Today I bring you, my readers, something a little different(note: all links fixed and open in new window/tab). As some of you may be aware, I have an account over on deviantArt(link found here) where I also share my work and socialize. Back in October I came across a prose piece called Body Sociopolitic by a deviant named Akrasiel who then introduced me to a poem by another deviant named Chromeantennae — whose name is Ricky — who had posted the original poem that inspired a response poem. Through the reading of the work by Ricky, I learned that others were posting poems in response and soon discovered that there were so many it eventually led to the start of a project. This project is called Beauty in Raw Humanity: The Self Image Project and it’s truly moving. I’ve been honored to be given the opportunity to interview its creator, Ricky, while also spotlighting the project itself.
Welcome Ricky! I hope you are doing well today?
I am doing pretty well today. I just found an old song from an album I used to have. Lissomer is actually currently getting me the album now so that’s definitely a plus. But besides that random tidbit, I’m very well. My first semester of college is coming to an end here on my side of the world and I’m finally finding my groove again when it comes to writing. I fell out of it for a while because of all of the essays and things I had to write for school but with that out of the way I’m back in rhythm.
Can you start us off by telling our readers about Beauty In Raw Humanity: The Self-Image Project?
Well, in short, it’s about being completely honest with oneself. As I’ve said in the journal itself, “Beauty in raw humanity” is something I use a lot when referring to honesty and openness. Over my time here, I’ve always wanted to be open and honest, true to myself, and true to you guys because we all know there are too many instances where folks are less than honest. They lie about their names, appearance, personality, even their day-to-day lives. Beauty In Raw Humanity is the beauty of being completely and utterly you. Whatever exactly makes a person who they are. Most people look at themselves and can nitpick about what they do and don’t like, but whatever the image is that they see, they’re expressing their truths, and that to me is so utterly gorgeous.
You wrote a beautiful, open poem called 5’7″, 176 LBS (170 CM, 80 KG) and in doing so bared your soul to those that follow you. What made you decide to write this piece?
The story itself isn’t quite as deep as one may initially expect, honestly. As I told Lissomer, I initially wanted to write about stretch marks. Just that, a simple a narrative about stretch marks that eventually became a lot more, both literally and figuratively.
Were you expecting such a response to this outpouring of your soul? At what point did you decide to make this into a project?
Not at all. I didn’t even expect to write the poem when it first happened but when A-Lovely-Anxiety told me she was going to write something based off of my first piece, I told her she was going to inspire a lot more people than I ever could because I felt that a lot more women would feel her version as opposed to mine. Turns out my prognostication was pretty accurate because she inspired MatieuCanadaWilliams and then it just spiraled into this big thing I was never expecting.
I think I decided to make it a project after about the 10th poem if I recall correctly because then it was starting to really, really pick up momentum(and far faster than I would’ve ever thought it could have) and even now as it’s lulled considerably compared to back then, I know a lot of people who are still working on entries themselves and it is really, truly an honor.
The name you chose, Beauty In Raw Humanity, is a wonderful name for this project. On your deviantArt journal, and above, you explained that you use this when discussing being honest and open. What made you realize that it was a good choice as a name for this project?
It’s something I say often. I’m all for honesty and openness, because of things I’ve personally gone through. Even if the truth is harsh, I’d much rather know and see it and understand it than to live without that knowledge. And people think that being completely naked(either literally or figuratively) is ugly, but I disagree. I try to find the beauty in everyone and I genuinely do believe that there is. I love and I love hard. I love every single one of you guys and you are all beautiful as you are.
With a single poem you started a response that only continues with the creation of the project. What does this mean to you, and how important is witnessing these barriers that society has placed on us concerning body image be battered with each new piece? What do you want people who participate or read about this project to take from it?
It means the world to me. Honestly, when people like TwilightPoetess and Akrasiel and HopeBurnsBlue and, my sister, A-Lovely-Anxiety were contributing and talking about it and supporting it, it touched me deeper than I could have ever imagined. When I first arrived here I was okay with settling in the background and watching, but as I got deeper here, I saw how great this community was and it took a little while to find my place here. But once I did, it’s been amazing. These people are like family to me and the support had once moved me to tears — SleepingInTheShadows’ piece, Naked, and description of it really made me cry — because this is so important to me now.
And it’s so important to me now, because I want people to understand that society doesn’t and shouldn’t have the final say in how you feel about your body. You have that finality and how you perceive what is solely yours, and yours alone, should be sacred. And to share those views with the world, for just those rare moments in time, you show us that you are not afraid of it. And that, oh that is a beautiful thing. And even if that person is afraid, you were brave enough to self-disclose and then it becomes something even bigger than a positive or negative body image, but about being brave enough to be honest. There is so much love and courage found in this project and that means more than words can say to me.
What I want people to take from this project is that anyone can do this. No matter if you write or not, no matter if you’re an “artist” or not, there is beauty in honesty. There is beauty in openness and there is courage in it. I want even more people to be more courageous, to be more honest, and if this project can help with that— even a little bit — I can look back on this with pride. We all can, because ultimately, this is not about me and I don’t want it about me; I want it about each individual that decided to be brave enough and open enough to decide to contribute.
Thank you, Ricky, for agreeing to let me interview you for this blog. I’m honored to be able to spotlight such a truly important project.
I am honored to be able to talk about it with you, Tabitha. Thank you so, so, so very much and thank you again to everyone that helped make this possible. I love you all so much.
And remember, you are all beautiful, amazing, and incredible. Yes, YOU.
Hopefully you enjoyed this interview with Ricky as much as I did. To be able to spotlight this project, and his work as well as so many others, on my blog is something wonderful. If you have not checked out this project already, please do. I advise you to check out the pieces linked here and the many not linked that can be found under the Beauty for Raw Humanity link itself, and if you’re so inclined to leave comments and please spread word of this project — even contribute if you feel the urge — as it’s an important one in this society where many of us(myself included) is being made to feel I should think and view my body image in a specific way when only I can determine how I feel about it. The same goes for you for, as Ricky said, you are all beautiful, amazing, and incredible.