Outside IN is a new series on clothesfreelife.com consisting of interviews with various people who do not practice naturism or clothes free living. The purpose of these chats is to hear individual personal shares about people’s history, experiences and perspectives regarding nudity. Most interviews will take place with people I know, as some questions might become quite personal.
First interview: Mom.
HH: In your lifetime, what has been your experience with nudity?
Mom: I am usually naked when I take a shower, sleep in very hot conditions, or at the doctor’s office. I don’t have situations where I walk around naked doing things for two main reasons. Firstly, I have always had chest pains when I don’t wear a bra. Doctors have never been able to determine why; they have not determined it to be an illness. Secondly, all my life I have had discharge, so I always needed to wear underwear with shields. For those reasons, I don’t generally walk around naked.
HH: What are your thoughts about nudity?
Mom: Personally, I don’t have any negative thoughts about someone being nude in private. I don’t have a problem with public nudity either, depending on the intent of the individual. If someone just wants to be free and natural, I get it. It would catch me off guard, because, depending on the situation, there might not be an expectation that I would suddenly see someone naked.
Two years ago, I went on a trip with my ex-husband to an area in the Caribbean. We had wandered off the beaten path of a tour and somehow ran into unclothed people. I had to take a double look, because one woman didn’t have her top on. I thought, “Is this me? Do people just walk around like this???” And then a little while later I walked by a guy, and he didn’t have anything on, and I was like, ‘What?! Is he…yep, he’s naked.” But, it was all natural, nobody cared. Folks were just doing their thing. Where I live, I wouldn’t expect to see naked people publicly, unless it was a specific location reserved for that. So, I just have to get my mind together to expect it.
HH: Did you always feel that way about nudity since an early age?
Mom: Now, that’s another interesting part of it. I think that personally, even as a kid, I didn’t have a problem with nudity. However, because of the household I grew up in, the religious environment and the church, they taught very rigid rules about clothing. Public nudity was not OK. They didn’t even want your elbows showing! So, I had my own perspective, but I didn’t have an avenue to express it.
HH: Did you ever think that nudity was just for sex?
Mom: No, I never thought that nudity was just for sex. I know that there is a separation between the human anatomy and the activity of sex. I think about it in terms of “Gear for Living.” So, my body is a tool for living in a physical environment. If I have gloves on, then that’s gear for an activity. If I have tennis shoes on, then I relate that to certain activity. With my human body, I am living life. And there are environments where I don’t need clothing, and other environments where I do need clothing, like if it’s cold. So, I just think about my human body as a tool for living.
HH: What were your thoughts when I first talked with you about my clothes free life?
Mom: I was very interested and, actually, quite excited. At first, I wanted to understand why you were intrigued by clothes free life. Being a mom and protective, I wanted to make sure the WHY was organic and germane to you. If you had said, “Well…my friends at the yoga studio pressured me…” I would have been concerned, because that would have been a sign of you being pressured into doing something. But, once I saw that it was you getting into it of your own free-thinking will, I was good with it.
HH: How was it when I came to visit you in April, in your presence, clothes free?
Mom: It was great for me. I did have to prepare my mind, because I didn’t know what to expect. Like I said, in the world we live in, I don’t walk around expecting to see everyone naked. I only expect to see myself. So, even though I was excited for you to come and be free and comfortable, I had to say to myself, “OK, Brain. Listen. Your daughter will be here without clothes on and it’s OK. Breathe!” Once I settled my brain, then I had to think, “OK… so… what is the protocol? Do I look at her face? Is it OK if I look at her body? Will she think I’m crazy?” I didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable. So, I had to think about what would be OK, what wouldn’t be OK. I had to think about whether it would be OK for me to look at your stretch marks, etc.
You were so gracious to walk me through it by saying, “OK, Mom. I’m going to be naked under the covers. OK, now I’m going to sit up. OK, now I’m going to get up and walk over there, and I will be naked.” That was so gracious. Then you’d just walk around, go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, I’d look at your face. And then I’d look at you and be like, “OK, that’s her. OK.” So, I just needed time to get used to seeing you with no clothes on.
What was important to me is that you were so patient with me, because I really wanted to be comfortable with it, I just needed time to get used to it.
After the first day, I was good.
I lived in fear for a very long, due to way I was raised and also from being rejected by my father. It took me years to battle through my fears. When you began to explore clothes free life and said how liberating it was for you, I wanted to experience that YOU because it helped me deal with some of the hidden fears I have, including my body. It helps me to say, “You know what? This is who I am, this is what I have.” Through your exploration for you, I’ve gained the comfort to go into public without makeup on now. You know me. I would put on makeup to go to the mailbox, because I didn’t think I looked good enough without it. Seeing you be clothes free helped me be more honest with myself and with my community about who I am. “This is me.” Now, I can get up and throw on a pair of jeans and go to the store or even the movies without makeup. And if I choose to wear makeup, it’s not because I think I need it to look good, but because it complements me.
HH: Can you talk a little bit more about the different kinds of fears that you’ve had?
Mom: I have always thought that I was ugly. My father really wanted a dark-skinned daughter. After my oldest brother came my sister, who was that beautiful dark chocolate baby that my father wanted. And then I came, high yellow, and I didn’t look like him or my mom. I have his tendencies and mannerisms, but he still rejected me. He never did anything with me. He’d take my brother and sister out and do activities with them, but leave me behind at home. I couldn’t even eat at the dinner table with them. He wanted to give me away, but my mom fought him on it. I would stay in the bedroom and cry. “What’s wrong with me? I’m not good enough. No one cares about me. I’m not important.” I spent a lot of time alone as a child. I’m very comfortable being alone. So, when we talk about fears, I just felt like I wasn’t good enough. My sister was always praised by my father for being smart and beautiful. There was also a lot of rejection in the religious community. I was really insecure about who I am, what I can do, what I’m capable of. I struggled and battled those things. By the grace of God, I can now say, “I am worthwhile, I am someone.”
HH: You said that having those clothes free experiences with me was healing for you? In what way were those experiences healing for you?
Mom: Well, one reason is because it’s YOU. When I was afraid in my life, I allowed my fear to immobilize me. You, on the other hand, from the day you got here, you’d be afraid, vocalize it, fuss and complain, but you would still DO IT, even if people made fun of you. For example, in 6th grade, you were on stage during a play, and they had these inner tubes for the kids to wear. However, you were too heavy to wear the inner tube around your waist like all the other kids. Instead, you just put it on your arm kept going with the act without stopping. The parents were snickering. And still you didn’t stop. I cried in the audience. I could hear these parents laugh at my child, and you kept going, you did it. All of your life you did that, no matter what happened, no matter what the community said, no matter what the environment said… you did it. And I was not that way. If people said I couldn’t, I said OK I won’t. OK I can’t. But you’d say, “screw you, you and you. I’m gonna try.” That brought me so much healing. So, I thought, “Doggone it, I’m not going to hide behind makeup. If my daughter can be clothes free, I can go without makeup.” And I got this attitude of,
“This is just me.
This is what you get.”
I have been doing that ever since you came and spent that clothes free time with me.