Being a performance artist, burlesque dancer and alternative model, nudity and the human form have become a place of comfort and power for me. I embrace the strength I have in my physical body, a force that allows me to create images, memories, emotional responses through movement.
Growing up, the brutal teasing from my peers, and emotional abuse from my father made me feel like an alien in my own body. And as a sexual assault survivor, my youth was constantly wracked with confusion and emotional pain related to my sexuality. I’ve spent most of my life thinking I was not beautiful and that my body was somehow wrong. I have been told numerous times I was too masculine, and still to this day people ask me if I am a man or a trans woman. I am not, yet nothing about that comparison bothers me, EXCEPT for the ignorant and judgemental place those statements often come from.
I love my body now, and it was a long road to get there. There are days I wish away my thick body hair, stretch marks, masculine features, and other traits that have made me feel dysphoric about my body. But when I step back and look at what this body has accomplished, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
All photos by Robert Soto.