2020 has been a year where we’ve learned a lot about the people around us. From a political standpoint, we’ve become even mode divided, as we’ve discovered how different our beliefs are, and long-term friendships have ended. People have been almost proud to brag about their disdain for others. For the longest time, I was afraid to let people know something about me, crippled by the fear of what they’d think of me or say to me. I don’t feel that way anymore, as it’s something I will never be ashamed or embarrassed about going forward. Now in hindsight, I see how this has changed my life for the better for the past 25 years. I’m very proud to say that I’m a nudist.
I’ve received every type of reaction you can imagine about this, from complete acceptance to downright disdain, from laughter to people saying that this could ruin my professional career. In my 30’s, I only told my closest friends. In my 40’s, I began to feel more comfortable with people knowing, but not everyone knowing. I’m 51 years old now….and if anyone has a problem with this, guess what? It’s not my fucking problem. They need to deal with their own issues instead of judging mine.
I grew up with a very image-conscious father. Everything from my grades to my musical abilities was always harshly criticized. I was also teased constantly about my weight and my skinny calves (genetic – I can do calf exercises 24/7, and they won’t get bigger), and I had very low self esteem, which I kept well-hidden behind a facade of arrogance. Even through college and until I moved to Pennsylvania, I always felt ugly from the inside out, and it was because of years of feeling like I didn’t measure up to the people around me.
That changed during the summer of 1995…I had a friend who introduced me to the world of nudism, and I realized that it is a culture of acceptance. Nobody cares about anybody else’s perceived flaws. I’ve met people from all walks of life over the past 25 years, and this has truly helped me to not only become more open-minded and accepting of others, but also empathetic towards those who are very closed-minded, self-righteous, bigoted and judgmental of others.
There’s a perception that all nudists must look like Tom Brady and Gisele….not at all! People of all body types are nudists, and as of June 2020, there are 213,000 members (myself included) in the American Association of Nudist Recreation (www.aanr.com), and that’s just one of many nudist organizations. For those who may have an issue because of religious reasons, there are also Christian nudist organizations and campsites. I love that over the past 25 years, I’ve had the opportunity to go to AANR-affiliated clubs in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Arizona and California, plus Gunnison Beach in New Jersey and Haulover Beach in Miami. I’ve actually networked with musicians at the clubs, and gotten gigs as well!
To help put this in a very proper perspective – as a nudist, at the clubs I’ve met a number of wounded veterans missing limbs from combat, and one of my nudist friends recently had a double mastectomy. She loves to joke that she doesn’t have to say “Eyes up here!” to everyone anymore, but it’s because nobody treats her differently, and she can truly be herself. And so there’s no misconception, my wife is not a nudist, but she has been nothing but supportive of my nudism for the past 10 years, even getting my the annual AANR guide as a gift!
I’m sure that as some people read this, their perception of me may change….that’s fine. I have nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of. I’m glad that I’m happy and comfortable in my own skin.
Going forward, I’ll just continue to turn the other cheek. 😉☀️❤️☮️👍