It’s been two and a half years, and I’m finally ready to tell my story.
We had just moved into our gorgeous new home a few weeks before. Everything was sparkling, fresh-from-the-builder clean and smelling like drywall and wet paint. Boxes still littered the living room, and much of the furniture had not yet found a location. There were no curtains on the windows or rugs to soften the hard tile floors.
Because of how new the place still was, it still had kind of a sparse, sterile feel to it. But one day as I was about to get in the shower, I noticed my daughter’s discarded mermaid Barbie doll and a few other bath toys sitting on the ledge of the bathtub next to the stunning glass shower enclosure. The left-out toys were the first obvious evidence of kids living and playing in the house that I’d seen, and I thought, Ah, now it’s starting to feel like home. I took a picture of the Barbie and posted it to my public Instagram profile, captioning it with something cutesy and heartwarming about how now the house finally feels like home, and didn’t think anything else about it.
A couple of days later, I received a message in my Instagram inbox from an acquaintance I had barely known in high school. I had been close friends with his sister who was in my grade, but he was a couple of years younger. His message said, “It looks like you may have a nakey ghost in your new house! Just thought I should let you know.”
My heart rate instantly spiked. Such a mysterious message, and vaguely ominous. (He “just thought I should know”?) Was there actually a ghost in my house? (Do I believe in ghosts?) Was there a smudge on the shower glass in the shape of Jesus? Would I open the Instagram image and see a bone-white, creepy child standing in my shower wielding a bloody machete and staring menacingly into the camera?
With trembling hands, I opened my Instagram app and found the image in question. There was the brightly colored mermaid Barbie just as I remembered her, facedown on the ledge, arms akimbo, blond hair strewn wildly above her head. Where was the ghost? I looked for a blur in the shower door, or maybe a smudge on the shower wall itself.
And then I saw it.
The nakey ghost.
There it was, right on my public Instagram page, for any ol’ Joe Schmo to see — my naked reflection in the glass of the shower enclosure. Granted, it was a translucent reflection, the kind you get from glass, not the crystal clarity you get with a regular mirror, but there was no doubt whatsoever about what it was that I was looking at: My own bush.
The image clearly showed my unclothed body, from just below my boobs all the way down to about two inches below my crotch. And no, I had not landscaped in quite some time. Moving is a lot of work, folks, and lots of self-care, including mons pubis-scaping, takes a back seat. I also hadn’t bothered to suck in, not that my bare stomach in whatever shape it was in was even remotely my concern by that point.
I was the nakey ghost. That was the point.
I deleted the post, my insides having been instantly incinerated into a tiny hill of smoking ash. The post had over 100 likes. So now I had to wonder: How many people had seen that image — me, the nakey ghost — and hadn’t wanted to be the one to break the terrible news? There is no way this one acquaintance out of 100 people could have been the only one to look past the colorful mermaid Barbie and notice my bushy vag on full display.
Actually, you know what? Never mind. I don’t want to know. At the time, I was so embarrassed I could only bear to tell one friend, my bestie who I knew would laugh so hard she would somehow make me feel better about my humiliation. Clearly, now I am fine with everyone knowing. It took two years for this to be actually funny though, and not just oh-my-god-please-let-the-earth-open-up-and-swallow-me funny.
And so, ever since my little oopsy nakey ghost-post, I obsessively check for five things anytime I post a picture:
1. Are there any reflective surfaces I need to be concerned about?
2. Am I naked?
3. But seriously, am I definitely not naked?
4. What about the back? Am I accidentally naked from the back and there are secret reflective surfaces pointing at my ass?
5. Am I wearing clothes?
Even if I know I’m fully clothed, even if I’m in sweats and a hoodie and socks and shoes, I still triple check. I can’t help myself. It’s not even the thought of having a naked picture of myself anywhere for anyone else to see that embarrasses me. It’s that I did it on accident. For heaven’s sake, at least let me choose when and where and to whom to show my ungroomed bush. This was not nude art. It was my oblivious ass accidentally taking a picture of my crotch and posting it alongside a Barbie mermaid. Ugh, the embarrassment is washing over me again, I need to wrap this up.
The only thing I have left to say about this is, if you are one of the people who followed my Instagram during the time this happened, and you saw my naked-ass torso and didn’t tell me, you are NOT A TRUE FRIEND. This is exactly the same as when someone has spinach in their teeth or toilet paper on their shoe. Dammit, it is just basic human decency to tell them! For heaven’s sake people, do better.
People like me who accidentally post naked pictures of themselves on Instagram are counting on you.