“Strip Down” said Love.

A Reclamation Story.

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“Strip down”, said Love.

And I obeyed.

A few months before that, I had been invited by a dear sister and coach to perform at her event, Captivate, where we were asked to combine art, spirituality and personality during our ten minutes on stage.

I had hemmed and hawed about what to use my block of time for. And when I finally sat down to brainstorm my performance, I heard it.

“Strip down.”

“Strip whaaaat?” I replied instantly.

I mean it wasn’t totally out there. One of the many skills I teach as part of my job description at Sfactor, a feminine movement studio I teach at, IS stripping.

But here I was getting the message that I needed to strip outside of the safe cocoon that was Sfactor’s women-only space. It was only the second time I was speaking on stage as a coach. And here I was being guided to do something pretty off-script from your typical stand-behind-the-podium speech.

Other than the pure terror that was pulsating through my body at the thought of taking off my clothes on stage, my mind was also spewing all sorts of mean things at me. “That’s so indulgent. No one wants to see that!” “You’re going to make everyone SO uncomfortable.” “You are going to embarasss yourself” and so on… You know how it goes with the inner mean girl. She does NOT stop.

I remember being SO scared I would offend someone with my cheeks spilling out of a bodysuit. I even messaged the organizer, and asked if it was ok that I would be stripping down into a nude bodysuit. And she responded “Totally!” when all I had wished was that she say “Absolutely not.”

So here I was getting the greenlight from everyone.


“Strip down”, said Love.

And I obeyed.

When I teach a strip for the first time in class at S, I always calm nervous students’ fears by explaining that they can think of the strip as a peeling away of layers, a stripping of masks, a shedding of all the agendas that have been plastered on our feminine bodies. I have them embrace it as a reclamation ritual, a reconnection and a rediscovery of their truth.

To be naked is to be free of versions of sexy that don’t suit us.

To be naked is to be free of other people’s stories of how we should express ourselves to the world.

To be naked is to be free of the ill-fitting costumes that presume to reflect our insides.

To be naked is to reconnect to our authentic sexy through embodiment.

To be naked is to reconnect to our pure beauty through truth.

To be naked is to reconnect to our inner power through our vulnerability.

Photo Courtesy of Karen Kalou Photography

Because there is no top-down approach here. Our bodies are boss. Our truth is queen and our senses are God.

No patriarchy telling us how or what we should be adorning our bodies with. No fashion industry to dictate where our breasts should end and our derrieres should begin. No cosmetics industry telling us what is considered unsightly and what is considered beautiful.

No scripts or photos about how we need to show up or what part of our body we need to squeeze into low cut jeans or reveal in low-hanging shirts.

Just our bodies, our senses and our truth.

Yes, the art of striptease in its classic sense can be a fun, cheeky useful skill to have in your backpocket and I’m all about it!

But what I believe is the number one peaceful weapon in the face of 21st century patriarchy is not the art of striptease but the art of stripping to our truth.

Some women are calling it the remembering, the unbecoming, the un-learning, the revealing, the shedding,

Whatever you might call, it is our truth. It is our essence and it is our power.

We spend so much time trying to learn, become, grow, fix and face our challenges. When really all we need to do is unlearn, unbecome, stop obsessing with growing, fixing and facing and instead look inward and find what is already within us: love. Unconditional love. Powerful love.

And that is our peaceful weapon.

So I knew that despite all the noise in my mind, my body was ready to show up and demonstrate a modern-day reclamation ritual.

“Strip down”, said Love.

And I obeyed.

(To see the final performance, you can watch it here.)

Originally published at medium.com

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