“You can stay in Bridge Pose or take Wheel. Listen to your body and make your choice without judgment. Whatever you choose, press your feet into the floor, stand in your choice and breathe.” This is what I offered during a free community yoga class I taught a few weeks ago. It was inspired by teachers in my life who offer options for students to explore new possibilities throughout class while always reminding them to be mindful, choose wisely and breathe. This approach connects me intimately to my body and teaches me to be responsible for my path. Most of all, it instills in me the right to choose and it teaches me to trust myself.
One major issue that came up for me when I first started my clothes free life was around choosing my online interactions. Beyond the question of, “How to identify the fakers?” were questions such as, “Am I unreasonable in wanting to block this person?” Is it silly for me to feel this way? Am I just being too sensitive? Maybe I’m overreacting.” In recent conversations with several women, I realized that we all asked these very same questions. We would check in with each other, wondering whether we were crazy. We questioned how we felt. There seemed to be this sense that we had to justify our feelings to someone before making a choice.
The more I connect with women, the more we share one-on-one about our pasts and issues, the more convinced I am that we have to support each other in making the best choices for ourselves, especially when it comes to navigating clothes free life. So often there seems to be this hesitation to make choices based on our feelings. We keep looking for logic and concrete reasons to justify us. Perhaps its how some of us were socialized, perhaps its personal history, or any other combination of many other reasons. The thing is, I have had many experiences in life where there was no concrete element for me to point to; it was just a gut feeling about something that hit me the wrong way. Yet, I kept thinking, “Maybe there’s something wrong with me and I’m being overly sensitive.” People have stated such an opinion about me often. Turns out that when I didn’t listen to my “feeling,” bad things happened.
It is my position that if we ever feel that someone’s posts, behavior towards us, or behavior towards others does not sit well with us, we should feel free to choose to unfollow them, stop communicating with them, and even block them, without thinking that we have to answer to anyone.
There are tons of accounts out in the social media wild with lots of different content. Even within the “bona fide” group of clothes free lifers exist differences of history, preferences, opinions, interests and needs. There are some accounts from which I disassociated, not because I thought they were morally wrong or did something evil to me, but because something about their content or behavior triggered something unpleasant in me. I have my own unique past, which includes some very harsh experiences. So, if something triggers my being in an unpleasant way, I don’t need to explain to anyone why it makes sense or why I’m justified in unfollowing or blocking. I am simply choosing what is best for me. Some people are allergic to peanuts; the consumption of peanuts triggers a debilitating response in their body, so they choose not to eat them. Others who have no allergy just don’t choose to eat peanuts, and that is their choice.
Of course, these considerations could apply to anyone, not just women. I focus on women in this particular post, because this has been a recurring theme in my personal exploration as well as in conversations with other women. In addition, some men seem to have a lot of opinions about us, even within the clothes free community — what we ought to be doing with our lives, how need to be “brave” and post more nudes, how we have too many body issues, are too sensitive, etc. I have received such unsolicited feedback.
No matter how you self-identify, if something feels off to you or makes you feel uncomfortable, make the choice that supports you. You are the only one who matters.
Aside from that, based on what I have seen on Twitter, it seems that men are more likely to engage in a public debate about unfollowing or blocking. However, in the interactions I have had with women, it is often a private conversation to the tune of “What do you think of that person? I was worried that maybe I am overreacting.” I love having one-on-one conversations to hear about others’ individual experiences. At the same time, our emotions and feelings can also be great guides when it comes to creating an experience that best supports us.
I will share something from a training a few years ago. If someone asks you why you choose to block or disassociate or whatever, one (of many) possible responses could be:
“I choose it, because I choose it.”