The thought of being naked and photographed was a bit scary to me—nakedness never disturbed me but being photographed naked was an unknown. “Tuck tummy in, shoulders back” etc, all these admonitions. I soon forgot about how apprehensive I was and began to enjoy being free and being me!
I’ve never thought too much about how I really felt about my body, and I’ve always been happy with it. I’m very grateful. It’s not that I’m perfect, but I do feel very blessed. My mom was my role model. Daddy passed away when I was 11, which was a vulnerable time for me. Mother did a wonderful job of filling that gap, and I felt fulfilled because she made it that way. I held her in very high esteem.
I love movie stars, but I don’t ever remember idolizing their bodies. I remember one sort of low cut evening dress or prom dress, I can remember trying it on. And I said “Oh, I don’t have enough to fill this out,” and mother said “Well you know, what the Lord has forgotten, you fill with cotton.”
I’ve loved dressing my body, loving to be creative and not like everyone else. Folks often would comment “Dana, that piece of clothing is so you! I couldn’t wear that, but you could, and would!” Consequently I have a whole closet full of wonderful clothes, and all are more like costumes.
At the ripe young age of 85, I’ve never been happier with all phases of my life. When people ask me “Dana, how are you always so up?” I reply “Well, I tried being down once and I didn’t like it.” Life is to be lived and enjoyed. Serendipity is the unexpected discovery of something wonderful—I discover things every day! No fear. Fear is “false evidence appearing real.”
My colon cancer and my open heart surgery after a severe heart attack were as close to loss of life as I’ve ever come. They changed my life forever and made my purpose apparent: to live fully and to love. My long life has given me a multitude of experiences to draw upon, taught me how to live and enjoy life, and to examine boundaries. What boundaries?!
I am so grateful to be me and for the wonderful opportunities I have to enjoy life. Being happy is what all the other girls missed. What you see is what you get, what you get is what you feel, and feeling is the important thing. Be grateful for what you have.