My Naturist Epiphany and Nudist Story Part 1: Obstacles To Becoming A Nudie
Guest blog by: Wayne Brake
My name is Wayne, but this is a pseudonym I feel compelled to use because reasons. Not to sound glib but we do live in a very clothed, er…closed-minded society where nudists and naturists are persecuted, especially in the workplace. I know for a fact that if I “came out” as a naturist to my family and friends they’d probably try and perform some sort of gymnophobia-flavored intervention / exorcism on me. *le sigh*
I’m in my mid-forties and I’ve been a practicing naturist for about five years now. I say “practicing” because I’ve been a naturist at heart since my early teens. Back then when my parents went away for a weekend I’d often whip off all my clothes and wouldn’t put ‘em back on until I heard their car pulling back into the driveway.
Reflecting on this now I realize how therapeutic this was. I was a skinny, shy, self-conscious kid who grew up in a Catholic household that unequivocally linked nudity to sex and shame. As a result, I grew up with some pretty crippling body image issues. I couldn’t even bring myself to wear shorts and t-shirts in public. Even during the hottest days of summer I’d be bundled up in jeans and long-sleeved shirts, constantly flirting with the threat of heat prostration.
It wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I became vaguely comfortable in my own skin. With that came a renewed interest in naturism. I remember visiting St. Maarten back in 2003 and wrestling with an overwhelming desire to leap off the tour bus, tear off my clothes and join all of those happy-looking naked people frolicking on the beach at Orient Bay. But since all of my fellow travellers were laughing and giggling like schoolgirls I kept my inner frolicker tightly muzzled.
A few years later I discovered that there was a clothing-optional beach just a short drive away from me. One Sunday afternoon I led my wife and a close friend out that way for a hike. I roughly knew where the nude beach was and I deliberately led them to the outskirts, keen on gaging their reaction to this.
BIG FREAKIN’ MISTAKE, by the way. As soon as we got within line of sight of a single naked man standing predominately on a tall rock my friend, who has extremely poor vision, took this opportunity to pipe up.
“Wow,” he said. “I’ve never been so happy to be blind in my entire life.”
Undeniably funny, yes, but it made me think: ‘Why do you feel so threatened by this? Do you think that he’s suddenly going to run over here and start doing gratuitous squats in front of you?’
That’s when I realized that our modern-day attitudes towards nudity are still grossly misinformed by Victorian and Puritan influences; influences which unequivocally equate nudity with sex, shame, deviance and a distinct lack of “decency.” Indeed, North Americans suffer from more body horror issues than the average David Cronenberg film.
Then, in 2007, I visited a friend in Vancouver. To test the waters again I asked him to take me to that world-famous naturist Mecca, Wreck Beach. He immediately reacted very violently to my request:
“Oh, no! Trust me, you don’t wanna go there. Not the kind of people you wanna see naked, ifyouknowwhutI’msayin’.”
‘Um, ooookay,’ I thought to myself. ‘How can I explain this to him? I don’t wanna see other people naked, I wanna be naked. I wanna be completely immersed in the elements without the burden of a wet, cold, clingy swimsuit. I don’t want any barriers between me, the surf, the sand and the sun. I just wanna commune with Mama Nature in the only way that makes sense to me.’
But given his palpable hostility I quickly dropped the subject and moved on. *Strike two*
Even though my thoughts were getting bolder, I was still a long way from taking the plunge into nudism myself. While camping at a local provincial park, I’d sometimes swim out into deep water, whip off my swim trunks, bob around for a little bit, and then put my shorts back on before heading back to shore. Silently I wanted nothing more than to wade out of the water naked and stroll along the beach in comfort, all the while working on my all-over George Hamilton-style tan.
Baby steps, I know, but it felt wonderful and it just made sense to me.
But it would take a few more pivotal experiences before I became a full-fledged, card-carrying nudist. And the impetus for this would come from a completely unexpected source.
About the author: Wayne Brake is a nudist writer and activist. You can check out his naturist-friendly blog ‘In Nature…Naturally’ right here: http://innaturenaturally.tumblr.com.