Life Beyond the Bar Scene: Naked Laurelin Reading
May 2011 26

Life Beyond the Bar Scene: Naked Laurelin Reading

Posted In Blog,Books,Burlesque,Entertainment,Favorites,Love,Relationships,Sex,Society

by Laurelin

Remember that dream from when you were younger? The one where you’re walking the halls of your high school and everyone is looking at you funny and you can’t figure out why, and then you look down and find that you’re naked, and everyone sees you at your most vulnerable. That dream came true for me this past Saturday night. Instead of being involuntarily naked in a dream, it was real life, and I had actually consciously chosen to go nude on a stage in front of a theatre full of strangers.

Naked Girls Reading is exactly what it sounds like. I heard about it randomly one night out in Boston and thought that it would be a perfect wacky event to cover for my Boston nightlife blog. I sat in the darkened theatre at midnight and watched with bated breath as four women came out in beautiful silk robes and sparkling jewelry and fantastic heels, and one by one, they approached the microphone, dropped their robes, and read to the audience from a book. Was anyone listening to them? I kept losing track of what they were saying because I was just so amazed, they were there… naked, for everyone to see.

Being a part of Suicide Girls, I could appreciate people being comfortable nude. I have been photographed naked all over the place, and while each shoot is a little nerve wracking, most of it is spent giggling and just having fun. SuicideGirls made me incredibly comfortable with my own body, and seeing Naked Girls Reading reminded me of that. These were girls who were all different ages, shapes and sizes, and they weren’t afraid. They were standing there on stage as though it was the most normal thing in the world.

My article was published and within days the leader of the Boston group of Naked Girls Reading had reached out and asked me if I would be interested in reading with them during their next performance. I said yes immediately. How hard could it be? I was naked on the internet. I could stand up there and read a story. This was right up my alley – right? I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I started really worrying about a week before the show.

“Have you ever done any public speaking?” the leader of the troupe asked.

“Um, I have done karaoke.” I said. “And I was a preschool teacher, so I used to read stories out loud to kids.” I smiled weakly. He was not impressed.

We started the rehearsal and within minutes I was shaking and stumbling over words. The rest of the readers looked worried as I got tongue tied time and time again.

“Practice.” they told me.

And practice I did. I walked around my house reciting my lines over and over until I couldn’t stand to look at that book anymore. I walked around in nothing but my boots and my sparkly jewelry to try to get used to it, but the more I practiced, the more nervous I got. I was going to be sick. What did I get myself involved in? Could I quit? Never. This was something that I was going to do for me, and I would not fail.

The night of the show I awoke oddly calm. I practiced my reading all day, and when it was time, I packed my things and headed to the theatre. We walked onstage and I felt like I was screaming inside, my heart was bouncing around my body, my stomach flipping. It was all happening in slow motion and too fast at the same time. I stood still, and smiled. It was like I was someone else. I wanted to cry and run and hide, but still, I stood still and smiled. One by one, each of the girls stood and removed her robe and walked to the microphone to read. Then it was my turn. (“Don’t throw up, don’t pass out.”)

My legs started moving, and I untied my robe. It fell to the floor and I screamed again, “No!” But I kept my chin up and I started reading. You have no idea how long ten minutes is when you’re naked in a spotlight, alone. Ten minutes to wonder who was looking at my vagina. Ten minutes to wonder if anyone noticed that my left leg was shaking violently. Ten minutes to wonder if I had good posture, if anyone could see my goosebumps, if anyone thought I looked fat. Ten minutes to keep my voice slow, even and to make sure that I could tell my story.

I approached that microphone five times that night. The show was two hours long; it seemed like ten years. And then it was over. I left the stage, clutching my robe and walked in a daze back to my pants and sneakers. Pants. Oh, glorious pants. I had done it. I can only describe the experience to an extent. I would compare it to making someone who has an intense fear of heights sit atop a skyscraper and look down. That rush of fear, that insane beating of your own heart, so loud that you’re sure it can’t possibly be coming from you. That sense of being out of your body and watching this happen to someone else. The sense of accomplishment when it’s all over, knowing that YOU did this, no one else.

I don’t know what I was proving to myself, or what I felt I had to prove, but this is truly the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ll never forget my trembling hands and that incredible fear; all I know is that from now on whenever life calls for public speaking, picturing the audience naked is 100% unnecessary. I will just picture myself naked, and steady my hands and enjoy that feeling of my beautiful, wonderful pants.

5 comments
JoeyHasMojo
JoeyHasMojo

Way to go Laurelin! I have dreams that are similar to your insecurities from High School: I wake up from a dream (where I am naked infront of lots of people without realizing it). I am so glad I was dreaming! Every bit of Courage earned is Good.

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