I’m not sure what you do most Friday nights, but here’s what I did with my last one:
Well, to be more specific, two of my friends came over to my place and we made yummy salad bowls for dinner, shared a bottle of wine, and had way too much fun with our dessert, i.e. the Movember chocolate mustaches pictured above.
To be even more specific, we caught up on our days and our weeks. We celebrated our triumphs and processed our losses. We held space for each other’s aspirations.
To be even more specific, we got naked with each other.
Hey, now, get your mind out of the gutter . . . I’m speaking figuratively!
I’ve known both of these lovely human beings for a little under two years. We’ve camped together, cooked together, danced together, dreamed together, and while they don’t know everything about me, I’m proud to say that I’ve let them pretty far in.
And so it was not out of step with our friendship that during our catch up on Friday, I told them about my visit to a fertility clinic that morning.
As a one-time women’s health policy nerd, I’m pretty familiar with the fact that my window for having kids is set to start closing more rapidly in the next few years. I made the appointment to check in on just how far it’s closed already, and to learn about my options for keeping it as open as possible for a while longer.
I’m not ready to have kids just yet.
I’d like to keep my chances of conceiving as strong as they can be once I am.
Why am I proud to have talked to my friends about this?
Well, because. As hard as it might be to believe for those of you who’ve read so much about me on this blog in recent years, there was a time in my life when getting this “naked” with friends was not something I did easily.
The clothes we wear are merely the most visible layer of the things we use to hold distance between us.
To keep others from seeing our vulnerabilities.
From witnessing, and potentially judging, our true, naked selves.
Had I befriended either of these two women more than a few years ago, I may have eventually let them see me in a less put together outfit. Perhaps some ratty sweats, or maybe even my PJs. But naked after so short a time of knowing them? That was rarely my speed.
These days, I find myself pulling off my figurative jeans and unhooking my figurative bra soon after I start to feel a solid connection with a new friend. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that one of my criteria for whether I’m willing to get literally naked with someone these days (ok, now we’re in the gutter!) is just how comfortable they are with figurative nudity.
It took a lot of work for me to get here. To teach myself how to take down the many invisible layers I used to wear to keep others at a safe distance. Unable to judge me, because they were unable to really know me.
I still have some layers I’m working on. If you read my post earlier this year on the addiction and mental health issues in my family, you witnessed me taking a big step in my ability to be naked in that area.
I’m starting a new job tomorrow.
Like most people, I am of course thinking about what I’ll wear on my first day.
But perhaps unlike some, I’m also thinking about how naked I’ll get.
I know I’ll need to strike a balance between building real connections, and making good impressions.
I also know that these things take time, and are context specific. Unzipping my jeans after a few good hang outs with a new friend is not as big a risk as going braless to my second staff meeting.
However, as I get better and better at working through my layers, I am learning that no matter where I go, there are almost always a couple of people who will smile and wink when you slyly suggest a skinny dip.
To close, a sight not many people get to see, even those who have the honour of seeing me literally naked . . . what I look like when I brush out my curls!