Maybe I should blame this post on the weather as it is a gloomy morning here on the Canadian prairies. Today’s post is different from my usual run-of-the-mill posts, more introspective and perhaps even critical. The weather certainly does have a tendency to have a person withdraw within where sunshine has the tendency to have a person leave the protective shell to engage with the outer world.
As some of you may know, I have a history with mental-health issues. However, I don’t want to get into those issues here other than to perhaps serve as a warning that a trigger or two may lay in the words to come. Rather, I want to focus on the present. As a person with a significant background in psychology, which includes teaching psychology and being a part-time mental health counsellor over a number of decades, you would think that by the age of seventy-plus I would have my shit together. Sadly, that’s not the case. Saying that, I have to add that I am mostly in a decent place, and that I am not at risk as was the case decades ago. Likely, there is no cure for a fractured psyche.
The Covid19 pandemic must also be figured into the mix. Like everyone else, life had been turned upside down because of Covid19. Unlike most people, the need to be socially distant has not been a hardship for me with the exception of not being able to see my grandchildren and adult children for too many months. I am an introvert. People overwhelm me at times. Even playing with my grandchildren and socialising with my children and their spouses wears me out leaving me exhausted at the end of each day.
So much for the background material. Now, it’s time to get into the main subject matter. Sky Clad Therapy? Is there really such a thing? In my personal circumstances, I can honestly answer “Yes!” However, I am a realist and know that for most people, the answer would be a resounding “No! No! No! Are you out of your freaking mind?” I know at an academic level that there is evidence that nudity does help some people deal with some of their mental-health issues. Maslow said as much and one of his followers, Paul Bindrim led a number of experimental group therapy efforts where nudity in a pool was a requirement. Other psychologists also tried to incorporate nudity as a tool to help the healing process. Aileen Goodson, author of Therapy, Nudity and Joy has gathered a significant number of other efforts to affirm that for some, nudity helps with the healing process. As a former mental-health practitioner I quickly learned that each client had unique needs regardless of the wounding they had suffered to bring them to counselling. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy model. So yes, Sky Clad Therapy is real.
On one of my trips to my home naturist campground, my significant other accompanied me. It didn’t take her long to note that it appeared that everyone at the site seemed to be wounded in some way, a fact that helped her understand what I had been telling her. She is not a nudist by any stretch of the imagination but is also not closed-minded. She knows first hand that nudity is a vital part of why I have been able to become a healthier person. Periodic attempts on my part to shelve nudity in an attempt to fit better into a normal textile world always end up in various stages of failure with her saying, “Take of your damned clothes.” Now, as many of my readers know, I push boundaries when I am nude, but that is a different issue for a different time.
Now, what about a psychological naturist? Why do I focus on the psychology of naturism? To be honest, Psychology had nothing to do with naturism for me back in the eighties and nineties when I was adding yet another degree to my CV. As an educator, I often found myself counselling some of my students. Most teachers find themselves cast into the role of untrained counsellors, so that wasn’t something strange. However, I didn’t want to just wing it based on intuition. Of course, nothing studied at the university or in follow up courses at training institutes or in other certificate programs had anything about naturism as a healing strategy. But, on consideration of our collective society, this wasn’t something too surprising. Even today, though many are now trying to normalise naturism, mainstream psychology keeps a healthy distant from its dubious past. So why do I combine psychology and naturism? Is it just about me and trying to justify who I am?
Good questions, but the most important question that is hounding me at present is “Why not just give up this whole nudity thing and make your life so much easier?” So why don’t I? Why don’t I just delete the nude photos in my archives and all my social media presence as a naturist? Why does this blog site even exist? What’s the point? I mean, it would make my partner’s life that much easier and that has to count for something. As well, it would remove some stress on my neighbours who have to put up with occasional sightings of the naked old man. They are lovely people but I am informed that it does cause them stress. If I could somehow morph into a different person who is content with wearing clothing and being more sociable, I would likely have a friend or two.
I don’t have friends in my face-to-face world. I don’t remember ever having friends that I could call real friends. I wasn’t even friends with myself. I am friendly and smile and speak gently with no put downs of others. I am a nice guy. It was my survival strategy as a child that has continued to the present. The “me” I keep hidden from others is still there, buried beneath whatever role or circumstance of life that presents itself. In the world of naturism, in a naturist venue, it gets easier for me. I often imagine that I might even have a friend if I only stayed in one place long enough. A week or less doesn’t cut it. In the world of social media, it is a different story – at least I think so. I have friends. Perhaps they are real friends, perhaps not. But friends or no friends isn’t the issue. The issue is whether or not I can, should, or could give up the world of naturism to live a more peaceful life.
My answer to this is a poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Is this the supreme act of selfishness when family, friends, neighbours, and my significant other need something different from me? Feel free to offer your answers.