How I Am Learning To Love My Naked Body

| November 10, 2013 | 14 Comments

Overcoming Body Image Issues By Learning To Love My Naked Body

Guest Body Image Blog By: Patricia Riedel

Naked Body Love By Patricia Riedel

Loving My Naked Body – I recently read an article by Felicity Jones that talked about “why women should see other women’s naked bodies.” At first, the title really shocked me. But then I read it and for me, the articles triggered one of those “moments of awakening.” As if something that lay dormant for years, suddenly jumped back into existence.

I began having a discussion with Jordan who is one of the co-founders of this Young Naturists group – Young Naturists and Nudists America.

We emailed each other back and forth regarding all kinds of issues such as the differences between the generations and how my daughter, and her 23 – 25 year old friends, are able to be silly and cook dinner together naked while I, at 52, have never done anything like that (it shocked me to the core at first to see such blatant boldness).

Growing up in the 60’s and early 70’s the hippie generation was in bloom. It was a time of freedom, burning your bra, and free love. You would think I too would be dancing around in total peaceful freedom. Yet my experience was completely different.

In my personal home life, like so many others in my age group, nudity was treated as taboo. We weren’t allowed to discuss anything that had to do with nudity let alone nudism or sexuality. We were hushed and made to feel like we were dirty, bad for even thinking in such a way. Thus myself and many others began feeling shamed.

I remember one instance when I was about 12 years old. My brother really pissed me off, so I decided to fight back and I did – I “mooned” him! My mother was so upset with my behavior and she yelled at me for doing what I did.

She then told my grandmother about my shameful behavior. This quickly became the family story that would define my childhood and was a subject of much ridicule by many of extended family.

This embarrassment created a huge amount of shame for me. It sent a powerful message that made me feel horrible about myself and my naked body. Therefore, as the years went by, it seemed normal to me that all of us stayed covered up. I have never seen my own mother nude and it was the same for many of my friends.

naked body love Patricia Riedel

Loving My Naked Body By: Patricia Riedel

Later on, in my late teens, I married my first love. He turned out to be a very violent man who further instilled this sense of shame with regards to my body.

He would beat me, then force me to have sex – which made me feel less like a person and more like an object. He would also use emotional and verbal abuse and would threaten to leave me if I didn’t lose weight. He would make this point shortly after his sexual fulfillment with me.

Though I was a small, thin woman, he would use ugly remarks about my weight. Later on I learned that he used to do this to keep my self-esteem low and to basically make me feel worthless so that I wouldn’t leave him.

This was a very dark time in my life. I could never imagine anyone ever wanting me. I began to be obsessed with roller coaster dieting, exercise and trying to be / look perfect. I could never seem to achieve that “ideal.”

My abusive husband began belittling my body and I still remember the day I started “hiding.” He came in our bedroom one day while I had been dressing and I grabbed my clothes and ran to the bathroom to get dressed in private. He never said a word and I began doing this all the time. Without any real thought – I began hiding.

Nude Nudist Girls Cooking Dinner Together Naked

Nude Nudist Girls Cooking Dinner Together Naked

After almost a decade of abuse I was able to break away and we split up. After being divorced from this violent man for many years, I married again. This time to a good man! Sadly, he just died last year of cancer. His death sent me into depression which I am struggling with today.

The issues that stemmed from being in an abusive relationship for so many years had seemed to take a strong hold over me. I could never think of getting naked with my new husband for 10 years which caused intimacy issues for me – for us – and generated upsetting conversations as to why I couldn’t show him my body.

Finally, just before he died I was able to be a little freer. That said, I still struggled and that’s when I found Felicity’s article about being naked.

The article made me see the shame that had haunted me all these years. It stirred my emotions and brought to surface a lot of old wounds and issues that I had been suppressing for so many years.

Once I finished the article, I decided to do a test with myself. I decided to start being naked in front of myself! I would start learning how to be comfortable while completely nude every night and be without any judgment. I made a conscious effort to focus only on appreciation, love and acceptance for my naked body.

The first few nights were so strange. I was flooded by feelings of insecurity, negative thoughts about my body and self-hatred. These feelings kept coming up so I actually had to go through a process of positive self-talking and resisting the urge to cover up. I would do everything I could to try and accept the naked me.

A few days into this project, my daughter and her friends came to visit one evening. We were all sitting in my bed talking. I shared my thoughts about the “naked women” article, asked them some questions and told them my story of how it was when I was young.

They were in shock! Like me, many moms in this generation of baby boomers have raised their daughters to be more empowered and accepting. Today you see so many young women who are much more open with their bare skin and bodies – a concept that seems so foreign to many women of my generation.

As all of us ladies sat on my bed talking, one of my daughter’s single friends spontaneously said; “let’s go topless” – so we did! My first initial feeling when removing my top in front of these young women was to question if I did something bad and dirty.

But I pushed those thoughts back and after some time we all just forgot we were topless. We laughed and talked about nipple sizes and nudity. It was such a fun and freeing experience that now we are planning a girl’s nude dinner party!

I guess the most important point I would want to make, as I share my thoughts, is that shame is a prison that I needed to be freed from. Shame causes many self-esteem issues. It stopped me from loving and accepting myself which is so crucial to the healing journey I am on – to be a “whole” person again.

I am grateful to this author for writing this article to bring awareness. I am also grateful to Jordan for setting aside the time to talk to me (almost daily and for quite a while).

He kept encouraging me with love and inspiration to keep going on this path of honoring my naked body and to be accepting of “me” in the raw flesh – nothing hidden, nothing to be ashamed of.

To be, in my own eyes – perfect as I am is what matters most.

I hope some others can be encouraged to find their peace. Felicity’s article and Jordan’s support helped me to come to terms with my own naked self and I hope that other women will be willing to embark on a similar journey of self-acceptance and learn to love their beautiful naked selves as I have.

Today, I am happy. I am nude when I want to be, and I finally feel okay about it.

Peace, Love, Courage and Acceptance to All!

Learning To Love My Naked Body written by Patricia Riedel was published by – Young Naturists and Young Nudists America YNA

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Category: Social Nudity Blogs, Feminism and Women's Issues, Body Image Blogs, Nudist Blogs, Social Activism

About the Author ()

Jordan Blum is a lifelong nudie and co-founder of Young Naturists America.
  • mnwwn1

    This story is truly inspiring and I wish everyone could get a chance to read it!

  • BillSchroer

    Thoughtful, inspiring story. It would seem that if Patricia can do it anyone can. But, Patricia has unusual courage and a mentor.  I have seen many people who would be run over by a dump truck before standing naked before a mirror or even a loved one…let alone a stranger.  Patricia’s self-esteem is a lot higher than she thinks!  And, hats off to Jordan for mentoring and supporting Patricia through her journey.

  • IsisPhoenix

    Patricia, your courage and willingness to transform your relationship to your body, particularly after all you have been through, is both soul stirring and inspiring. Thank you for being a role model not just to your daughters and her friends but to women of your generation as well. I think there is less willingness as women age to embrace a naturist lifestyle or to embrace being naked as a form of self-expression if a woman did not grow up in an environment like this. Thank your or being courageous, bold and beautiful!

  • natureboy1776

    Such an inspiring story. As a young man I too felt powerful body shame. Naturism has helped me overcome and become whole.
    I’m curious how you found Felicity’s article, as it does not sound like a subject you were looking for.

  • NadineSabulsky

    I love hearing stories like this! Congratulations on your new freedom and self-loving actions! As The Naked Life Coach I help many people change their lives with the inclusion of nudity into the coaching practice. It can be truly enlightening to strip away (pun intended) the societal taboos and patterns and get to know and love yourself totally, even, and especially, when you’re naked!

  • PatriciaAndersonPeters

    What a beautiful story, Patricia! What a beautiful YOU :) This life is so short when you put it into perspective, and our experiences shape who we are and the world around us. When we are able to be free and accepting and experience love in an environment that is affirming and healing, then I can only believe that the world will also become more loving, affirming and healing as well. 
    May you ALWAYS know the beauty of who you are and may you ALWAYS know the inherent value of all that you bring to the landscape of this crazy thing we call life!

  • IanJamesPatterson

    The article was well written, but I wouldn’t eat any of her daughter and friend’s cooking if they are going to sit on the counter like one is in the photo.

  • carlnudi

    What a moving story. Thank you for sharing it. I know it will be very helpful to many of us who read the article and relate to some of the same issues and situations. Your courage alone is an inspiration.

  • Augustine Zavala

    Fascinating topic, beautiful story.  Thank you for sharing…

  • manofadventure452

    Nice.  I like what I’m hearing here.  Nude dinner parties sound fun and your journey sounds pretty rough.  But here you are.  Jealous!

  • LeeThomas

    That was a beautiful and genuine story. I know a lot of people who experienced the same obstacles you did. I am proud of you, you overcame your obstacles.

  • BriaorDianus

    Great heartfelt article Patricia !

  • Christopher Judson

    Looks like society is starting to love being naked more than I expected

  • SteveYnaNY

    Thank you for sharing this and having the courage to confront your fears and change.
    My wife and I are about your age and grew up with the same kind of body shame issues.
    We to had a long road to body acceptance which we joyfully discovered together. Young
    Naturists America has been one of the most positive experiences of our lives as we’ll
    and we are happy to enjoy the same freedom you describe. Again
    Thanks so much for your courage and sharing!