The River is My Home

Twenty minutes, the timer starts.
Pencils sharp, paper flat.

My job is to stay still, something I usually struggle to do. Even when lying in bed, wasting a lazy day, I fidget constantly.

My mind, too, is always busy; cogs turning, anxiety rising.

To calm my body and quiet my mind, I need cold water – a river, a lake or the sea. The water refreshes, comforts and tires me.

I often introduce my friends to the river - as if it is my partner, my family, my home. I invite them to swim with me, to share the cold bath – to wash away our worries, together.

Sometimes I swim naked. With nothing between my body and the water.

Despite my work as a life model, I often feel nervous when I step into the water and when I climb out; afraid someone will see me and comment on my nudity.

This happened once. A group of vocal men passed by in a motorised boat. They audibly discussed their disgust upon seeing me swimming without a costume. I considered the fact that they had probably seen naked women on the internet. Passive objects of desire - with no voice. I chose not to respond to these men. I kept quiet, just like when I am posing.

On reflection, I am far more ashamed of my silence, than of my naked body.
My body is my home,
The river is my home,
And we should all feel comfortable to be naked in our homes.

Written as a piece of free-writing whilst posing for a portrait during a United Models Life Drawing Virtual Portrait session. Edited with help from Christina Thatcher.

© Fra Beecher 2020 (All Rights Reserved)