I like being naked. I like the feeling of freedom it brings. For those of you who know me, you know I do not like restrictions, including restrictive clothing. Bras are one of my least favourite things in the world.
But finding a time and place to be naked is tricky.
Nudity is not accepted in public except for in very specific places — such as nude beaches or nudist resorts. But why is this? Why is the naked body so unacceptable, so feared, so hated?
Why can’t I swim naked, or lay naked in the warm sun? These are things I should be able to do in my own backyard if it weren’t for the close proximity of my peering neighbours thinking I am “indecent.”
I recently spoke with a man in his 70’s who said, “We are born naked, it is a natural way to be, bodies were not meant to be shamed or feared, bodies were meant to be celebrated.”
I could not agree more.
How did we get to a place where we feel discomfort, embarrassment, shame and hatred for our bodies, and the bodies of others? Why are stretch marks and cellulite unacceptable and ugly? Why must I cover up certain body parts, but not others?
This hiding, this secrecy, this fear of being seen, cannot be good for us.
I don’t want to close my blinds when I change or walk around my house naked. I want to see the sun and the moon through my windows, but I have been taught to close my blinds. I have even been taught to sleep with clothing on. But why? Is sleep not better without the restriction of clothing that gets bunched up and twisted as I toss and turn?
Maybe if we saw a diversity of real bodies more often, we would feel better about our own. Maybe we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves and the way we look. Maybe we could concentrate on all the amazing things our bodies allow us to do and stop trying to attain a perfect body which does not exist.
I often get asked by parents if their children should see them naked. Nudity in and of itself does not harm children. Seeing naked bodies bathing, changing, doing everyday things is not harmful. And many young children love being naked. They can’t wait to strip and run down the hallway.
They have not yet learned the discomfort and shame that adults have. Oh, to be young again.
For me, nudity means freedom and a little rebellion. It is not about sex or sexuality. It is about feeling comfortable in my own skin and confidence in myself. The more I am naked the less self-conscious I become, and this may sound ridiculous, but the more I can concentrate on things that really matter to me.
Nudity may not be your thing, but think about why that is? Maybe you can give it a little try and see how you feel. Because it may feel fantastic.
Stacey Danckert is co-director of Waterloo Region Environment Network (WREN)