There, it is said. None of this is real. I am simply dreaming this existence where I find myself unclothed in Mexico. I’ll have to blame it on a book I am reading by Daryl Sharp called Live Your Nonsense. After all, it’s really not at all sensible to be walking around, or laying around for that matter, in the nude.
Now that I find myself still naked in 2017, I am beginning to wonder if this portends more of the same for the New Year. If so, there will have to be something more interesting to do with that nakedness. But what? In two months time I will find myself back in a frigid northern setting that is considered to be North America’s equivalent to Siberia. I’m returning early as I will become a grandfather for the seventh time. Needless to say I’m excited about the new addition to the future of humankind. There is only one downside to that return … little place for nudity. I have no intention of freezing bare skin when the temperatures drop making even ice crack. That means it will become a waiting game for the arrival of summer. But until then, it’s best to stay in the present here in Mexico.
This afternoon I returned to the beach to find my usual sunbathing spot where no one would be offended by my nudity as they walk by along the shore. I am seen by some, ignored by most, and find a few who gawk and take second looks. A few decide to stop between me and the shoreline so they can stare out at the sea and remark on the diving pelicans. When that happens, it usually involves a couple. He rigidly makes sure that he doesn’t look as he doesn’t want her to know that he is interested in a sun-baked penis. She glances occasionally while talking up a storm to her beau. And so I turn over to let the sun toast my backside which then prompts them to continue on their journey. It was obvious to me that for a few moments they were also Living their nonsense.
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, at least not for the past four or five decades. However, this year I am deciding differently. I feel a need to put it in writing and to have others know in hopes that in doing so, what I resolve may actually come to be. It isn’t an easy thing to think carefully through one’s dreams, habits, instincts, and fears in order to arrive at resolutions that actually mean something.
For example, I had thought of making a resolution to travel. That soon showed itself to be a wasted effort as I already travel, and travel much more than the average person. I have already booked my registration to take part in the European Peace Walk [EPW] which will take me to six east European countries. I also thought that I should resolve to document my travels with photos and blog posts – again, that is my normal behaviour which thus makes the resolution a farce. So what could I do that honours the inner self that has been often ignored or passed over for the agendas of others? That is where I needed to begin my search.
I typically cave in when confronted with the claims for control by others. For example, I tend to accept the viewpoint of significant others when it comes to my being nude – when and where and how much – a habit of mine (knee-jerk reflex) that leaves me frustrated and angry, angry at myself for being so weak. This has to change. The holders of control want it changed so that they don’t have to take the blame anymore for my feelings. I want it changed so that I can have better respect for myself. Where will that take me? Good question. I don’t know. Only by doing what needs to be done will the answer emerge.
I have to plan my outer life better and thus make time for the things that I want to accomplish. There are rounds of visiting to children and grandchildren that will happen with return visits expected from them. There is the EPW to fit in. Scheduling book-signing events and attending them are also important to me. I also want time at at least one naturist campground. I can schedule that camping with a book-signing in a nearby city, but is a dedicated camping that I most want, not an add-on to fit into someone else’s life so that it isn’t inconvenienced.
More than anything else, I don’t want to be lurking at the edges. I want to be fully present in my life.
There, I guess that about sums it up for resolutions. I will check back here in a year’s time to see how it went. Just how badly do I want it? Will I find the courage to be true to myself regardless of the costs? We’ll see.
There’s Darkness in the Sunshine – Okay, so how does that work? I am hoping the image helps with the idea. Basically, we get caught up in the light, in the sunshine whenever it puts in an appearance, that we forget that there is a dark shadow hanging around just out of our attention. In the image, there is sunshine and warmth, plenty warm enough to go outside without the need for clothing. Yet, here I am, still inside, in the shadows.
I am back in a location I have spent the past four winters, the same artist’s studio just three short blocks from the Caribbean Sea on the Mayan Riviera; just a kilometre away from a naturist friendly beach by the Desires Pearl Resort. Ten days into this fifth year, it all seems to be changing on me. Yet, little has really changed. I am left to accept the fact that I am the one changing. But of course, that is only part of the story.
What has basically changed is the feeling of permission that I get from myself and my significant other. What lays behind this shifting of permissions is perhaps simply the fact that we are both getting older. I don’t want to disturb her, and she doesn’t want to disturb the world around us. We are both feeling vulnerable in our own unique ways. The slightest sound that might indicate that another person just might somehow look in and see me nude, has my wife on edge. Her on edge has me rush to cover up so that she can have a better sense of safety. Though our landlady has officially accepted my nudity and given her permission a number of times over the past years, the assumption that she has only done so under the duress of having to find someone else to live here. I hear about how our landlady is extremely uncomfortable with my nudity whenever she stumbles upon it on rare occasions. As a result, this safe container that is our private part of the property has ceased to be safe for either of us.
Adding to the dilemma is that the landlady wants to open a business in the front part of her house and use the studio as part of her own living quarters next year. We’ve been given notice that the place won’t be on the market next winter for us to rent. The business has already begun to operate following the landlady’s departure from her former place of employment. So, we have begun looking at alternatives for next winter and soon found two very good choices, two very different choices. I found one that we had both looked at for the past two years, a place we were familiar with as friends had stayed on the property. She found a different property. One has privacy spaces outdoors, the other doesn’t. As we debate the pros and cons of both places it appears that the higher cost for her choice doesn’t seem to matter as it is the “best” choice.
So why do I concede so quickly? The truth is that if she is uncomfortable, on edge, worried or any other descriptor that holds a negative weight, the chances of enjoying winters in Mexico becomes quickly reduced to a very low number. Choices. Choices have consequences. Do I settle for a choice that leaves me in the shadows, on the fringes of depression, or do I choose to lose even more?
The novel project with NaNoWriMo is done for this year. However, the novel isn’t completed. Now that I have written the story, I find that I need to go back to the first and second books in the series and make some changes. I already have book four in the series beginning to unfold in my head so I need to clean up the previous books so that they all truly fit together. It’s a good thing I haven’t published book two yet. Book one will have a different cover that better indicates the idea that it is a psychological fantasy book that uses naturism as a foundational fact of life and one’s humanity.
Nudity isn’t used for titillation, but simply as a state of being. Because of that, I’m not sure if one can say that the book fits into what I could best call a naturist genre if there is such a thing. Yet, because nudity is not presented in a deviant, offensive, or sexual, I wonder if the natural nudity in the book forces it into the genre of the naturist sub-culture.
Regardless, for now the writing is done and it is time for me to pack up my stuff to make the annual trip to Mexico where I hope to enjoy three months of sunshine and warmth resulting in storing ample Vitamin D without tan lines. It’s time to emerge from behind the keyboard and out of the shadows to be more fully present in outer life in the outer world.
The novel is approaching 40,000 words and is nearing the end of one major thread in the plot. Before today is over, I will be shifting the setting to a different European location leaving the Camino Portuguese behind as the trio of protagonists complete their pilgrimage to Santiago.
Due to the complications that arose during the pilgrimage, they must remain in Europe to resolve those problems before they return home to North America. And since I write as though guided by an inner voice, at times like this, I need to step outside the novel to make sure that the next steps are logical and fit with what has happened in the story.
It’s morning, not long after sunrise as I take this break from the novel while waiting for coffee to be ready, coffee I made earlier while it was still dark outside that now needs to be reheated in the microwave oven. I have been awake for almost five hours and will be working on the book for another eight hours before it will be time for me to again interact with other humans. We’ll see where the rest of today takes me in the novel.
This morning I made a trip to visit a brother-in-law who lives about three hours from my home. I left in morning darkness and soon found myself travelling through low-lying fog with the temperature hovering around minus three degrees Celsius. I was worried about frost build up on the windshield, but was fortunate that the fog was more interested in sticking to trees and bushes. Naturally, I slowed down as I drove north.
The drive takes me past two First Nations Reserves, Red Pheasant and Mosquito. I decided to stop along the highway at the cemetery for the reserves to get this photo as I wanted to get a full winter scene without having to worry about serious cold conditions. The fog slowed down passing traffic which gave me ample time for the photo while my car was parked on the edge of the highway. I was surprised at how warm I felt while not wearing clothing.
After a good visit with my brother-in-law, it was time to drive back home with a care package of wild meat which I will be making into sausage once we return home from Mexico in the spring. I was surprised at how once I came close to the First Nations reserves on the way home, the heavy fog was still in place. I drove about eighty kilometres through the fog which disappeared near the town of Biggar.
The sun was making brief appearances so I stopped at the local campgrounds to get a few more photos. It has been a good day. There are some things about being a Canadian and winter that are priceless.
I remember seeing this photo for the first time, many years ago. Their relationship defied what the adoring public wanted from their hero. The public wanted rebellion, anger, fantasy; the last thing they wanted was authenticity. Stripped bare, daring to expose their ordinariness, their flaws, their pain, and their love; the mystery of the iconic troubadour was exposed. In the end, that honesty cost John his life.
How dare we as individual humans step outside of irrational norms, or even very rational norms to tell the truth of ourselves. Our culture thrives on keeping the masks on, denying even when we are caught red-handed. We lie to the world about who we are, about our dreams and fantasies. We even lie to ourselves, denying our shadow, our darkness that hungers for what is denied, even if what is denied is beautiful.
We tell ourselves that it is important what others think. What would our children say about us or think about us if we were so honest, fully authentic, daring the exposure of our pain, joy, confusion, anger, and bodies? We irrationally belief that our children and grandchildren will be traumatised, not only by what they see, but also by the reactions of extended family, friends, community, and the larger world.
For those who dare to risk, bringing the edges of shadow into the light of consciousness with intention, life takes on a sharper and fuller quality. Taking the risk sets one apart from others who cling desperately to social norms. Yet, over time, the separation dissipates with familiarity. It is now almost normal to be homosexual in orientation, but only if it isn’t “in their face.” However, the sight of genitals still shocks. What is it about human sexuality that appears to traumatise?
Assault – sexual assault. Early life experiences taught us that our bodies, our sexual bodies are targets. It doesn’t matter that the abusers wore clothing or not. The touches, the groping, the claiming of authority over our sexual bodies by others scars us leaving us, and those who are aware of that abuse, in a state of fear.
Survivors of abuse, and the society around them, usually equate abuse with genitals. Predators prey on the bodies, the genitals of their victims. Predators hide their own bodies. The power that comes from hiding in the shadows, behind uniforms, suits, and respectable clothing allows predators to gain trust and access to their victims.
Being naked would visually expose the predators. excitement when near intended victims. That visual warning would eliminate trust and much of the access. We know that, but we are frozen in our fear.
I have used naturism to reclaim my authority over my body, to lessen the fear. And for those who know me and see me as I am, my nakedness does not inspire fear even though many of these people have been victims of sexual abuse as well. If anything, there is a sense of safety.
It is a strange day with heavy cloud cover yet with temperatures reaching almost 15 Celsius in the mid-afternoon. By the time I ready to BBQ, it had dropped to a still balmy 12 C. I have to take advantage of the warmth when it appears for it won’t be long before we have temperatures well below freezing – forecast for the next two weeks is bleak.
Taking advantage of the weather means hanging out the laundry to dry outdoors. When the weather is bad, the drying happens on lines I have strung in the basement. Of course, when there is a “rush” for dry clothes (almost never), there is a dryer in the utility room along with the washing machine.
When the clothes were finally off the clothesline, I noticed a late rosebud on the island of rosebushes. Then, sadly, it was time to head indoors. It gets dark early with sunset for today before six pm. It was gloomy dark grey before sunset. The evening will be spent au naturel inside, working on more preparation for my NaNoWriMo project for next month. The novel writing exercise begins in five days. And as in the last two books, Rene Beauchemin becomes the protagonist. I still have a lot of work to do if I am to be ready.
I will return with a continued exploration of the masculine and the feminine through art.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, of beauty, also known as Venus. This image painted by Henri-Pierre Picou in the 19th century is just one of many that depicts the goddess. She is soft, not hard and angular like a man. She is vulnerable, yet modest in spite of her naked vulnerability. She invites trust and blossoms with worship.
As the goddess of love, she excited passion in the hearts of gods and men, and by this power ruled over all the living creation. Now, any man who has found his personal goddess and taken her as his wife, knows all about being ruled by her.
She is a goddess, an archetypal presence that pulls us into her depths, the depths marked by the sea in which we never master. As we catch glimpses of her, we see her as we need to see her, as a blinding light of perfect beauty. And, perhaps sadly and dangerously, we only see that surface beauty. There is a depth to her that takes one into her dark depths, the place of both birth and death. Like all gods and goddesses, she has a dark and light aspect.
A sensual, playful nature pulls us into her embrace, entices us to “master” her. Yet, no sooner do we sense a feeling of dominion, we experience a death, a small death of ego and will. We are vulnerable and ripe for domination by this goddess. We shrink within her, become children to her. And she has the power that calls to us again and again to submit.
The goddess lies dormant in all women. Unconscious of their power as creators of the universe, they are as wounded as the men who covet them, desire them, risk all for them.