actually had SO much fun gaining that weight! I wouldn’t trade my year in Australia of binge drinking several times a week, eating exclusively cheap take out food, and enjoying my main hobby of smoking weed on a beach for anything. It was formative. That trip and weight gain was probably the most fun lesson I’ve ever learned, but my body suffered and my boobs were never quite the same once I lost the weight. But I digress…
I asked what kind of solutions there may be if I didn’t feel comfortable going FULLY topless. She confidently said “don’t worry, I have tape.” ...I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t quite imagine how one would simply tape one’s tits up. She said I could also wear a bandeau bra or some kind of other top as long as it was blue. Having the option was all I needed to agree. I was still a bit nervous but more so excited. I know I'm not getting any younger and the opportunity to be body painted doesn't come around too often, so I figured why not?!
This all happened late night at an after party for the Lift Expo, which my friend Annie was in town from PEI for. I was so grateful she was at the party & also able to participate in the photo shoot before flying home - she killed it & was also super calming & encouraging! She also suggested I try a tape bra, meant for extra support when wearing a backless dress… I had seen them at the drugstore but didn't really know how they worked.. turns out not very well unless you're wearing a top. It provides a bit of a lift but the shape it made my breast was truly bizarre. Sarah assured me that the makeup artist would have a solution, but first she wanted to get started on the body painting… so I went for it. Tits out. She started with a layer of silver, topped it with blue, then stuck on some weed-leaf pasties and no shortage of rhinestones. It was so bizarre, but once my nipples were covered and my chest was all blue & sparkly I didn't feel so exposed. I actually felt quite comfortable, like I was wearing something more substantial than paint. I did not expect that!
I was still feeling quite self-conscious until I showed my friends Lida & Spliffs my look and they both told me I looked great! I sort of didn't fully believe them until Spliffs showed me a video she took of us. I was like oh. I DO look good!!! My breasts are fine! Fuck tape!
I was shocked at my own confidence & how free I felt from all my insecurities. The photo shoot was a breeze and I had so much fun! I did not expect to feel such a renewed appreciation & love for my body or be so happy with the way I looked. No titty tape necessary.