I was once standing naked in a room, when a whole bunch of guys stormed in. Luckily I had read a lot of criminal novels, so I knew exactly what to do – run to the door they were entering from, press myself against the wall and sit down. I.e. be in the spot they were the least likely to look at. My stunt succeeded and they never saw me, as a bunch of angry (and dressed) girls chased them out of the room before they got a chance. I was ten to twelve years old and the idea of having a shower in the girls changing room never became the same.
When I was around eight or so I was at daycare one day, sitting with my friends drawing, or something in the hobby room. A boy walked in. A certain boy walked in. The boy every girl fancied. (Including my now best friend, but we didn’t know each other at that stage.) One of my friends burst out “Maria likes you.” He stopped in the doorway, turned to me and went: “Is that true?” The thought “It’s close to Christmas, you shouldn’t lie,” went through my mind. “Yes.” He looked at me a little longer, turned around and left the room.
When I was fifteen there was this guy who I had a lot of classes with. He was an arrogant bastard, but over summer he had turned…soft. He was really popular and had straight As in just about everything. So we used to compete on every test who could score the best. Or rather: he was competing with me and it infuriated me, so of course I started competing with him. He was rather nice sometimes. I remember him trying to explain to his best friend (who was in love with my step-sister for a while…that was a close call to getting an idiot in the house) why one shouldn’t bully people. His best friend did not understand his argument.
So having a competitive nature and all that, and probably thinking this dude was the only one with enough brain cells in a ten-mile radius, I fell in love with him. At first I didn’t really care that much, but then I told a friend of his who went to my class, to try to gauge if he liked anyone. Well, his friend obviously walked straight up to him and said I liked him, having sworn not to do so. And then a couple of interesting weeks of this guy staring at me and doing weird shit to talk to me ensued. So then a rumour started that he liked me. And one day I walked into a classroom when his friend asked him if this was the case, in front of the whole class and just as I walked in he went: “No one could ever fall in love with someone like her.” That was the day I died.
At sixteen I had left the village where I grew up, doing the International Baccalaureate program in another town, so I got rid of most people who considered me a geek and started a new life, where I was absolutely obsessed with covering up my past, especially my non-existing romantic history. Besides, most people at the IB were geeks as they had decided to choose the most difficult high school program that existed. We had to do tests to get accepted. That’s when I wrote about saving the kids in Africa. I did not see myself as the heroine of a romantic adventure, straight from my bookshelf, or anything like that.
Anyway, obsessed with the idea that no one should find out about my non-existing romantic history, I was still quite…me. I loved crazy ideas and stuff, so come Valentine’s I thought it a splendid idea to send a rose to a guy I thought was cute. And I didn’t even like him, he was just cute. But apparently people in Sweden are bit behind and thought this was the news of the century – a girl who joined us in the third year still got to hear this story. I think the poor bloke had never received roses in his life and I felt utterly humiliated.
Age seventeen and on the loose in Vancouver I was starting to feel like the biggest idiot in the world – who has never been with a guy age seventeen? Me. So I made out with some random American soldier who I found repulsive, and who proceeded to tell me about killing people during the war. I then ended up feeling even more ashamed because who is such a low life they decide to make out with a random loser just to make out with somebody?
My love life did perk up after this, but I had sworn on my mother’s grave, or something to that effect, that I would not have sex until I loved someone. And I had to wait until the night I turned twenty-one for this, at which time I had almost succumbed to the idea that no one would ever love me.
I then ended up in a very long relationship with someone, who, in the end decided, the last week, to cheat on me. Which is when I decided that if someone I used to trust with my life can cheat on me…then I’m properly fucked for life. I mean I knew he was cheating, because vivid scenarios played up in my head when he told me what he had been doing for a day – scenarios he was not talking about. I knew whom he had really been with and what he had been doing, but instead of thinking I was psychic, I thought I was going mad.
I felt really good after the break-up, realizing I had been in a relationship that was never quite right beyond the first few months, but I still had nightmares for about six months. And what left me the most scarred was the idea that I had allowed a relationship like that. How I could have accepted that into my life. Not like parts of it, but the end of it. And bless the man, he loved me and I can still happily say I love him, but we were young and we were both idiots in some aspects, including the fact that we stayed with each other for so long.
Fast forward two, or three years and I was just about to move to Los Angeles. Online I met this guy from LA that was just…amazing…and for the first time I felt like someone actually liked me . Truly liked me. A guy that actually turned me on in every way, as opposed to my ex, who never felt quite right. We would talk on the phone and on chat, for like eight hours straight. I let all my guards down. I was certain that was it – it was the first and actually still only time I had felt anything like that. He was simply so right in every way possible. And to his defense he really was looking for love, but I think he is the most emotionally retarded person and cheater I’ve ever met. And by lord I felt humiliated having believed in him. His bed though, was fucking amazing. There’s always a plus side…right? That bed and triple orgasms. Thank you God.
My self-confidence in the last, almost six years, since I was in a steady relationship, has soared. I have realized men chase me. A lot. I have realized I am beautiful and wonderful and amazing. I have more friends and love in my life than I have ever had. I feel so blessed finally setting off for my dream of Africa and working with film, theatre and people. And still, there is a tiny part of me that says I need high heels and an armour of steel to pretend I’m not vulnerable, I have no emotions and I most certainly am fine all by myself. And I need to be just a little bit more perfect.
When I feel hurt, or humiliated in public, just as I did as a kid, I want to shut everyone out and escape to Antarctica. Then I realize I can’t direct Leo Di Caprio in Antarctica and it all goes to hell…but, but…this whole vulnerable thing…I feel I have been doing a good job with it until yesterday. That’s when I wanted to pack my bags for Antartica. And that’s why I’m writing this now. Because it feels so, so cringy. And so real. And I want to be able to be that open. I want for others to have a space to be that real and open. And I really want to attract real and open people into my life.
The only way to attract and be with real and open people, is to be real and open. All this shit in my past means nothing. I still fear people will judge me for it, especially writing it on an open forum like this, but that’s why I want to do it. Because there are millions of people out there who have suffered much worse than me, who think because of their past they can’t be/have/do things. And it’s all utter poppycock, because all you have is this moment. And in this moment, I’m real and open. And the past? It’s gone. I’m a playful, open and honest person. I believe those nude shots proved it (if you missed the latest news, someone published some nude shots of me on Facebook yesterday as they misunderstood the term “only showing certain parts of my body” Well…there was a guitar covering my front… And that’s the day I discovered the difference of being naked in reality – no biggie – and online – biggie. I felt so vulnerable, knowing people could see me in a vulnerable state. “Miss Au Neutral I love being naked and celebrating the body” had a freak show.). Had this not been coupled by someone accusing me of having emotions, I’m sure it would have been fine, but rumour had it I had emotions. And this scenario of all those men went through my head as I saw the shots online. There is still an album on Facebook with a headline saying something like “I loved doing nude shots with Maria, such a natural and happy model, dream come true to capture the female body” and I still catch my breath, even if there are no real nudes in the album…and panic thinking I’m publicly humiliated…but I was just being vulnerable, real and open. Just as I would love.
Showing skin is cool. In every sense of the word.