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If you’ve ever read the book of Genesis in the bible, then you may be familiar with the words “naked but unashamed”.  To put the words in context, after God had created Adam and Eve, he joined them together as husband and wife and sanctioned their union. And they were naked but unashamed.  As I mulled over the words, a recent experience came straight to my mind which sums up nicely what it is to be the opposite of naked and ashamed… literally.

Back in September of last year I attended a residential counselling training course. It was a creative training course so I knew that it was going to be different, but I was open. So it didn’t surprise me when I spotted on the list of things to bring, “a doll that best represents you”. A doll?! As usual, I tend to leave things until last minute, so at 5 am in the morning, I’m scouring Dara’s bedroom on my knees in the dark, to borrow one of her dolls. I knew the doll I wanted, this chubby brown baby doll with big eyes named Lilly Rose that we bought whilst on holiday in Portugal. To my dismay when I found her, tucked underneath Dara’s bed, she had no clothes on!! Why do kids have this habit of taking off their dolls clothes! Seriously what is with that!

Anyway in the end I decided to take Aisha, Dara’s funky, sassy cute doll. She’s actually my favourite with her lovely afro, cute clothes which Dara and I made her and (yay!!) she still had them on!

So fast forward to the training, we were paired in twos to do our doll exercise.  We were asked to share with each other how we felt the dolls represented us. I remember sharing that I actually had another doll in mind to bring but could not because she was naked.

“Interesting” my friend who I partnered with said, “and that bothered you enough not to bring it?”.

“Yeah” I said, “I don’t understand why my daughter keeps taking their clothes off”.

She then asked me how I would feel if she took off Aisha’s clothes. “Would that be okay?”

Immediately my response was, “No!!  Don’t, why would you do that? Okay go on then. no don’t.”  In my head I’m thinking seriously Oby, get a grip it’s not like she asking you to take your clothes off!!

So I succumbed in the end and watched her unclothed my daughters gorgeous doll. In that moment I was the doll, it represented me and my feelings. So when my partner asked how I was feeling, I said I felt exposed, ugly and unattractive. Shame.

I now fully appreciate the power of creative interventions in connecting us to deep unconscious thoughts.

Without my protective masks be it physical – (makeup, clothes) or emotional – (my defensiveness, anger, keeping people at bay – No I am not Perfect !) I am extremely vulnerable. My flaws, imperfections in full view for the world to see, with no ammunition to fight back.

Always room for Growth

The creative exercise revealed to me that deep down I don’t feel good enough, beautiful enough, attractive enough without my armour.  Wow. It was such an eye opener for me.  Before that weekend I thought I had reached a good level of comfort and security in my own skin, but looks like there is still room for growth.

Now Your Turn

What are you hiding behind? Can you distinguish between things you use to enhance your life and the things you use to hide you?

How comfortable are you with looking at yourself in the mirror, and not just a quick glance, but a prolonged look? With clothes and without  Try both and see if you notice any difference in your reaction.