Guest Post by Scott Miller
I’ve never been comfortable in my own skin. I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was embarrassed to be seen with my shirt off… let alone with my pants off. Or, at least, that used to be me.
Something changed about 5-years ago and now, well… now I’m a nudist. Still the same me. Still the same body. But these days I think nothing of hanging out with my husband, my friends, or even total strangers while nude. So, what changed?
A bit of background on me: I’m ~6-ft and weigh a sprightly 275-lbs on a good day. If you wish to flatter me, you might say I have a “football player’s build,” but I’ve always just thought of myself as a big guy. I’m pretty darn hairy (yes, back included). I have stretch marks. It is what it is.
Oh, and I’ve finally crested my 40’s and I hate those strategically placed surveillance cameras at 7-11 that seem to focus in on the shiniest, baldest spot of the back of my head. Translation: Playgirl is not going to be calling me to be their next centerfold.
I remember back to a summer in Wisconsin, maybe 8 years ago, when I was camping with my boyfriend and we were the only two people at a secluded campsite. Nobody was around, just him and me, so we decided we’d strip down and get some sun on our cheeks. We made a campfire, roasted some weenies, tossed the frisbee around and tried out naked time.
It was all going well until I had to bend down and pick up a missed frisbee. He cat-called me as I was bent over, letting me know he appreciated my backside as I reached for the errant disc. And what did I do? I YELLED AT HIM. I got so upset that he checked me out when I was in such a vulnerable position. I mean how dare he, right?
This man had seen me naked before. We’d had sex. We were close. But I was not comfortable with my body and I couldn’t take the good-hearted compliment he intended. In my head he was making fun of me. How could someone possibly enjoy the sight of my bare, pasty-white ass? That’s how self-conscious I was.
But now I love being nude. It’s comfortable, it’s freeing, it’s liberating, and it’s healthy. And all the credit for flipping the mental switch goes to my high school buddy Anna who casually mentioned that she went to a hot spring while visiting Colorado. It was a *whisper* clothing optional */whisper* hot springs at that. My partner and I got to talking about it, and our interest was piqued. Let’s check this thing out!
We scoped out the options in Colorado, and there are way more than one might expect. Dakota Hot Springs, Orvis, Strawberry Hot Springs, Idaho Springs… just to name a few. We ended up picking a place down near Salida where we could spend an extended weekend camping, soaking, hiking and just seeing what this whole “clothing optional thing” was all about. It was an experience that changed my life for the better.
After checking in, I was a bit appalled to see people just walking around the park wearing nothing but a hat and hiking shoes. They had dark, leathery, tanned bodies. These were true nudists - folks without a fuck to give about who was watching.
There were families – men, women, and children frolicking and drinking in the summer sun. There were couples, singles, and then there was us: two unsure homosexuals wondering if we were going to accidentally “pitch a tent” and get ourselves kicked out before we even set up camp.
We started slowly - losing our shirts while we fiddled with tent poles, air mattresses and coolers. For me, even this was still a huge hurdle – I was the guy who still wore an Under Armour shirt when venturing into a water park after all. Baby steps, though. This was allowed. It was encouraged. I could do this.
Once we were set up for the night, it was time to check out the springs. I actually undressed inside of our tent and put on my robe before making the trek to the first pond. (Sidebar: even today - as a weathered nudist – there’s something about undressing in front of people as opposed to just being socially naked. Images of strip teases and dollar bills tucked in G-strings still creep into my head. But I digress… back to camping!)
Once we got to the pool, I had to muster up the courage to drop the robe and make the harrowing 2-ft journey from the exposed water’s edge to the submerged, simmering, safety of the springs. Oh, and there’s moss everywhere and That. Shit. Is. Slippery. I’m sure my initial plunge was about as graceful as a walrus doing an arabesque. At least, that’s what it was from my perspective.
Suddenly there I was – nude in a public space and surrounded by a handful of strangers. They didn’t point. They didn’t laugh. Heck, I’m not even sure they looked. This huge step for me was nothing more than a yawn for those already in the pool.
Time passed, and I began to relax and enjoy the experience. The birds were chirping, the sun was setting, and the warm water began to wash away 35 years of pent up self-esteem issues. I slowly came to realize that this wasn’t a big deal.
As I became more and more comfortable, I let myself enjoy the random bubbles as they playfully danced across my bare skin on their way to the surface. If I had known baptisms could be so much fun, I would’ve converted years ago!
People came and went. I soaked, I chatted with strangers, I stayed hydrated, and I evolved. By the time the sun started to set I was much more confident as I climbed out of the springs and in the twilight. Sure, I still quickly bundled back up in the robe, but something had changed. A seed was planted, and it just needed to be watered to make it grow.
The next day I was a bit bolder. I still wore the robe, but not tied tightly across my waist. Then it was draped over my shoulder as I went from pond to pond. Then it was stuffed in my backpack. And then it was just… left behind… in a neat little pile in the tent next to my insecurities, my hang-ups and my self-depreciation.
Who needs all that in the summer, right? Not this guy! We even ended up taking a 4-mile round-trip hike completely nude. It was so liberating. I was now the careless nudist that the newly arriving campers aspired to be.
A few weeks after that trip, my partner and I got to talking about the experience. He suggested we investigate other nude events and I LOVED the idea. I didn’t acquiesce, I didn’t resist… I steered into the skid and got to looking for options. We found a nudist group on Meetup, applied and the rest, as they say, is history.
Perhaps that oversimplifies my journey, as I didn’t go from being swaddled in a burqa one day to running around in my birthday suit the next. We started with smaller events – just a handful of people – to see what nudism felt like in a social situation. It’s led me on a wonderful journey. Now I host events with dozens of attendees.
Clothes are a barrier we hide behind. Being a snappy dresser can make up for an imperfect body. Funny T-shirts can draw attention to your wit as opposed to those flaws you’re trying to hide. And then there’s our cell phones… another barrier to social interaction that, when nude, you simply cannot rely upon.
At nude events, cell phones get left behind with clothing most of the time. Why? 1) Photos are pretty much frowned upon; and 2) No pockets! (unless you count your “prison purse” – but who really wants to keep their cell phone in a plastic bag?)
All that’s left is you. Nothing to distract, nothing to deflect, nothing to defend. Conversation is easier when nude, because you make intense eye contact. Sure, you’ll find some time to check out and be checked out, but when it comes to one-on-one interactions, they’re incredibly real. You’re vulnerable. He’s vulnerable. What a great time to open up and share! What a great time to listen and learn! It’s beautiful. It’s nudism. And it’s great.
My self confidence and self esteem have skyrocketed in recent years as I’ve embraced nudism. I’ve never been so happy with who I am as a person. I’ve never been so proud. And yet, I feel I’ve been humbled too. It’s all about the journey.
So, if you’re worried about getting your feet wet: stop. Stop worrying. You’ll psyche yourself out. Make the plunge. Take that first step and come on in… the water’s fine!
Published by The Bare InkSlinger, Courtesy of Scott Miller.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Miller, All rights reserved.