Self-Doubts as a Naturist – It’s the Norm

The sun is out and it is freezing temperatures.

There was no way that I spent many minutes outdoors this morning while nude. Hopefully that changes this afternoon so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee in the sunshine. Until then, I have time to get down to my writing business, But in the meantime, I have a few thoughts that I want to share about some of the anxieties and issues faced by a naturist who has a spouse who isn’t a naturist.

This morning I had an opportunity to talk to another naturist who is a friend on Twitter. Like myself, this person is struggling with feelings of self-respect in terms of relationship. When a person is a naturist and his or her partner isn’t, there is a natural tension that creeps into the relationship. This isn’t anything new as all relationships struggle with differences between partners that may have nothing to do with nudity. For example, when a partner is a stay-at-home type when one is needing to interact with others and be active, there is tension. However, when it comes to one person being nude or needing nudity, there is an extra element that figures into the mix – a lack of support outside of the relationship.

Society as  whole, and our families, friends, and neighbours aren’t all that supportive of the idea of nudity, especially social nudity. So we struggle on our own with our situation. Self-doubt creeps in and we often deny ourselves of opportunities that present themselves to us. Perhaps if we just tried harder to keep our clothes on, it would get better and we wouldn’t need nudity at all? I’ve been there and tried that with no success. If anything, the feelings of self-betrayal when it comes crashing down – betrayal of self, and of partner, highlight our inability to disown the inner naturist that is clamouring to come out to be recognised and affirmed. We feel guilty about failing with our resolve to be “normal.”

Then, out of desperation to appease self and other, we become naturists only when alone, naturists in hiding in the house or in a private and secluded outdoor setting. For the most part, it is a lonely experience. But it isn’t enough to spend alone time nude. Something inside asks for more and more. We need to have others recognise and accept us as naturist, especially other naturists. So we turn to social media hoping that it will fill in the emptiness that needs filling.

For a while, we find what we are looking for in terms of connecting with others. However, it isn’t long before we realise that in the end, we are simply sitting alone somewhere with a computer, tablet or smart phone talking to others who are similarly alone. Social media is a head space experience, not a whole body experience. We still need the physical presence of others.

Turning back to our partners in our relationships, we try again to “fit in” or have them join us in experiencing naturism. By this time, both parties are well aware that the issue of nudity  is creeping into a front-and-centre position in the relationship. There needs to be resolution. Yet, when there is polarity differences, a win-win resolution becomes less-and-less hopeful. It isn’t because there is a lack of love in the relationship that plays a significant role in the tensions and strains on the relationship. Rather, it is love that makes the whole experience even more painful.

So, once again, the naturist typically retreats and attempts to disavow naturist tendencies in hopes of easing the hurt, the suffering for both the partner and the self.  But, the self can’t be denied. Secrecy and silence enter into the relationship – not a secrecy that could be characterised as cheating, for there isn’t an attempt to find a more compatible partner. It is more of an underground secrecy that is attempting to diffuse tension at the surface level of relationship. Of course, that is doomed to failure.

Then we retreat into an inner fantasy of wishful thinking, creating scenarios where we revel in all those experiences and gatherings we believe lie out there. Relationship becomes harder and harder to be in, especially in a manner that says  with honesty that “I am here, fully present, with free will, and full heart.”

Shaking our heads in disgust and disappointment with ourselves, we retreat from naturism over and over again in an endless cycle of attempts and failures to be like everyone else.

So what then?

Challenging Others With One’s Nudity

Holly in her hot tub as a reward for a day well spent.

It’s interesting how weather reflects what we do and when we do it. In the U.K. my friend Holly enjoys sunshine while here on the prairies in  Canada, we are under dark skies with very cool temperatures, occasional drizzle, and a breeze that makes it feel even colder.

Blustery day by the lake

Needless to say, I didn’t spend much time in the water. Yes, I did go in for a short while, but the water was definitely not warm.

The scene above with dark clouds, is reflective of how I am experiencing my life at the moment. I slip, periodically, into regions of darkness where the rules don’t seem to exist; that is, rules which keep one balanced and “civilised.” In this state of mind, I have been known to burn my journals, permanently delete photos (of myself only), and cause psychic mayhem. Knowing this, I am listening closely to what is bubbling within. Often, the shadow has something important to teach me. And in doing this, I came to realise that keeping a double life in terms of blog sites, was unhealthy for me, and likely something that caused distress to many who are in my face-to-face world.

As a result of this, I have deleted all but three posts at Through a Naturist Lens, since all of those posts and more are already posted here. These posts are less censored in terms of images, perhaps more honest because of that. I am leaving the other site in place because of my books which contain a link to that site. The posts remaining there explain why I am a naturist and that is about it.

I will continue to lead a double life in the world on this side of the computer screen, much like my friend Holly, because of family and community. Not many are truly comfortable in having to deal with a naked, older male. Now if I was a younger, female person such as Holly, I would hazard a guess that fewer would be challenged in seeing me nude.

There’s Darkness in the Sunshine

There's Darkness in the Sunshine

There’s Darkness in the Sunshine

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?