To those who feel it all, all at once.
Named after Gustav Klimt's painting and subsequent ink drawing "Nuda Veritas," Naked Truth embarks on a journey of self-love. Written by Faith Shakti Heyliger, this collection of poetry urges us to come alive, to be vividly, presently, as both speaker and observer, Self and Other. Sitting on the precipice of strength and vulnerability, these words are a celebration of the duality inherent to our humanity.
As a woman of color in the United States, the state of Otherness becomes you at birth. Removed from your core self, you assimilate to a world that is not your own, told (indirectly or directly) that you are somehow less than, devalued by a system said to protect you. This seed of difference and pursuit of freedom is at the bedrock of our nation. It is this psychological warfare, this experience of daily Otherness, which renders finding love for oneself a seemingly impossible task: never really feeling like you belong anywhere with the ability to be truly you without reservation.
At first, love is sought through others, begetting anger, confusion, self-loathing, and despair. As the "self-work" begins, we discover the source of the problem no longer resides without but has seeded itself within: these broken tales we weave perpetuated by ignorance and apathy, false assumptions, and hate. And so begins the process of transformation.
To heal, to love, we must recondition our consciousness to embrace all aspects of the self, to not be embarrassed by our emotions and unique sense of intuition. We must let go of the thought that something is wrong with us, so we can start to love ourselves for who we are as we are. As the inner world evolves, the outer world expands. We don’t need to seek love because we are love. And that energy is infectious. Compassion begins within.
When we begin to see that we are all citizens of this earth, that we are all emotional beings governed by the same laws of the universe, that our diversity is what makes us a vibrant species, that our seeming opposites are actually fuel for creation, when we begin to recognize ourselves in each other—no matter the illusion of difference — we remember the very simple fact of life. All we all want is to LIVE. To walk in our truth. To bare our souls proudly. To seek to better ourselves and through extension our world. I hope these words act as a container for feelings of hopelessness and unworthiness, setting your soul aglow from the inside out.
- Faith Shakti Heyliger