Clothes free living gives me unconditional love.
Some say that you have to invest 10,000 hours of work to truly embody and master something. Although clothes free living isn’t necessarily something to “master,” I must say that 10,000+ hours of everyday living changed me. It was a slow change, the kind that cooks in the crock-pot seemingly forever. Sometimes it appears nothing happened until you open it and, boom: dinner. That is what opened in me the other day.
While rummaging through my apartment, I realized that this body is mine. Obvious, right? I know. But as I paused in that moment and allowed my eyes to meander over my figure in the mirror, I realized how extraordinary it was to be standing right there just being me. I stayed with those feelings long enough for stillness to take hold deep inside me. In that pause, I truly saw myself standing strong, free and in love.
We don’t often credit the mundane, do we? So much of news and “favorites” are things that are extraordinary and shocking. Yet, from day one of my clothes free journey, I was taken by its simplicity. I remember looking through @clothesfreeyogi’s Instagram account. He had the simplest posts: ironing, cooking, camping, reading the newspaper, engaging a book, yoga. It was everyday life with no frills, no special professional photography, just…him living. While some would say such things are nothing special, it was precisely that quality that made it special to me. After a life spent trying to gain attention, love and approval by doing, here was something that required nothing special at all, just being. I knew clothes free living had something wonderful to offer.
For over 2 years now, I have lived clothes free in the most mundane, everyday contexts. I cook, read, practice yoga, binge on Netflix, enjoy outdoor fun with only the best, write, etc. On the surface, such activities could seem meaningless. However, it was precisely that neutral everyday living that changed me deeply. Day after day, I lived the truth that this body is mine and I am me, over and over again. That truth remained even during some of the most challenging seasons of my life. Tears, grief, anger, joy… context after context, I proved on a daily basis that I was still me and mine. And all I ever did was live and be me.
It was quite something to behold myself in the mirror that day. I recalled the time I was raped. When it happened, it felt like something was taken from me and that I was clothed in ilk. But standing naked before myself, day after day, this truth confronted me: I am always mine. There was no one else there and no part of me was missing. I was mine, all mine. Then, I remembered my eating disorders and all the turmoil through which I had put my body. Yet, there I stood strong, healing, healthy. I stood there in my own skin on my own terms with nothing else required. Me. Pure. Free.
What poured over me was a sense of unconditional love. I have felt many emotions and weathered many storms. As challenging as some of those situations were, I learned to embrace myself just as I am. Over time I realized that I don’t have to be in a good mood in order to feel a deep sense of unconditional love, respect and appreciation for myself. Not everything has to be perfect. Having it all figured out is not required. My joy, laugh, grief, rage – I embrace them all with love.
This is a fascinating place to be: standing in my contradictions and knighting them “beauty” and “love.” I wrestle with things everyday, and yet I still find ways to say, “I love you.” I respect, honor and appreciate my body and soul, even when I don’t “get” them. In addition, these changes also shifted how I love others. I don’t expect perfection and constant streams of unicorns and Lucky Charms from people. Their dimensions and contradictions quite beautiful, actually. I love them. All of this came about from things so mundane as watching Netflix and cooking clothes free.
Perhaps the simplicity is, in fact, the hardest part to accept, no? Don’t we love to complicate things? Just yesterday I was running around trying to figure out how to pay my internet bill. I got locked out of my online account and the phone number referenced on the help page was useless. So, I ran around until I found a store and presented a copy of my bill as I cried for help. The agent pointed to the appropriate phone number on the bill. Once I dialed, the voice on the phone said, “You could do this for free online at…” Wouldn’t you know that the alternative online link was right there on the bill? Yeah. Similar with clothes free living: there isn’t much we have to do. Rather, the deep benefits come through simple daily mundane living and being.
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