This post is mostly inspired by the mullings-about in my head while I'm actually doing the modeling, but I'm also using it to respond to a request
. I don't think it's exactly what he had in mind, but.......
As you know if you've been reading, I've been doing some modeling for the art students at the local university and the local college. Having now had a whole 3 of these gigs under my belt, I have some thoughts on this.
(By the way, I hope this post inspires some of you. I've been told that most art schools/departments are just about always looking for models. I'm not sure what the criteria are for doing it, but if you're up for this type of experience, I highly recommend it. Keep reading to see why.)
Most of the thoughts I've had have come during the sessions themselves. Most have come from the last two, which required long poses, staying still for 20-30 minutes... something which is WAY harder than it sounds, even for someone with a good amount of Masochism a la Core Energetics
. Most have come from the last session, during which I had a lot more sleep, and didn't practically dose off during a couple of the poses. Being still for a prolonged period of time, during which one can't meditate (or at least I can't) tends to make one reflective... or at least it does me....
Anyway... as I hold whatever pose, I have to concentrate (moreso if it's a standing pose) on my balance. I'm forced to pay attention to my body in ways I usually don't, even after all the years of Core. Core was about movement, expression, all in the context of being in one's body, but I find myself more able to concentrate on such things when I'm still. I end up having nothing better to do than feel my body. This is actually a pretty big step for me, since I think, not so long ago, I would have simply daydreamed the time away... at least until the protest of my cramping muscles got too much to ignore. But I specifically take the time now to feel what's going on.
I try to ground, to be sure... notsomuch in an energetic sense, although there is that, too... but in the sense of being firmly planted, of feeling myself in touch with the stability of the ground, the stability of my feet, and all the muscles and bones that hold me up. I can feel the weakness of various parts of my body (most significantly my left ankle), and the strength of both mind and body, holding me rooted to that spot. Granted, as I said before, some of this stems from the masochism - that unique ability of that defense to maintain stillness at all costs, and I admit I draw on that a great deal when I model. This has become therapeutic in a sense, as I can explore what goes on in my mind and body when I consciously tap this "skill" and use it in a productive manner. I can feel the eventual stiffness of the muscles, the trembling that occurs if the pose is held to a breaking point, the cramping that threatens and sometimes breaks through. I allow myself to feel the anger that finally builds up at being "forced" to remain still for so long. In that sense, it's not as therapeutic... in Core, if one reached that "breaking point" (which I rarely did, given my capacity for masochism), the answer was to express it, to burst through it, to express the anger, vocally, bodily, forcefully. Here, though, because I agreed to do so, I can simply sit and seethe quietly, with an as-serene-as-possible look on my face. It allows me to explore mentally the process, which isn't a bad thing, even though I know it's not the most useful thing. Of course, I move about between poses, stretching and twisting... but I'm pretty sure that art classes aren't the place for the types of vocal outbursts Core is famous for. :)
By the time I'm done with any given (long) pose, I'm usually in an extremely contemplative headspace, having gone pretty deep into my body, and having gone pretty deep into my emotional reactions. And it's from this space that the second interesting (well, to me, anyway) phase of modeling kicks in.
I can then see what people have drawn. It's so very interesting to see myself reflected in other people's eyes, through other people's art. I certainly have to credit WalkingBear
with a great deal of this. It's due to him I even thought about doing this to begin with, after spending some hours on the other side of his lens
. (NSFW!) It's through him that I was able to see my own beauty, in spite of the extra pounds I carry. It's not that I haven't always been a reasonably confident person in general... but he allowed me to see in myself what he saw, and what others have subsequently seen. He showed me myself. So, when I look at what's been drawn, I focus less on the folds of fat that are depicted, and more on the whole... and the whole is beautiful to me. Certainly, I'm learning to eat better, and certainly I'm losing weight, albeit slowly. And that's a good thing, for a lot of reasons. But it's not because I'm not already beautiful.
That's something that modeling, whether it be for WalkingBear
, or any other other people who've taken my picture and/or painted me, has shown me. Something that every admirer and/or lover I've ever had has given me. The knowledge - the gnosis - that I'm already beautiful, in spite of, or maybe even because of, the shape of the body I inhabit. My sincere thanks to all of you, who have shown by your art, your words, your actions, and your attitudes, how I delight you, and how I should delight myself.
(Edited to add hyperlink.)