Surprising question? Don’t be surprised. Just consider the question and think of a good answer. You have until the end of this post to come up with something good (but pay attention here!)
Who are you naked for?
Here is that question again. I have found that many dedicated nudists still have some reserve about being naked in places where they can be seen. Of course being at a nude beach or in a naturist resort there is no problem. But tell me: would you drive your car naked?
I would. I’ve done it many times already and I will keep doing it, unless it’s just too cold.
Yes, there is the chance that people see me. I know that. There is also the chance that lightning strikes and kills me (although not on that particular day as it was at least 100F, which is quite insane for where I live).
The thing is that I am naked for myself. Because I enjoy it. Also in my car, which I declare my personal, moving naturist area. I’ve literally done thousands of miles naked and that has never created any problems. Oh, sure, people saw me. So what? People see me at a naturist beach too. Of course a motorway isn’t exactly the same but I am in my car, paying attention to traffic. They should do that too, not stare into my car to see what I’m doing. Or (not) wearing. I’m going home, not inviting viewers by doing weird things.
The same thing happened one day when I answered the door. People stared at me and commented: “You’re not wearing clothes.”
Well, I knew that so I said “I know.” That response seemed to puzzle them but after explaining why I was naked they understood (at least they said so). They didn’t seem to make a big point of it after that.
Be self-conscious, not afraid.
I’ve been out on naked hikes quite a bit. What I found during those is the same as what I described happening at my door. If you meet people in clothes they’re almost never so panicky as some clothes-loving organisations and governments want you to believe.
It may surprise them to see someone walk along in the nude but as long as you act normal there usually is no problem. This doesn’t mean there never is a problem. Always be prepared to cover yourself. Not everyone is accepting towards nudity. Don’t go into heated discussions over something that other people can’t wrap their mind around – you can’t win. Be the smart one, cover up, and drop that stuff once you’re in the clear.
SO. Whom are you naked for? Have you made up your mind?
Dear reader, Before you read on: sit back. Relax. Become aware of yourself, your body – be it dressed or clothes-free – and your surroundings.
How does it feel to just ‘be’? Like now, when you’re not doing very much apart from reading? Do you ever take the time to contemplate that? If not, take a moment now. If you want you can close your eyes and just ‘feel’. Experience who you are, where you are, and especially what you feel? If you are clothed, do you feel them?
Did you feel your clothes? If you did then why do you have them on? Is it cold where you are? If yes then I fully understand. Being cold is no fun. If no, then why are you wearing these clothes? Because it’s how it’s supposed to be? Because you own them? If you own your clothes then you should be their master. If you feel you have to wear them then your clothes are your master.
The feeling of naked.
I never feel I must wear clothes just because “I own them”. I put them on when I feel cold, or when I have to go out where I would rather not cause problems in this world I can’t understand, where violence and other extremities are just fine but where a simple, harmless nude body is considered the worst thing one can encounter.
I enjoy the feeling of naked. The feeling of air on my skin and nothing else.
If I am going to feel anything else it should be what I encounter. Sunshine for instance. That’s something wonderful to feel.
The feeling of nature.
That is another wonderful feeling. The feeling of nature, of becoming one with the outside world that many people don’t even know any more. (And isn’t that a pity?)
Whenever I am walking outside in my preferred state and I encounter something I don’t have in my house, I like to touch it. Like the tree on the left. No tree in my house, but… have you ever stood naked against a tree? Felt its strength and roughness? Try it some day.
That tells you something about nature and who has the real power.
People think they have power because of the tools and machines etcetera, but take away all that and you will see where the real power is. And what better way to understand that than being naked among all that power. Feel it, savour it, and take the feeling home with you. And then, at times when you are busy, stressed and in need of something to put you back on your feet, at such a time find a quiet spot somewhere, take off your clothes and go back to that feeling of power, the feeling of nature that you experienced that day outside.
But what when people see me?
I understand that question. The world is a crowded place. But many people are crowd people and through that you can sort of predict when they will all be inside. (Not all, but many at least.) For instance during major sports events on television. You can be quite certain that not as many people are outside as there usually would be. That is the time. Go outside. Find a spot that is silent. Experience nature. And you don’t have to do this for an hour. A minute is already a big step. And then find more spots. More minutes.
You’ll find that it will become easier to locate good places, places where hardly anyone goes. Those are your places. There is no need for spots of incredible beauty. All you need is a place outside where you can feel safe when you lay off the restraints of your clothing.
If you feel uncertain it will help if you don’t wear too much nor anything complicated. Wear something you can take off and put on easily and quickly.
Over time you will feel more confident when you learn the places and times that are safe for such trips. Again, you don’t need hours outside. If you can do that then you are a lucky person. A lot of people already have problems finding a good spot somewhere outside to try this.
A small journey.
Now read the following short piece and please try to do the exercise. If possible do it naked.
Close your eyes.
Imagine you are in a forest.
There are no human sounds, just birds singing, leaves rustling.
A soft, warm breeze touches your skin. Behind you is a big rock. You can turn around to look at it and how the sun warms it.
Step back a little bit, so you lean against the warm stone. Feel the warmth enter your back, as the sun warms you from the front.
You are touching nature now. Being a part of it.
Stand here for as long as you want.
Then step forward, keeping the sensation of leaning against the rock in your mind.
And open your eyes again.
‘Being’ once more.
Now, dear reader, sit back and relax. Examine how you feel. Close your eyes if you have to, and become aware of yourself, your body, your surroundings.
Do they feel differently now? Is there a bit more nature where you are now?
“I didn’t know if you would like to walk over here to us or if you would rather us come pick you up,” read my phone’s face.
I knew exactly where they were parked: right in front of the studio where I practice and assist class. I also knew that 1) there were about 60 yoga people there, 2) that they were on lunch break for their weekend yoga teacher training session, and that 3) this would likely mean folks would be sprawled out on the sidewalk in a rainbow stew of spandex and lycra. All this is also in the same neighborhood as the place where I work.
I texted Gingerbread back, “I can come to you.” In fact, I had already left my office and was just around the corner from meeting my new friends for my first ever topfree walk in the midst of clothed society.
Confession: theft almost happened during this clothes free vacation. You’ll understand in just a few lines. Who doesn’t experience temptation to steal delicious food? Put your hand down. You know you’ve wanted to steal something delicious from an unsuspecting individual!
Today marks a very special day. Today I pack a car and drive off to my first ever clothes free vacation.
As it happens this turns out to be my one year clothes free life anniversary. A proper clothes free vacation, therefore, seems to be the perfect way to round out my first year of clothes free experiences. Read more onward
Visual artist Nona Faustine, a Brooklyn native, has published a series of provocative photos to underscore New York’s role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The photo series, titled “White Shoes,” features Faustine posing nude on Wall Street, at City Hall, in a Brooklyn cemetery, and at various other New York landmarks where African slaves arrived, lived, and died in America.
A graduate of NYU’s School of Visual Arts, Faustine cites enslaved African “model” Saartjie Baartman and black American photographer Carrie Mae Weems as major influences and inspirations for her “White Shoes” project. “Through self-portraiture,” Faustine explains, “I explore issues about the black body within photography and history.“
From time to time, I come across discussions about what to do with young people when it comes to naturism? How do we keep it from dying with older age groups that seem to be most heavily involved? Is the end of naturism upon us? What to do?
I have no magic answers for these big questions, and I won’t speak on behalf of all young people. I can only say that these discussions prompted me to take some time and reflect on my first year of clothes free life. Read more creating my clothes free life
I’m glad that Daniel Vitalis put out this NakedSunTime Challenge for summer. At first I thought, there is no way for me to make this work. But my body and spirit forced me to find a way to get clothes free sun time in my environment as it stands.
Today, I snatched up an opportunity during Monday afternoon hours at the office. I have been dealing with a lot of different things on my heart, and today, after going to a clothed yoga class at a studio I found myself very jittery. My heart was racing, and I had a lot on my mind. A recent experience of one of my best friends came to my mind, how he talked about loving the sun and how much it lifted his spirit. “That’s exactly what I need,” I said to myself. Time to make it happen. Read more making time to be clothes free in the sun
During phone conversations weeks prior, I told my mom that I was eager to take my first steps out into the open around other clothes free people. Much of my desire came from wanting to have a true, wholesome in-person experience with other clothes free folks. My introduction to clothes free life was through Instagram, flowering from the seed of a clothes free yoga challenge. However, the internet being it’s own planet of crazy, I couldn’t really tell who the true clothes free lifers were, and who was just looking for a good time. I had seen many suggestive comments even from those who claimed to be straight up, so I wanted to know what the real deal was outside of that environment. People said in-person at the right places would be different; I had to see for myself.
Originally, the plan was for my mom and her friend to drop me off at a place of my choice, let me marinate in the experience for an hour or two, then pick me up and the 3 of us continue exploring. But just a week prior, I started avoiding her text messages asking for details about where I wanted to go for my experience. She already knew why: cold feet.
“How about this,” she suggested, “I’ll go in with you! I want to have an experience for myself, too. I was checking things out online. Maybe this Hippie Hollow place?” Me = floored. What?! My mother, who wasn’t even into clothes free, had worked herself up to excitement, done her own research and picked this place. “Yeah,” she went on, “At first, I was afraid, because I thought that people just go to these places, stand around and stare at each other. But I like that this one is a clothing optional park.” I couldn’t run away from the opportunity now. We would both be going together, a first for each of us.
On the way down, I had, as I always do, fallen asleep in the car. Before I knew it, we were at the parking lot of Hippie Hollow chatting with the attendant and paying the entry fee. “OMG! It’s the parking lot from the pictures on the website! We’re actually here!” I squealed. It might as well have been Hollywood. Or the White House!
No nudity was allowed in the parking lot, so mom and I scampered eagerly to the stairs leading out. With each step down, I looked back to watch the parking lot disappear from sight. “When am I allowed to toss this dress?” I wondered. At the final landing we saw a young couple heading our way. They were both clothes free. Well, there ya go!
Mom and I headed to the restrooms to freshen up and put on sunscreen. I almost came without it, to be honest. I was all, “I’m black. I never sunburn.” But one of my best friends grabbed me. “Don’t do it,” he pleaded. “Don’t be that person. Don’t go clothes free outdoors without sunscreen, especially on your first visit!” He had a point. I might be black, but I’m not trying to take any chances here. It was funny trying to put it on. I hadn’t dealt with sunscreen in forever. There were globs of it everywhere, folks. Note to self: sunscreen does not behave like lotion. Use small amounts. Anyway.
Quick side note: the restrooms. We got in there, and there were 2 stalls, but no doors. Just a giant cement wall separating one can from the other. I was like, “OK, I’m feeling open and free, but I wasn’t prepared to be THAT free. What if I had to stay on the can a while and someone else showed up? Do I just go, ‘Yep, so….how are you? Beautiful weather, huh? What a great day to…WAIT, hold on, it’s coming….there! Girl I been trying to get that out since morning!” Good thing it was midday on a Wednesday. Not many people were there, very few women at that.
Once we finished in the restroom, it was time. I stuffed my dress into my bag and stepped out into the sun. It kissed me everywhere, and I smiled brightly in return. Mom stayed in her shirt and shorts and was elated to be on the clothing optional adventure.
We walked down a path for a bit, just the two of us. I felt pure bliss running down my skin as we strolled about chatting and enjoying the quiet fresh air. We saw a few people here and there, mostly men of various ages quietly sunbathing, reading, or walking. At one point we neared a gentleman sitting on a towel in the shade reading. I was like, “Do I say hi? What do I do here?” Indeed, we all greeted each other, just like normal. He looked quite peaceful in the shade reading his book. Mom and I continued on our way, and as we passed by more folks one by one, we kept saying hello and smiling. It was much simpler than I had imagined. We spent time sitting and taking in Lake Travis. We took pictures together and of each other (careful not to bother or capture others, except this curious-looking clothes free fella on the right).
I took to doing a couple of yoga poses outside and climbing in trees. I felt like such a kid, an animal: innocent and happy, jolly and free. I thought I’d be worried about bugs. Usually I scream terror and run when I see them. Not this time, though. Whenever they came near, I simple stayed still and enjoyed the time with my mom.
“This is so cool,” mom sighed. She loved how serene the environment was. She was at home with everyone there doing their own thing, not making a big deal out of her wearing clothes or me being naked. No one cared. It was peaceful, serene, healing. It was a good tanning for the soul bringing vibrancy to our hearts.
After wandering through a wooded area, we plopped down again to soak in more of the beautiful scenery. The sun was generous that day. A few people passed us by on the stairs, all saying hello and smiling. Some wore clothes, some didn’t. Finally, another clothes free gentleman wearing a hat made his way up and stayed a while for a light chat. That was a great experience: mom in her shorts and shirt, me clothes free, and this gentleman clothes free. It was completely safe and it felt so normal. We talked about how beautiful and quiet the day was. Mother asked some questions about the lake, as it was much, much lower than it should be. The guy had a lot of historical knowledge about how the lake and dams work, past droughts, etc. It was really cool to talk freely.
Finally my mom’s phone buzzed. It was time for us to go meet her friend and head out to see the rest of Austin. The gentleman escorted us a way back, then bid us good day and safe travels. He was friendly without being at all creepy. At no point did I feel uncomfortable. Mom cutely reflected that when he had first come up and started chatting with us, the one concern she had was whether she, too, could be part of the conversation since she was in clothes and we weren’t. “I was like, what’s the protocol here? Do I get to talk to him, too? Does he only talk to you since you’re naked? What’s the deal?” Once she realized that there were no such rules, she felt free to converse at length. She said it felt so normal just to sit there and talk with him.
I was sad to leave Hippie Hollow. When we returned back to the restroom, I looked at my dress and sighed. “Nope, I’m not putting it on until the last minute,” I protested. Mom chuckled. We made our way to the base of the stairway that led up to the parking lot. I threw the dress back on, and as we walked up, I peeked back to take in all that had happened.