This is a subject very close to my heart and with so many stories lately in the media of people coping with body confidence issues, I wanted to write my story of coping with an illness which has left me with some physical deformity but thanks to Naturism has given me the confidence to love and be proud of my body.
I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (a reactive Arthritic disease) which causes inflammation of the joints, pain and stiffness and can lead to total fusion and lack of mobility. I have suffered with AS for well over 20 years now and it has been a roller-coaster of conflicting emotions, sadness, depression, love, fear and hope. All through my illness I have continued to keep my naturist passion and following the naturist ideals of body freedom, love, nature, respecting the body and those of others. My AS has left me with a completely fused upper spine and neck and two total hip replacements and residual pain which very rarely goes away.
I went through a particularly bad phase of my AS and getting very depressed and fed up with how my body looked and looking in the mirror at my somewhat stooped posture and thinking oh my god I look horrible! Luckily during this period I decided to take a holiday on my own in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) for a break on my own and discovered that my holiday apartment was literally within walking distance of a clothes-optional beach. I held my breath and stripped off my shorts and T-shirt and the feeling was incredible, the sun, the sea and the air all around my skin. There were lots of other naturists on the beach that day and some of them came over and asked me if I was ok as they could see I was in pain. to cut a long story short, I made some very good friendships the week I was there and the most incredible thing was that they accepted me and didn’t care that I have several very large scars and a fused stooped spine, I was a person, a naked person but a human being and they were naked too. It was the most wonderful feeling and one I shall never forget.
Since that wonderful holiday I have taken many Naturist holidays and visited beaches and some Naturist events. I don’t go to as many as I would like but I continue to stay as naked as often as I can at home or in my garden and it constantly teaches me confidence and love for my body. It doesn’t matter what you look like or how many scars you have or wether you are slightly bent over or a little tubby or thin, tall, round or short, gay, straight, black, brown, white or whatever….the message I’m trying to put across here is that Naturism or Nudism (whichever you prefer) is an amazing tool for teaching body confidence and by spending a lot of time naked yourself and in the company of others you realise that we might all look a little different under our clothes but we are all the same and as Naturists we respect others and crucially we don’t judge or make snap opinions about our appearance.
Naturism has done more for me in accepting and teaching body confidence than any other treatment (counselling, medication etc) I only hope this message gets across to others out there that have body issues or a disability, please try Naturism it will improve your physical and mental wellbeing!