Well after about thirty minutes of playing with a water hose in an attempt to stay cool we turned the stable yard and ourselves in it into a complete mud pit. We then made the austere observation that if mom went nuclear about dirty feet and hands in her kitchen this was going to cause a some kind of a hemorrhage somewhere. This was not something we wished to see so we had to come up with a plan. Now let it be known to all reading this that the following idea was not my own but my older cousin’s CJ’s idea. I’m already sure you have it figured out by the title of the piece so yes, CJ talked us all into going down to the swimming hole, strip ourselves down to nothing but a smile, wash ourselves and our clothes and leave them out on the bushes to dry while we soaked up the sun and stayed cool in the water. Now you may think of all of the innocence of young children here and for the most part we were a collection of pre-teens between eight and fourteen. I was thirteen and budding out nicely and many years later CJ told me the idea that day was formed up by him and some of the other boys in our troupe to see me naked, being the oldest girl there. Innocence my ass!
I learned two very important lessons that day. One that my cousin CJ was a typical hormone driven guy who would over the next four to five years try anything he could to get me naked. The other was that I found that not only did I not have issue with exposing myself in a public place but that I found an incredible awakening in myself. My personal illumination was not sexual in nature. Quite the contrary I found a new kinship with nature that was to say for me, an incredibly exhilarating experience. Of course, the thrill of being naked in public also brought on an allure that was also hard to pass up. I was being naughty and my anti-establishment teen years was just beginning. I vowed that day that any time I found myself in that swimming hole I would enter that clear chilly water with nothing between me and the refreshingly hard shock of coldness that it always promised me.
As I continued to grow up my fondness for showing more of myself became a local curiosity. While the local southern culture prevented me from just baring it all in a moment’s notice I always had friends visit at our little swimming hole and regardless of who I was with I would warn them that while I have no issue with what they wore they were not allowed to have issue with what I didn’t wear. This of course did cause some consternation with my parents, the local clergy and pretty much any fella who considered my nakedness to be only seen by their much privileged eyes. In all three cases I rejected their logic in me covering myself up when I visited “my naked place”.
Today, over twenty years later, I am now the mom in the very same home that I grew up in. And every few days each week during the deep sultry summers we get in North Carolina I visit that very same swimming hole. Yes, every year it changes a bit. The sand bar there gets a bit bigger or a bit smaller. Parts of trees deposit themselves there after the last flood and then leave with the next major thunderstorm, but the hole is there today and I visit it regularly, and privately as I did that day when I was thirteen; and still, naked as a jay bird.
So is that it? Do I love to bare myself for all to see because of the attention I get? Is it because I get the whole hippy with nature thing? Or is it because I’m just a horny bitch and need to constantly get laid and getting naked is a great advertisement for that? In all cases the answer is no, though I wouldn’t mind the advertising to entice more “snuggling” to come along more often. After many years of self-reflection I’ve come to the following conclusion. I don’t have issue getting naked in public because I really don’t give a damn about being shy. By being able to express myself in my own fashion, whether I’m fully nude, in a full black latex bodysuit with ballet boots, a spring dress with white heels, a glamorous evening gown with an open plunging back or in a t-shirt and jeans I feel what I wear or don’t wear is my own business. That being said I am also aware that I don’t live in an opaque bubble and need to be considerate of others around me.
Now before you hit the delete button give me a moment to explain why I’m writing this article. Too many times each day I see so many people around me try to “fit in”. While I don’t have issue with fitting in I don’t believe that people should try to be somebody they are not. This became intuitively obvious when I realized that seeing that football quarterback in high school made me a bit weak between my knees but his hottie prom queen girlfriend did it to me too. I learned from my family history with a propensity to acquire cancer (thank you Camel unfiltered cigarettes for that) that life is too short and that we need to live like today is our last day. Now I don’t mean do the whole Groundhog Day thing like Bill Murray did but instead when the time is right and you’re in the right company, let your hair down and express yourself! Open up and let people see the real you. They are going to judge you regardless so let them judge the person you are, and not the person you wish you could be.
This leads me to my question in the article; why aren’t you naked too? While I understand in our real lives many of us are embarrassed to show everything about ourselves, I don’t agree with “modesty” if you are with friends. Though it’s perfectly understandable that many do. I was raised to be a good little Christian girl and god did not intend us to show off our bodies. This I was told constantly as I learned more about myself. Not to turn this into a discussion of Christianity or religion in general but let’s just say I reject that. Whether you believe in evolution or creationism there is one truth. Our bodies were perfectly designed for our home here on earth and should be regarded with the awe and respect they deserve regardless of how you think we got here. Yes I do believe our bodies are our own little temples and we should be proud that they are. But there’s more to it than that. Most people that know me tend to agree that my personality is “outward”. Some may even say outrageous. My grandmother's personality was what my mother called a “free personality”. She pretty much did as she pleased but was courteous about how she presented herself around others. When I was struggling with my bi-sexual tendencies trying to figure out “what was wrong with me” she sat me down and told me to find myself. "Find that place that makes you happy in my life, grab it and don’t let go until the lord takes your last breath away", she told me.
I took that to heart and live with those words today. In my coming out about my sexuality (not many people seemed surprised by it, go figure) I also realized that a great burden was lifted off of me. Not only did I feel better about myself but I felt more inclined to be whom I was and to do the things that made me feel good about myself. Being naked, while swimming, sunbathing, sleeping, or even riding my horse (I don't recommend you do that often, if ever) gave me an inner confidence about myself. And that is the point of my question. Overcoming “the embarrassment” of being naked publically taught me confidence about who I was and how I should interact with others. Having that confidence gave me other opportunities in life when it comes to social interaction. While I’m not publically displaying my nudity in any moment’s notice the knowledge that I could do so, and do so with my head held high and my eye’s saying “Yes world, this is me in all of my glory. You can love it or hate it, but you'll never keep me from expressing it” tells me that if I have confidence for public nudity, and then for coming out about my sexuality then why not be confident in everything I do? My inner spark was ignited.
Second Life has taught me a lot about other cultures. And anybody that knows me knows that Sedona will on a whim or at any time bare it all without remorse or concern. This is my personally being personified though her. But why do I do it? Why would I even care if my cartoon avatar gets naked in public? Nobody in Second Life could ever admit that while I was naked I asked or looked for sex. I don’t because I feel being naked is a not much of a sexual turn on for me. Ask me about latex or binding-wear like corsets sometime and how I feel about them. I press the issue in Second Life because I’m am so surprised how many others I meet are still having hang-ups about their own cartoon avatars being naked too! I’m sure there are many reasons, some having to do with men having female avies not wanting to “advertise sex” when other men are around (I see naked women at lesbian SL sites all of the time, can you guess why?). But other times I wonder if there is a lack of real life confidence by the man or woman holding the strings. That the aversion to public nudity in his or her real life culture is being carried over to Second Life. If so, then I hope by being an example that lighting doesn’t strike when Sedona is naked will show that it won’t strike them too if they do the same.
I’m not looking to make people naturalists in their real lives. Getting naked in public isn’t for everyone I agree. But there must be those who say “I’m too shy” who want to take that step and wish they could, but lack the confidence to just do it because of what may said about them in hushed behind their back tones. I feel that if I can show somebody that there is enough confidence in them to at least take the clothes off of their cartoon in Second Life that maybe, just maybe it will spark more general confidence in their real life too. Maybe it will help them ask for that raise, or to speak up in the conference room. Or maybe someday realize they are their own person and they need to take control of their own life.
I know some of this is far reaching but I believe showing self-confidence is contagious. In Second Life just as in our real lives we are always looking for that muse, that mentor or guide to help us along down our own paths. I don’t believe I am any of those. We are our own guide and all of us must find our own path through life. My hope is that my path can be used as an inspiration to others to find the confidence to listen to their guide and find their path too. Will showing my confidence to embrace my sexuality and my proclivity for public display do that? I don’t know. But I know you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time and it all starts with that first bite. Maybe that works in confidence building too. So if you feel inclined and the situation is right to bare it all, be bold and be brave and just do it! At least in Second Life you can do so knowing that you have full control around what “it” will look like. So why aren’t you naked already?