My Negative Body Image Issues Were Cured By Social Nudity
(This was submitted by one of our readers who would rather not mention his name – which we naturally respect)
Negative Body Image and Social Nudity:
Since I can remember I have been self-conscious about my body. I always felt like my body was too big, my portions were off, and my figure wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as it should be. When I was 15 I developed an eating disorder which only added fuel to the fire. The weight loss I achieved “thanks” to my eating disorder did nothing for helping my body image. I went from being ashamed of my body to downright hating it.These thoughts and feelings continued on through middle school and stayed with me during high school.
For most of my life due to my distorted and negative body image I have felt uncomfortable about being naked in front of others. Whether it was my closest friends, lovers, or even strangers, I felt like everyone judged my body the same way I did. Due to the fear of being judged and the hate I had for my body I would avoid any situation that involved showing a little bit of skin, let alone situations of social nudity.
As the years went on and I began to develop more intimate relationships, it became harder for me to keep up the illusion of normalcy when it came to social situations that involved any type of nudity.
One of the first experiences I had being nude in public happened when I was 21 years old. For my best friend’s 21st birthday, a group of mutual friends got together and planned a road trip to the east coast to mark the occasion. The plan was to party all night and then watch the sun rise on the beach. So after a night of drinking we all piled in a tour van at midnight and set out for the east coast.
I have fond memories of the countless hours spent together in the van sobering up, talking, laughing, and having fun. By the time we made it to the beach, it was completely empty, and we still had about an hour before the sun would rise. And that is when it happened!
All my friends began running to the water, and while they were doing so, they were taking off their clothes. And then, to my surprise, I started doing the same. I wouldn’t call what I was doing a result of peer pressure or trying to fit in. I was simply joining the in the fun that everyone was having. To my surprise I didn’t feel judged and I wasn’t ashamed. As I reached the water, the cool spray of the ocean on my bare skin made me feel more free than I ever thought possible.
I had spent years of holding so tight onto the negative feelings associated with naked body. These feeling affected so much of my life, and yet, here I was, completely naked for the whole world to see. Those insecurities and fears all seemed to vanish in an instant. Now that I am older, I can look back at this experience and understand the beauty of the freedom I allowed myself that day. I am forever changed by that split minute decision and to this day my self confidence and self-esteem has never been the same – in a great way!