Naked Thoughts On Identity

Writing on my deck on a cool and cloudy morning.

Writing on my deck on a cool and cloudy morning.

It’s a cold one this morning with the temperature sitting at eight degrees Celsius (that’s 46 F.) and the sky covered with pasty looking clouds that seem to be undecided about breaking up or building up. The forecast was for sunny skies and warm temperatures. Needles to say it makes me feel a bit cranky and disappointed. Regardless of the weather, it is a good time to ruminate on identity. And, as you can see, write outside. Canadians are tough when it comes to dealing with cold weather.

As far as i am concerned, my identity is probably quite clear in terms of who people think I am. Yes, I am a naturist as the photos and the majority of the content of this blog site frequently show. And yes, I have had a career as a psychotherapist (among other paid activities) and an educator. From time to time, the Buddhist thoughts which have become part of who I am have also been on display, sometimes through images and other times through content. Not so well know is the fact that I am a parent of three adult children with a son and two daughters who are now married with children of their own. Of course the role of grandparent has helped fill out my identity though not as much as it could have been since I only have grandsons – no granddaughters. I am a writer (obviously) and a photographer (equally as obvious), skills which have made me comfortable with writing here on my blog site. I guess that you might say that I am stating the obvious, things that don’t really need saying about identity. After all, we all have roles in life from which we build our identities.

Yet, I am, as you are, so much more than these roles. There are intangibles that have as much, if not more, in carving out who we are in comparison to every other human being. We are all unique though we usually believe that truth. As individuals in collectives, we lose our identity to the community. We believe what we are required to believe as members of our communities whether those communities are small such as skateboarders or nudists, or large such as church communities and corporate communities. The collective unconscious is a very powerful force that takes people to places and ways of being that don’t necessarily fit with an individual’s sense of self. As individuals we know how powerful groups are – political groups, activity groups, religious groups, etc.

Still, there is yet something more vast that shapes us unknown to us, and completely beyond our control as thinking and doing human beings. We sometimes get hints of these things through our dreams, and through our unconscious responses to life, events, and others. What we think of as our identity, our sense and belief of who we are, is all provisional. If anything, we could say that we invent our identities in order to have some sort of tenuous foothold on life. For, when we look deep within and without, we get an almost horrifying glimpse of an unending cosmos, a formless chaos of shadows and light where there is no real separations; no I, no thou.

About A Naturist's Lens

I am a therapist that focuses on the use of active imagination, photograph, dreamwork and Jungian Psychology in order to uncover the whole person hidden beneath layers of personae, complexes and clothing.

Posted on August 10, 2014, in Jungian Psychology. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I used to also think that my identity was defined by the roles I played in life, until every last one of those roles was stripped away from me. About this time last year, I went through a very difficult identity-crisis, because my last role, being a husband, was stripped away by my wife leaving me and going to live with another man. I had moved to an unfamiliar area, left the volunteer fire department where I had been the Safety Officer, and the very reason I had moved in the first place, to get married, disappeared. I was left with nothing, and I really didn’t know who I was, or if there was any real reason to go on living. I had to find the real Steve…

    I was raised in an environment where I was never quite “good enough”. My achievements were barely acknowledged, but my failures were punished. As a result, I grew up with a strong sense of “WHAT” I was, but little sense of WHO I was.

    Finding the real Steve was a long, difficult, and often emotional journey, but I am glad I made that trek. I am a nudist, but that is my lifestyle, not who I am. I am a writer and blogger, but that is merely one of my pass-times. I am disabled and retired, but that doesn’t define me. WHO I am begins with being a human – a being, a person handcrafted by God in His own image. I am a man – male, which is not only revealed by my male sexual-equipment, but it is also engraved into every cell in my body. Being created in God’s image gives me immense dignity and worth, whether I am clothed in textile finery, or as I am now – buck-naked. My “modesty” is also not dependent on whether I am clothed or naked. The final piece of the “WHO-puzzle” fell into place because I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, and an adopted son of the Most-High God, who paid an enormous price to be able to adopt me as His son.

    What I discovered on this trek from being a “What” to being WHO I am, is that I lost what wasn’t ever permanent in the first place – what could be, and often was taken away, but I gained my WHO, which can NEVER be taken away. Now I know WHO Steve is, and I am pretty fond of him – me.

  2. We see so many people struggle with being who and what they perceive themselves to be, or trying to be who they think they should be. Understand that we are men of a certain age, our seeds sown and our offspring raised. Our professional lives too have fallen away, or maybe we just stepped out of them, We’re not what we used to be, not physically, nor spiritually and not socially. I think that at our age we no longer struggle as much with who/what we are because those around us expect so much less from us. It is rather freeing. Nudity has really opened my life up so much for me. I have never felt so much freedom before in the sense of who I am.

    I do not see my identity as being anything at all concrete, it changes at a whim, the conventions of the past are simply swept aside. Maybe now I am ever searching even more for my identity, for who I am, but even as I write this, my ideas change and the path I was on evaporates. I have give up my rigid identity of the past for the excitement of the search.

  3. I see myself as more “whole”, more “complete” than I have been in many years. I used to be a very miserable single, who needed a wife to “complete” me, but I don’t NEED a wife anymore. I would like to have a wife for love, companionship and the other benefits, but I can live as a contented single, and if a wife comes along, she would be the icing on the cake.

  1. Pingback: A NUDIE DIGEST – August 11, 2014 | Nomadic Nudist

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