Thursday, 28 June 2012

# 92 Baring all

Like many women I have body issues. Nothing serious. Just the usual insecurities inflicted on me by a media keen to sell a perfect body image. To be honest, I could never get that obsessed about looking like that. I'm not self destructive or that vain and I don't live a lifestyle or work a job that requires me to fit the image. I am a self preservationist and I know when enough is enough. But there's no denying I've tried a few fad diets over the years, exercised impatiently and got bored waiting for the results and I've tried everything in moderation without success. Eventually though, you have to realise you are made the way you're made and that as long as you're healthy and in control, you should be happy.

Yep, we come in all different shapes and sizes - source
Some people are never at ease with the way they are, some beat the system and make their bodies look the way they want them to and the rest of us just learn how to be happy and work with what we've got. Most importantly don't feel pressured by the media to look a certain way. It's just not realistic. But it's only recently that the penny has dropped, and it happened in the most unexpected way. Because I was introduced to naturism.

I am not an exhibitionist, far from it. And though I have done a couple of nude photoshoots in my time it wasn't the experience I would have hoped for. I didn't feel any more at ease, if anything I felt even more self critical. The difference with attending a beach, sun club or swim is that it's not about wanting to flaunt everything in public for the sake of it or about how good the body looks to those around you, it's just about not wearing clothes because you like to not wear clothes. Finding like minded souls to bare all with has been great fun and also surprisingly easy.

Everyone is incredibly easy going and non judgmental. My self critical stance paled into insignificance when I was alongside other people. I realised I actually didn't look that bad and I wondered what I'd been worrying about. The best bit about it is that it's entirely non-sexual and this is probably why so many people can't grasp the concept of what naturism really is all about.

Peer pressure, media advertising, fashion - so many
influences, so unrealistic.  Sometimes the effects can be
devastating to both men and women, young and old: source
At the end of the day, we're all the same kind of creature. We have all the same things in pretty much the same places. It's only age, genetics and lifestyle that dictate how we look close up. I love the lack of preconceptions everyone has about each other at the events I've attended so far. No one is 'checking anyone else out' or comparing body shapes and sizes. Everyone is there for the same reasons - no clothes. And that's about it. 

I've been attending a naturist swim club in Sleaford for a couple of months now. And this week we tested out a local sun club camp and caravan park as day visitors. There's nothing better than lying by a pool in the sun, getting that all over tan. And no one cares. To say it's boosted my body confidence would be the biggest understatement of the year. You quickly lose your inhibitions and it just becomes second nature. 

Even better, we now have friends to attend events with. Friends both new and old to naturism who have the same attitude. And it's fun to share the experience in such a normal setting.

Some of you may think this bizarre - but why? In our apparently liberated Western society it still amazes me how hung up we all are about baring all, especially when you consider how little some fashions leave to the imagination. I guess it is all about sexual connotation. We live in a society obsessed with sex, safety and a preconception about nudity. It's a shame but as I've realised, not everyone is like this.

I like my new social circle. They are some of the nicest people I've met in a long time. They are liberated, non critical and have no preconceived notions about the body imperfect. And this is so refreshing.

For those of you interested in reading more - here are some blogs and websites by a few friends and acquaintances. Any questions, you know you can ask.

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