I’ll admit I was a strange child, and that’s putting it lightly.
When I was at the age where my stomach curved out — further out than my boobs — I lived in crop tops. I was all for embracing the showing of skin no matter the occasion. However, if a family member said “penis,” I would cover my ears shrieking while having a meltdown. My body was just a body — anything to do with sexuality was totally separate. Nakedness was not a big thing in my family. It was neither embraced or shamed. If I ever accidentally saw a family member nude, I have surely blocked it out…although there was one traumatic incident when my sister and I shared a room at a cottage and were victims of a moon landing (look it up on Urban Dictionary, I can’t go back to that dark time). Safe to say, that was traumatic enough and was the extent of my childhood in terms of that whole nudity business.
As I aged, I wasn’t immune from all the size-shaming, slut-shaming, and body-shaming that has become a main fixture in society today. Right as I ventured into high school, I developed a low self-esteem and an eating disorder. I spiraled down the rabbit hole with dramatic flair along with most of my female peers.
Looking back, I don’t think it never occurred to us to feel differently about our bodies or that we even had any sense of control over it. Loving your body just wasn’t the norm and surely would have gotten you labeled as vain and conceited. It has only been in my early 20s that I saw this as a problem I could fix. Through the whole process of recovery, I learned how to heal myself in a multitude of weird and whacky ways. I was obsessed with reaching a place of complete self-love and my pursuit involved some interesting methods. My favorite to date I must say has been embracing my inner nudist. NOPE not Buddhist. Nudist.
A few years ago, I was only nude when I needed to be. You know, as in showers, changing, and sex. It felt weird to me be in my nude-y pants if it had no purpose. I started out big on my pursuit of self-love because hi, hello, I am a Leo and everything I do has to be grandiose.
I had the opportunity to go to a secluded cabin with a hot tub surrounded by woods and next to no fellow campers. My friends, for better or worse, were not onboard with my exhibitionist plans and so I went alone to the hot tub after dark. My only companion was a fabulous glass (okay, it was a bottle) of wine. Skinny-dipping is (not) literally the shit and I highly recommend it.
That night between the wine and the hot tub and the call of the wild, I decided to take my journey into being a free naked bird a step further and run fully in the buff through the woods. Yes, I did howl and yes, I may have fallen and gotten lost, BUT it was the most unencumbered, freeing experience in my life at that point. I was so fixated on the experience, I forgot about my actual physical body and any perceived faults I believed it had. I was even able to laugh at the odd dance my wobbly bits were doing as I ran. Only a year earlier this would have reduced me to tears. That weekend was my leap of faith forward into accepting my own body.
If you’re not all for the flooding technique, there are certainly less dramatic ways to pursue your inner nudist. One of my favorites is to take a birthday-suit-inspired date night: Just you, yourself and possibly Netflix. Light some candles, indulge in your favorite finger foods and flounce around your home in the buff. Dance parties to Taylor Swift should be mandatory in my humble opinion.
Normalizing your body being nude is the key. It doesn’t need to be this big sexual, sexy, sensual experience; it’s just you at your core without any of the embellishments. I’m not above putting on jewelry and having some flowers in my hair so I can channel my inner Aphrodite, but as I said I have a flair for the dramatic. Allow your body to feel good. Why not lather it in girly lotions and perfumes or give yourself a foot rub. Focus on finding whatever feels good and puts you at ease.
Embracing yourself fully is an act of self-love. Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to love every cellulite dimple or white head you get. It’s simply about not letting these things tarnish the love and respect you have for yourself as a whole.
When I’m feeling like getting two birds stoned at once, I love doing yoga nude. Trust me when I say you will never see your body more intimately than when you’re in downward dog. I have seen parts of my body I didn’t know I had and at times I’m sure my expression resembles a deer in headlights when I discover new foreign territory. I can get caught up analyzing and critiquing but the practice is all about coming back to a place of love. It’s much more about what your body does for you than how it looks. Embrace the bulges, the toned and the wobbly bits. Everybody has areas you’re going to love more than others and FLAUNT THAT SHIT, I say. The more comfortable you can be with yourself, no façade and no safety net, the more you’ll see how infinite your power is as a woman.
It was said that Aphrodite was so confident and loved herself so deeply that wild beasts would purr like kittens when she walked by. Having a confident, self-assured, all powerful goddess inside of you is a birthright and lo and behold it’s discovery all begins by finding your inner nudist.