At my highschool there is a long standing and somewhat racy tradition: senior streak. It’s a lot like the Undie Run, minus the undies and with the addition of a mask and a whole lot of paint. (The administration is less than excited about this tradition).
The senior streak is the kind of thing that everyone says they’re going to do at the beginning of the year but when the time comes only a dozen or so people end up doing it.
My senior year was an exception. Sure, all my friends and I said we would do it but I don’t think any of us had faith in each other that we would all follow through. However, we attended a meeting (which was held in a teacher’s classroom, weirdly) enough to organize the event. Before we knew it we were buying masks, glitter, and body paint. It turned into an event (it might have even been Facebook official). We were all to meet after 4th period at someones house a couple blocks away from school. We would get ready there and then designated drivers would drop us back at the school and wait at the end of our route to collect us and whisk us away from administration, security guards, and the inevitable police waiting outside.
The day of the event was nerve-wracking. Rumors flew about the police waiting outside and how all the entrances to the school were going to be sealed. When it was time, my friends and I headed for the exit, apprehensive that we would even be allowed to get off campus, let alone back on. It turns out the rumors were greatly exaggerated. We had no trouble getting off campus, or back on, for that matter.
Being naked in front of people is really scary. Everything is on display. All you lumps and stretchmarks and and every part of your body that you are insecure about is out there for everyone to see. I am by no means confident in my body. But getting naked in a house with 80 other people, I didn’t care what it looked like. And neither it seemed, did anyone else. It was liberating to be naked and carefree. People’s bodies can be such a topic of discussion when they are clothed, and yet when we were all naked, all judgements drifted away. We were sharing in a tradition that is about breaking the rules, and being free, and saying “fuck you” to authority. We were a collective and it didn’t matter what we looked like.
As I streaked through my campus with a good portion of my senior class, as the rest of the school clapped us on, I felt confident in my body. I didn’t care what parts of me were bouncing and jiggling, just that I felt good and healthy and so so happy.
While there are still many times when I feel bad about my body and lots of things I wish I could change, that experience made me appreciate it just a little more.