CFL : You have been a barefooter for many years how did you get into the clothes free life?
I’ve been into “clothes free living” before…or at least I thought. Some back story to explain…back in 1990, I had entered a year long Massage Therapist program. That was where I was first challenged with learning to become comfortable with nudity. Having had massages before, knowing you get undressed and a massage therapist sees you naked, but draped with a sheet…somehow I didn’t make the connection that during instruction it wouldn’t be a clinical private environment.
I remember the very first class where our actual massage instruction began…30 students, crowded around a massage table, with one brave soul who stripped down in the back, while we listened to the instructor talk about what we’d be learning. The volunteer, wrapped in a sheet, got on the table…the instructor rearranged the sheet and exposed the volunteer’s back. Nothing challenging there, no naked body parts…and 20 minutes later, we’d all been shown the massage technique we were about to practice, paired up, with one another.
So, everyone is paired up…each pair standing at a massage table listening to the instructor’s comments and finally, “O.K., one of you undress first, your partner can practice the strokes we just learned and then we’ll switch in 30 minutes.” You could almost feel the immediate tension in the room and the audible intake of breath as most of us realized we were about to be naked. Even though there were sheets for use, there was no place to change…we were all completely visible to one another in this room. Suddenly, one woman, an older gal, suddenly shrugged, and removed her T-shirt, quickly followed by her bra. You could see most everyone watching her expose her body. When she bent over to remove her pants and undies simultaneously, I remember seeing her breasts hang down…swaying. It made me suddenly aware of her age…close to 60, her body was not attractive, it showed the effects time has on a body. Yet, she seemed O.K. with herself…which didn’t click inside my head at that moment…but would later. Anyway, as she climbed atop the table, and she and her partner began class work…everyone else in the room began nervously undressing and finally all settled atop their tables and draped, began working.
30 minutes went by in a flash and once again, as people had to swap from laying there being the client to becoming the practitioner…lots of nervous shuffling and quick changing…and everyone was back to working. I remember seeing the older gal across the room, she was working on her partner, she hadn’t bothered putting her clothing back on. For the next half hour, as I lay upon the table being worked on, I would glance at her…amazed that she could just be standing there completely exposed…saggy breasts, wrinkly skin, age spots here and there…all in all not physically attractive. Yet there was something compelling about her…but I didn’t understand what it was, which is not surprising as I was barely 25…and still full of youthful inexperience.
With each week of class, it was amazing how nudity got easier…from the first night of class, 30 students nervously undressing in front of one another, doing our best to keep a sheet wrapped around ourselves while we changed. Contrasted with 9 months later, people entering the classroom already peeling off clothing. By the time the instructor would walk in to start class, 30 completely naked students were sitting around as if it were the most natural thing in the world…and it was, though I think most of us missed that point.
Long story short, I wound up meeting my wife in this massage certification course and when we moved in together, with one of her roommates, we kept a clothing optional household. For about 2 years, my wife and I and her friend were usually naked inside the house, but not a lot of clothes free living outside, except the occasional trip to the beach or a nearby nudist resort. I believed myself enlightened and accepting of the nude body, etc…but in truth, when you are living with a couple of mid 20ish women in great shape…it’s not difficult to accept…but it is more superficial than I’d realized at the time.
CFL: What role does yoga play in your practice of clothes free living?
First, let me say that I do not consider myself someone living clothes free…at least not at the level of having a clothes free house 24/7…which is something I do look forward to. But to answer the question, Yoga is the entire catalyst for venturing into this world. And what lead me to Yoga is another story all-together… I’ll try to keep this short, but again, more back story.
Around October in 1999, I became seriously ill. I wound up bed-ridden for nearly 6 months…and spent another 6 months getting to a point where I could walk again. During these 12 months, I gained just over 100lbs. I was a Letter Carrier…and worked 10 to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. I also put in another 30 hours at part time jobs. In short, I was incredibly fit and could eat like a horse because I burnt calories quicker than I could get them into my body. I weighed 210 lbs…with about 8% body fat…I was in great physical condition. Now going from constant work and movement to being bed ridden…regardless of eating significantly less food…I packed on the weight quickly.
Over the next 14 years, I’ve progressively seen my health continue to deteriorate, in addition to sleep apnea, and lymph-edema…which turned out to be the causes of my initial health collapse…I’ve developed type II diabetes, hypertension and every other associated disease that comes from being overweight. I tried various diets suggested by my doctors, etc., none of which worked to returning me to my former physical condition.
What finally occurred, was I gave up completely and decided I was going to stop trying to diet, stop trying to exercise as it was generally causing me injuries…and focus on just trying to enjoy living. This was obviously ridiculous as I wasn’t enjoying living at all.
Eventually, I realized that for me to make any changes they had to be simple and gradual…basically learning new healthier habits. Part of getting me off the couch, was related to my barefooting, which is yet another story, for another time. About a year ago…I started a project, ” http://365project.org/barefootrichard/365” ,part of my barefooting lifestyle, which had me taking daily photos for a year, documenting my barefoot life. During the course of this project, I started exploring social media…something I’d been purposely avoiding…and got a twitter account…which eventually lead to Flickr, Tumblr, etc…and finally InstaGram. It was on IG that I somehow ran across a certain red-headed tattooed woman…and her yoga practice. I remember seeing one of her photos and a comment she’d made about having been overweight and that yoga got her into the condition she’s currently in…which is amazing. I exchanged a few emails with her asking her about yoga. She’d made some suggestions…and I found myself ready to dismiss Yoga, in spite of it’s apparent benefits. Somehow, during our email exchanges, I found her naked IG account…asked to follow, which, assuming she recognized my name from emails… and approved.
So, something occurred when I started going through her photos. Bent into all these amazing yoga positions…her naked body completely exposed…instead of seeing sexuality and physical beauty…which she is all those things and more…I instead saw…my path. It was like being hit in the face by a bucket of cold water. I loathed my body, I wasn’t happy with my personal life…I was not happy with me…and the way to changing that was to come face to bare naked face with my body. Upon contacting her again, with even more questions regarding yoga…I decided I needed to both begin learning yoga…and expose myself, literally and figuratively.
So, I stripped down naked, took my first picture…which was quite difficult, especially when it came time to upload the image…and jumped into this new world. So for now, yoga is the catalyst for clothes free living, but clothes free living had become more than simply being naked…it’s about facing truth and living honestly.
CFL: Did you have any doubts or hesitations about spending most of your time clothes free?
Sadly, I do not get to spend most of my time clothes free…but I do spend as much as possible. Basically, when my kids are out of the house. Oddly enough, my now ex-wife and I had intended and raising our kids clothes free…but due to many circumstances we couldn’t. Needless to say, I regret that! But, in order not to shock them too much…I simply keep my nudity to myself and my Instagram family…but do plan to extend it further. Plus, when my kids are a few more years along their life paths, I’ll let them in on their dad’s newest life path. Somehow, I believe they’ll wind up not only accepting it, but probably being supportive to the point of joining in. But time will tell.
CFL :What does a typically day look like for you in terms of being able to be clothes free ?
My job has some unique requirements…and due to my specific functions, I am often called in out of shift to work additional hours, etc. Combine that with my kids college schedule and full time work schedules…there is no “typical”. I may come home from work to discover that I have the next hour free to strip naked…or I might find I have an entire night to be clothes free. I get naked every chance I get!
CFL: You are generally barefoot in public, do you think you will eventually want to to be clothes free in a social setting say at a resort or camp?
Most definitely! I am actually looking forward to going to a local nudity resort, Lupine Lodge, in Los Gatos, CA and doing so soon, while I’m still overweight. I want to challenge myself to accept my body as is in a social setting like Lupine. While most, if not all, nudist resorts proclaim body acceptance, not all visitors have as strong beliefs in that level of acceptance. I want to reach of comfort level similar to my comfort with public barefooting, where even the sharpest stares and negative comments have no effect upon me.
CFL: What benefits do you think you get from spending time clothes free?
The biggest benefit is simply being able to become accepting with how I am…fat, rolls, saggy skin, you name it. I also have to say, it is so much more comfortable not wearing clothing. Until you spend some time naked, you don’t truly realize how binding clothing is…something we’ve all become so accustomed that we accept this discomfort as normal…and stop noticing it. Oddly enough, it parallels barefooting…once people lose their shoes, adjust to the sensation of bare feet…shoes become noticeably more painful than previously accepted as normal.
I also have to add, being naked makes so many things easier…cleaning for example. Instead of getting clothing all sweaty during house cleaning and ending up with dirty clothes and a dirty body…being naked means simply jumping into the shower. I also find cooking naked makes what can sometimes be a chore much more enjoyable…and again, instead of getting clothes or an apron stained…your skin wipes of easily. I will admit, you have to be a bit more careful to not get splashed with hot liquids…but it’s very easily avoid.
One last benefit of spending time clothes free I have discovered is that my skin has fewer breakouts. Everyone gets the occasional blemish…clothes actually help collect dirt which can clog skin pores. Since spending more time naked, it’s been an immediate decrease in blemishes!
CFL: What were some challenges you see ahead for you continuing to live clothes free?
The only real challenges are who knows about my clothes free life. In time, my children will know…but I’m certain they’ll be supportive, if not encouraged to adopt a similar lifestyle change. The only other realy issue is my work. Due to the nature of my job, keeping my new clothes free life hidden…or rather, unobtrusive…will prevent any issues. While my private life is my own, we’re scrutinized over anything that isn’t within certain social norms. Unfortunately, clothes free living isn’t quite a social norm…yet!