(All pics. snapped on 10/15/11)
Ya' know...it's just not all that often that I get invited to attend social events around here anymore, and so when a couple of weeks ago, a co-worker of mine (I'll call her "Ruby", cuz she's a gem!) asked if I'd like to come to a party that she was to be throwing - I was a.) pleasantly surprised, and b.) absurdly excited...like some dorky, freshman kid who'd somehow...miraculously - scored a legitimate invite to an upperclassmen kegger...
Over the past few years, I've grown accustomed to being shunned by the "cool" (*cough*) crowd, and have become quite adept at either nestling comfortably into my solitude...or finding my fun in the company of my children, my small group of loyal friends, and (in very rare instances) whatever love interest happens to be stringing me along at the moment. The weekend of Ruby's party however, I was childless, newly single, and warming up quickly to my "free agent" status - thus, rarin' to get out and mingle among a crowd of peeps - the majority of whom I suspected I'd never met, but more importantly - they didn't know me...which meant that I'd be surrounded by folks who hadn't any preconceived notions about me and my "controversial" "hobby".
My bestie, Curlymoe (who coincidentally, is also newly single...ish) gladly agreed to squire me to the party. Now, for those of you out there who used to read my dating blog - and remember Curlymoe from certain, specific anecdotes - you're probably well aware of the fact that when Curlymoe and I go out together, some sort of crazy shit usually winds up going down. Fully cognizant of that myself, plus eager to make a good impression on Ruby and her guests - I asked Curlymoe to please try and not do anything that might embarrass himself...or me - by association. I can admit that saying such a thing to one's very best friend - is maybe just a teensy bit harsh, and he was obviously wounded (highly insulted?) by the request - but the way I looked at it - we were already poised to stand out as the unfamiliar faces in an otherwise tight-knit group of friends, and so to minimize our chances of attracting the wrong kind of attention, I strategized that it might behoove us to be on our best behavior...for once.
After a leisurely drive along a series of familiar, meandering, back country roads - Curlymoe and I finally spotted Ruby's quaint and tidy farm. As we neared the driveway and turned to pull in - my eyes were drawn to and became locked on a greenhouse that was awash in amber, Autumnal, afternoon light - and (luckily) was situated on the opposite side of the house from where the party appeared to juuust be getting underway. Before even stepping out of my car, I'd already decided that (if Ruby and her roommates were amenable to it) I simply had to get insida that greenhouse, to sneak some impromptu self-snaps before diving into the evening's festivities.
Ruby knows all about my pics. and my blog, and because she's so genuinely down-to-earth and sweet - she's always come across as being totally supportive of what I do. And so, after saying, "Yes" when I pitched her the greenhouse idea (THANK You!), she then proceeded to give me carte blanche to shoot anywhere else on the farm that appealed to me. See? What did I tell you…she really is an absolute gem!
As soon as Ruby gave me the thumbs-up, I gathered my gear and inconspicuously (or so I thought) slunk down to the greenhouse. I set up my camera, peeled off my clothes, and almost immediately got lost in the "zone"...so lost in fact, that I was oblivious to the fact that a growing group of party-goers had gathered on the front porch of Ruby's house, which conveniently provided a bird's eye view of the peep show taking place behind the backlit, translucent, greenhouse sheathing...uhhhhhh...whoops. It wasn't until Curlymoe and some random guy barged in on my shoot, (purportedly to give me the heads-up about the fracas, and not to see me naked up close) - that I became aware of the disturbance that I'd unwittingly created. (And to think that I'd been worried that Curlymoe might embarrass me, HA!)
Curlymoe, the random guy and I, awkwardly small-talked until I simply could not take it anymore. At which time I demanded that they both either get naked (to make things fair), or run along - since they were stealing what little time I had left in that light. They opted to scram (thank god) and I went back to what I'd been doing before I was so suddenly and rudely interrupted :)
As I was finishing up, and preparing to (finally) be social - a couple of connected thoughts gave me pause: I'd gone to Ruby's party with the express notion that my anonymity there, along with (what I'd hoped would be) exemplary behavior - might allow me to socialize without the stigma of being a flagrant, trespassing, naked self-portrait artist - sabotaging my interaction with folks who would ideally form their opinions of me based entirely on face value. Not surprisingly though, my love of (addiction to?) self-portraiture had overridden the original plan...and in the end, I'd put way more heat on myself - than if Curlymoe, had publicly pissed himself, or puked and passed out on Ruby's couch...
Oddly enough, for as concerned as I'd initially been about making a good impression (much to the chagrin of my wingman, Curlymoe) - I wasn't the least bit ashamed of what I'd done in the greenhouse...despite knowing that I'd fairly well annihilated any chance that anyone at the party - besides Curlymoe, Ruby and her roomies (the only people there who's opinions really did matter) - would be able to look me in the eyes while carrying on a conversation, and not snigger to themselves, or elbow their buddy, or make errant judgement calls - cuz they'd seen the silhouette of my naked body.
*News Flash* I am a shameless opportunist (and apparently more antisocial than maybe I even knew), because instead of throwing myself into the lion's den, immediately following the greenhouse episode - I bolstered the brouhaha by hopping into the barnyard with the pigs (who tried to eat me) and the chickens (who not only looked me in the eyes, but seemed to sorta like me being there with them) and fired off a few additional self-portraits. When I was done, and just starting to steel myself for whatever fallout might ensue upon my delayed arrival to the party (ridicule? the silent treatment? a burning at the stake?), something else occurred to me: I have zero shame over this thing that I do. I stand behind it 100%...no apologies?...No regrets. And if that means that my art has become more important to me than my reputation...might mean that I'm a crazy bitch? But so be it...