I used this same image for a different post at Naturist Lens, with a difference. I cropped it so that it would be more “acceptable.” I took the photo early in the morning before I did anything else other than check out the weather out-of-doors. What was that all about, the self-censorship? Or, perhaps an even more important question, “Why on earth did I take the photo knowing the state of my “member?”
Before I delve deeper into the questions, I want to note that I have quite a number of “friends” who take self-images, some of them selfies while other images are more composed using timers and such. With very few exceptions, everyone has a number of “those” images which straddle or cross the line of what “others” would deem as being “appropriate” nude images, especially in the naturist communities. Even a number of those who protest an image such as mine which has an awakened sexuality to it, have similar images of themselves – and counted among my friends-with-nude-photos, are both men and women.
I have experienced, especially in the case of men, a chorus of voices who want such images purged from the Internet, citing how such images negatively impact the core values of naturism. The naturist community wants to desperately accepted by the broader community and will censor its members [pun intended] to ensure that the larger public will be appeased. In the case of women, I have witnessed more than a few being censored for displaying too much. The community slips into shaming these women. Now, in the naturist communities, the resulting behaviour has many women wearing sarongs so as to appease those who demand that we are naked, while at the same time, protecting our image as non-sexual nudists. I know, it is ludicrous.
I am not a threat to others. If anything, in spite of what the image just above would have you believe, I am judged a kind and sensitive man. During the years I was an administrator, I was judged too soft to be a leader. Yet the people I led respected me and felt safe under my leadership. Still, the image says something about me. Why am I defiant, potentially even angry in the photo? There was no one else anywhere near other than passing autos just out of view. As a psychotherapist, I had to pay attention to the image, my image. Just like I listen to my dreams [and those of others when I am at work as a therapist], I knew that something about my inner psyche was being exposed.
Having the fortunate experience of meeting like-mined people in cyberspace, the world of social media, I am learning that women are experiencing much the same thing. When we look at ourselves through our images, we discover things we never knew about ourselves, even if the images are tourist selfies in front of monuments and waterfalls. We become more conscious of who we are. Armed with that knowledge, we aren’t passive victims of the inner darkness within each of us. It was a good thing that I didn’t censor either image as they show me aspects of me that would otherwise remain unknown. Yet, when it comes to publishing blog posts here on the Internet, we either self-censor our images or have others who have the authority censor them in spite of our conscious [or unconscious] intentions.
The truth is, it really isn’t the broader community or the naturist community that plays the largest role of censoring our images, or how we live even if only a few hours a day, as nudists and naturists. The loudest voice that attempts to shame us, to contain us … well, it is ourselves. We allow the voices of parents and teachers and community to take up residence in our heads and we then amplify their voices. We only do this when we are uncertain about trusting ourselves. You know, the old “Father Knows Best!” kind of dictum. Sometimes we amplify the voices of our mates who are not naturists or nudists. “Thy will, not mine,” prevails.
Yet, in spite of all of these competing voices, but within and without, we take the photos or have them taken of us, for us. It is within these images that we begin to see below the level of “noise” and thus find the self that lies hidden, a more authentic self that is sensitive, honest, frightened, angry, loving, an artist, a warrior, and even nobility. It is all there in the photographs before the censor puts in an appearance, especially the ones we don’t dare show to the “public.”
We see this captured in the face of the images taken. What do the eyes tell us of that moment when we risked all, when the censor within is silenced, if only for a few moments while the shutter clicks capturing the truth?