I’m having trouble with naturism/nudism. As in, I’m not really feeling it anymore.
I know. 2.5 years ago, I dove into clothes free living with all sorts of emotions. Most of all, I felt excitement, peace, love and freedom. A change came recently, though. I found the usual conversations around naturism/nudism limiting.
Limitations in Current Conversations
Conversations seem to recycle the same topics and questions. Debating the value of clothing optional. And how to get more women involved. Children or no children? The same chants of “nude is not lewd” with riots against “prudes” and “textiles”. Oh, and what the heck to do about single people? Appreciation vs. disdain for organizations. And of course the fan favorite “I hate clothes.” Of course, there are benefits to discussing issues more than once. But, often the same perspectives dominate even when others try to add new ideas. And rarely do many talk about anything other than nudity itself.
— Clothesfreelife (@liveclothesfree) January 30, 2017
I also don’t get a sense of collaboration or community. On the one hand, I read a lot of complaints about how naturists and nudists feel isolated. Some want more naturist books, movies, etc. People want it to be a big and common deal in society. But, how many folks buy the works of the writers? Do people donate to film efforts? And do they retweet calls for cool projects? Or just naked pictures? In addition, many folks do not enjoy collaborating. “I just want to do my own thing.” As if one couldn’t maintain one’s own endeavors while engaging in collaborations.
Truthfully, I don’t really know what moves and inspires many naturists/nudists anymore. At least not in the online space. Beyond nudity, I don’t understand what lights up many nudists, other than nudity. I love seeing the work of naturist artists, for instance. Others write amazing works or beautiful personal stories on their blogs. Some share their adventures to the beach, etc. Some are activists! A few talk about the environment. But, in most cases, I see complaints and naked pictures. I can’t feel a pulse. I don’t hear a heartbeat. And I know we’re not just naked corpses.
As much as people claim naturism/nudism to be freeing, I actually get a sense of isolation from most conversations. “Society just doesn’t understand, they are prudes,” some say. “We want our own spot on the beach, not clothing optional,” others demand. Them vs. Us. And the focus on nudity seems to preclude any other conversations about life.
For me, however, clothes free living does not exist separately from the rest of my life. Whenever I spend time with my mom, I am clothes free and she wears clothes. We talk for hours and eat together. Then, we go out and have fun. And sometimes my friends do naked yoga with me and then we go eat lunch. Sometimes I work clothes free at the office, sometimes I don’t. So, for me, this is less about naturism/nudism as an isolated topic. Rather, clothes free living is something I embody as I weave through my day. Whether or not I wear clothes, it lives in me because, well, this is just about living. It is all my life.
Expressions of Whole Life Approaches
The thing is, the “living” focus resonates out in the world beyond the naturist/nudist walls. Check out Martha Anne’s Instagram page, for instance. Not only does she share works such as this:
she also shares pieces like these:
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I feel really proud of these when I can see them all together like this! You can buy prints of most of these from my Etsy (/uk/shop/MarthaAnneIllo). Speaking of which, I'm now shipping to America, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands, as well as the UK. Let me know if your country is missing. #illustration #art #artstagram #artistsofinstagram #instaart #vegetarian @etsydiscovered
So, you see, everything in her collections reflects her. Her work is one as she is one.
Bold & Naked Yoga does this as well. Two master teachers offer naked yoga sessions. But, they also write about other happy living topics like Finding Your Passion. Again, they demonstrate that clothes free things are one with everything else on their site. It’s not just about nudity. For them, it’s about living.
We see this with health & wellness coach Jessi Kneeland, too. She covers many topics related to leading a balanced and healthy life. She writes about the positive impacts of clothes free living the same place she writes about everything else. And her YouTube videos are awesome!
All of these considerations inspire a shift for me. Rather than nudity as a central theme to prove relevance to naturism/nudism, I will speak to positive living. And this is how many folks on Instagram relate to clothes free living as well, anyway. They show how it is part of what makes them feel whole and happy. In fact, you’ll see most of them also tend to share about good foods, nature, family, etc. And they get real in their posts about their struggles and challenges. So, nakedness expressed in many ways. And all of it an expression of humanity.
And that’s really what clothes free living is about: being human. Whole, happy, healthy and human. Many things contribute to that both on a personal level and in community contexts. Environment. Respect. Healthy habits. Yoga. Food. Puppies. All sorts of things.
So, my shares will reflect that. Still clothes free living, but the central focus insisting less on nudity and more on the big picture. Living.