When I was twenty and had a fabulous figure I worked as an artist’s model while studying at school.
As a shy young girl I was embarrassed by my womanly body that brought me unwanted attention.
Blossoming into a woman I transformed from a quiet plain-faced kid to a woman with long legs and pretty breasts before I was ready for the attention.
But by the time I was twenty I had to come to terms with my body and began modeling nude for art students in my university. I liked it because once I had picked a long pose I could sit and think about other things. I remember one time having a hangover and picking an extremely relaxed reclining pose and having a small nap.
But don’t get the wrong idea- it’s skillful work- especially when the teacher requests ten 60-second poses or a fluid movement of poses for quick charcoal drawings.
Almost thirty years later, with a body that has been through the ravages of three pregnancies and a cumulative 9 years of breast feeding, I received an e-mail notice looking for artist’s models for a local art gallery on the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
I hesitated for one day, and then I thought, artists love bodies with character, and I have that. So I replied that I was experienced and would need $20 an hour.
When I arrived I found a collection of older folks, some women that I knew from our belly dancing group, and a friend of mine giving an introduction to the group about figure drawing. I had a small moment where I thought, oh great, now I have to strip in front of my friends, but then I focused on the task. And I knew they would have to focus on their task as well.
I took off my robe and walked into the middle of the room, and thought, what do I do again? But then as I positioned my body I remembered, twist the torso, look over your shoulder, make the pose interesting and beautiful. The first collection of poses were fast and the room was hot, “I think that Meg is the only one dressed appropriately for this heat” said someone.
We heard a knocking at the door, and then someone tried to peek in the window, the women were trying to cover the windows with cloths but I tell you, when you have already decided to strip bare in front of friends and strangers, another stranger taking a peek is of no consequence. “Just charge them five bucks” I joked, feeling a drip of sweat trickle down my side.
As the students worked it became quiet, the room filled with the sound of their industrious scribbling. I don’t know why exactly, maybe it was just muscle memory and time traveling, but while I was posing I felt sensual and beautiful. Odd that striping down to your bare essentials could do that.
After experiencing some hard times in the last four years in which the only positive part was that I lost a lot of weight, I can say that my padding now is a sign of vital good health.
Lush and blousy, like a rose or peony that is in its last days of full bloom, that is the beauty of a middle aged woman.
I have always thought that humans should be as honest and clear as they can be, time is flowing and we have only so long to get to know each other. At our most honest, we are still only exposing a small part of our true selves. So here is more of me.