Burning Man: Helping April get over her fears yet again.

Hello again, readers!

I apologize for my silence over the past two weeks but I have been busy preparing, attending, and recovering from Burning Man. I ended up staying just a few days at the monumental event of around 70,000 people, however, I came home with a bunch of stories and an even more magical embrace of my body image than I had shown up with. Last time I wrote here on the blog, I told my story about my first experience at Burning Man and how dropping my top helped me get over a lot of my self-shame about my body size.

This time at Burning Man, I tested myself even further. I had longed to separate the sexuality aspect away from the ability to just be comfortable in my own skin with no constrictions. My brother Tommy was going to be joining me for this adventure and, you may remember me saying, I was hesitant about getting fully topless in front of him. It just didn’t seem like something I could do. The general American view of women being bare-chested around other people in a non-sexual situation is just not accepted.  Women can barely whip out a boob in a private corner to breast feed her baby without someone gawking at her or making a rude comment about how she needs to “cover up.” As my time progressed on and the desert heat continued to beat down on me like Animal on a set of drums, I started to make small steps in finding my true level of comfort around a sea of strangers. I suggested to Tommy on the second night, “Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t you just walk about thirty feet in front of me? That way, you won’t see my boobs.” My brother would laugh and walk on as I fell behind to embrace nothingness upon my skin.

On Day 3, our final day there, I decided to just go for it. I had left to go to port-o-potty land and while walking, I decided to take off my uncomfortably itchy bikini top. Instantly, my body temperature dropped and I felt much better. Once back at our truck, my neighbors offered me some coffee and as I went over to talk to them, I covered up my chest and commented how I didn’t want my brother to see as he was a couple hundred feet away taking down our tent set-up. My neighbors, two lovely people from Montana named John and Sherri,  laughed at me and began what became a few hours of amazing conversation and insight on how to live life. They broke down for me so simply how silly I was being and that if I wanted to do something, I should just do it, and surely my brother would get over it. I also remarked how eventually my brother will probably see a kid attached to one of my boobs so I might as well get it over with now.

After talking to these Burning Man angels of wisdom, I decided to approach Tommy. I went up to him all confident and stated my claim, that I wasn’t going to be afraid today to just let it all hang out. As the amazing brother he is, he said something that gives me happy tears as I write this. He said, “April, I’m pretty sure the only one who cares about me seeing your boobs is you.” I instantly felt a million times more confident and for the rest of the afternoon, I paraded around not only topless but just in a bikini bottom and my hand-sewn white hooded cape. I even got noticeably checked-out so that made me feel great too until they would notice Tommy and IMMEDIATELY turn away.

Words of advice: If you don’t want any attention from the opposite sex at a large social event:  make sure you go with your sibling – everyone will think you’re married. This concept also works with friends as well.

Once I got home my ability to just be comfortable with my body didn’t leave. That night, as I laid in bed with Alyssa (who was in town hosting our honorary sister Katelyn’s bridal/bachelorette parties), I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that I was sans-shirt and totally talking to both girls with no shame at all. I didn’t even give it a thought until Alyssa  commented on the noticeable difference I was showing as she knows first hand my insecurity about my chest. Now that it’s been a week since I got home, I haven’t exactly been running around topless in the house, but I don’t seem to be as self-conscious about bits of skin showing. If my shirt accidentally comes up a bit and my love-handles show, I’m not so aggressive when it comes to getting my shirt pulled back down immediately. I went to the doctor the other day and as I sat there in my luxury giant drape of medical paper-towel, my bare ass totally exposed for the doctor to see, I quickly shushed my inner thoughts of body shame and had an epiphany. I realized, if anything, getting to see my lower parts was probably like visiting a princess’s palace in comparison to the hundred’s of different bodies she sees in a year. I may be overweight but I bet she would rather see my bare ass than that of a 85 year old man. So I got over it and left the doctor feeling proud of myself for putting myself in check so quickly.

How are all of you when it comes to nudity in a non-sexualized way? If you’ve breast fed, have you ever had feelings of insecurity about doing it in a public place? Have you been one of the women that has been ridiculed by an unpleasant human uncomfortable with the milk of life? Would you be able to be topless around your siblings?

Let me know, I would love to hear about the way other people view this topic!

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone and thanks for reading!

Love and bare chests for all,






PS – Here are a bunch of photos from Burning Man for your viewing pleasure <3


Two men – both impressive in their own ways – Random stranger, I’m sorry I didn’t get your permission to take this photo but you definitely add to the artistic integrity of this photo.


The Temple – A place where people can honor those who have passed on as well as a place to leave behind anything you are ready to release from


Our tent battling the wind. This is a wonderful place called “walk-in” camping… a chance to camp with a bit of peace – NOT quiet – sound travels way too far in the desert.


Tommy during one of the many quick dust storms.

Art shark.

Art shark.

This is me being VERY brave posting this online. The internet has never seen my stomach before but oh well, this will be a great picture to use as a "before" shot for my future weight loss success!

This is me being VERY brave posting this online. The internet has never seen my stomach before but oh well, this will be a great picture to use as a “before” shot for my future weight loss success!

My favorite art car – CHARLIE THE UNICORN! Click the picture to see the internet video this was inspired from.


My brother Tommy and I about fifty feet up on a giant climbing structure!

My brother Tommy and I about fifty feet up on a giant climbing structure!

A sweet art car in the desert.

A sweet art car in the desert.

Bone tree.

Bone tree.


And finally, that gorgeous Nevada sky.


Body shame

Reading Alyssa’s blog post yesterday about her reflection on body shame made me do some reflections of my own.  As she referred to in the post, Saturday I had a swift lesson on reality.  Alyssa and I had changed into our bathing suits at the beach bathroom down by San Diego.  She finished first and took with her the towels so upon that realization, I nervously walked across the road feeling super self conscious of the people around me.  I was so afraid of the way my body parts were potentially bouncing around in my tankini suit! As soon as I got to the other side of the street and grabbed my towel to hide my shame, Alyssa commented on  two men in their car checking me out and within half a second I snapped back about how they were probably only looking at my fat thighs.

Instead of the common response of “Oh, April, shut up,” Alyssa quickly responded back to me about how I wouldn’t ever say that to my best friend, so why should I ever say that to myself?

That simple sentence definitely got me pondering deeply about the way I treat myself.  Of course I would never say something so hurtful like that to anyone, but yet it’s just so easy to mean to myself.  Society has successfully manipulated my mind into believing what is attractive and what is not and breaking away from that hypnotism has been as much of a challenge as losing weight itself!  An attractive woman in a bathing suit does NOT have thick thighs and her boobs always stay in a perfect cleavage form, never once falling to their own individual sides!

Labeling ANY body as the worst is not OK, celebrity or not.

Labeling ANY body as the worst is not OK, celebrity or not.

The other night I was at the grocery store and gazed upon the magazines conveniently placed to distract customers away from their own lives for a moment.  With headlines on most magazine covers about Miley Cyrus’s bold life, my eyes turned to the genuine trash magazines.  On the cover showed an assortment of celebrities braving their own bodies at the beach.  A few actresses made the cut of what is considered attractive with their perky breasts and bikini bodies.  Other celebrities were hidden behind some tagline like “Guess who!?” in a horribly timed photograph that captured the reality of what many people face; she had cellulite on her thighs!

It’s easy to get caught up in magazines like the one I am describing.  I love seeing a celebrity with cellulite so I can relate as much as many other Americans or else headlines like this wouldn’t exist.  But the message magazines like this is sending is horrible.  I’m not sure who is pictured on the cover as one of the “worst beach bodies” but when I see that mystery woman in her bathing suit, I don’t see a horrible picture.  I see a woman in a red bathing suit having fun at the beach!  She shouldn’t have to feel self conscious about wearing what people are SUPPOSED to wear at the beach! It’s a shame that the media has put such negative attention onto bodies that do not fit into the perceived general idea of attractiveness.

What if the magazines took pictures of civilians on  the beach and labeled them as  having the worst bodies?  The magazines would probably be pulled from the shelves within two days for sending such a hurtful message to the public!

Just like it wasn’t alright for me to tear myself self image of myself  in my bathing suit, it’s not alright to tear apart a celebrity in their bathing suit either.  Degrading anyone’s body with words is sending out a negative message to the world that everyone needs to fit into this assumed idea of what a perfect body looks like.

Maybe I didn’t feel attractive in my bathing suit as I crossed the road over to the beach, but according to Alyssa, there were two men who thought I was.  Too bad I was too worried about how my thighs and boobs looked rather than being able to flash them an “April smile.”  Those San Diego surfer dudes are pretty hot!  🙂

Besides my bathing suit reality check at the beach, I went through another moment of getting over body shame this weekend.  On the drive down to Los Angeles, our friend Katelyn and I passed the time by singing.  We sang all types of songs from our favorite movies like Pitch Perfect, but one song in particular moved us enough to record it as a tribute to Alyssa and her husband, Matt.  After failing at being able to text or email Alyssa the voice recording we made, we decided to record a video to upload to Youtube.  We successfully recorded the song in one shot and after we stopped to watch it, I immediately became less excited about how high I could hit the notes and started to dwell on how fat I looked.  All sorts of thoughts raced through my head of what I could have done better. If only I had worn make-up that day!  If only I wasn’t wearing a hoodie!  If only my hair was a bit more voluminous!


I think Katelyn could sense my disappointment with how I looked and offered to re-record the masterpiece on Sunday in the daylight. All through the weekend, I thought about making the video again and after we re-did it and watched it, I decided I needed to get over how I look on video and keep our original improved and hilarious video.  I decided I didn’t care about how I thought I looked because what matters is the amount of fun I had while making the video.  This video has brought me to tears so many times from laughing and makes me happy enough to have NO SHAME.

So, in spirits of getting over my body shame, here’s the video for you all to laugh and sing along to at a low volume level on your computer.  Enjoy!

A Whole New World sung by Katelyn and April on Highway 5