My Naturist Epiphany Part 2
Naturist Epiphany Part 2: Skinny Dipping Into Naturism?
Guest blog by: Wayne Brake
In My Naturist Epiphany Part 1, I talk about how I became interested in naturism and began to test the waters with family and friends. Continuing the timeline:
In 2009 I was talking to an outdoorsy-type guy at work and we got on the subject of canoeing to isolated spots in the province.
“So, um,” he began, tentatively, “When you, like, go for a hike or go canoeing and you wanna, y’know, go for a swim and there’s no one’s around…then, um…well, it’s okay to go skinny dipping, right?”
This question came totally out of the blue and completely took me by surprise. But I didn’t want to sound like my prudish Vancouverite friend so I measured my response carefully.
“Um, yeah, dude…totally,” I said. “I mean, why get your clothes wet, amirite?”
Apparently I’d passed some sort of litmus test because this guy proceeded to disclose (“disclothe”?) some confidential information that would change my life forever.
“So, have you ever hiked out to any of the lakes that are up around where you live? A lot of people go skinny dipping there.”
“No,” I replied. “Tell me more.”
He went on to talk at length about two picturesque lakes not five minute’s drive from where I live. On my next day off I strapped on my hikers, packed a lunch and set off to find these hallowed destinations.
The first one turned out to be a complete and total bust since it was rife with teenagers and broken glass. Next up I ventured to the eastern edge of the second lake. Even though it was a much nicer and more secluded spot, the only people hanging out there were textiles. My final stop of the day was the southern edge of the second lake and, man, was it worth the effort.
After hiking for about twenty minutes through a winding, challenging trail, I crested the top of a large rocky hill and then looked down into what I can only describe as paradise. At the base of the slope was a little flat-rock “beach” sheltered by a copse of trees. It’s here that I first met some real, live naturists and skinny dippers “in the flesh.”
Er, pun intended, by the way.
Finally I could chat with people that shared the same attitudes I had towards nudity. These people were friendly, happy, sociable and completely and totally oblivious to the fact that they weren’t wearing any clothes!
But even with this new-found solidarity it took me quite awhile to join them. Like everyone else in North America, I was still trying to work through a lifetime of “sex = nudity” association as well residual body image issues. I started off slowly; sequestered away in sheltered spots I’d remove my swim trunks while still immersed underwater. From there I graduated to solitary nude sunbathing.
But eventually I got acclimated to the idea. One evening two women showed up at the lake with their mom. Completely free, uninhibited and giddy, they whipped off their clothes and jumped in the water without hesitation. Right then and there I decided that if they could do it, I could do it. I dropped my shorts, jumped in too and I’ve never looked back since.
From that point on I’ve unlocked one clothes-free achievement after another. The following winter I discovered that there was a local naturist group that organizes indoor nude pool swims. This turned out to be another major revelation since every conceivable body type was on display there: young, old, fat, skinny…whatever. When you de-sexualize the nude form you quickly realize just how similar we all are. The body is merely a suit worn by our souls and, as corny as it sounds, every single one of them is uniquely beautiful in their own way.
The following summer I became a regular at both the lake and the local nude beach. I was hooked! If you haven’t jogged au naturel along a shore-line, hiked naked through a deserted trail, gone swimming without a pesky swimsuit or climbed a rock face sans clothing then you really owe it to yourself to try. We’re talking bucket-list territory, people!
And here’s the best part of it: I’ve met so many nice, friendly people through the lifestyle that I feel truly blessed. I just wish that I’d pushed myself to do it sooner.
Now I don’t want to give you the impression that this story has a super-zippy-happy ending. The winter months are a terribly depressing time for me. I have awful circulation so I’m usually clad in multiple layers from November to April. I’ll hang out nude in my apartment after a shower for as long as I can but eventually I get chilled to the marrow and I gotta cover up.
I have a super-supportive and understanding spouse who tolerates my naturist ways even though she doesn’t want to participate with me. Every year I hope against hope that she’ll have an epiphany like I did, but I may be forced to realize that, like most “normal” people, she may never see things from our liberated point of view. And this makes me supremely sad.
But with every inevitable spring comes the anticipation of some brand “nude” adventures. Last summer I joined a local skinny-dipping Meetup group. During one memorable event a mixed group of eleven men and women showed up for a communal clothing-free dip. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Sitting there in the warm sun, totally bereft of clothing, chatting with like-minded people, combing the lake-shore, surrounded by nature’s beauty and splashing around naked in the water, I realized that I’d been forever altered. The shy, skinny, self-conscious pre-teen within me had been banished, replaced with a younger, more innocent child purged of all fear or doubt.
The feeling was borderline euphoric and I can only hope that every one of my fellow human beings is privileged enough to experience the same unique joy and pride I’ve felt through naturism.
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.