Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Category: musings

A Conflict of Worldviews

Okay, so today’s topic takes me back to a conversation I once had with a writer friend who has written more than 50 books, many of them being naturist fiction. While my wife and I sat with him somewhere in the Netherlands, we talked about the world accepting people being nude in general public settings. There was one conclusion that we all agreed upon – it wasn’t going to happen. He is a naturist, as are many, many other people I know who are pragmatic people. We can look at the world without tinted glasses and have little problem decoding the near global worldview that nudity is tolerated, if even that, in very limited places.

Now, people who embrace nudity aren’t exactly a homogenous group. Every political, economic, social, or religious group will find members who self-identify as nudists or naturists. And then there are others who make no such distinction and simply take moments in their lives to enjoy being clothing free. Yet somehow, there is an unreasoned expectation that the group should abide by some sort of belief and behaviour code. Zealots are loud in their attempt to herd the larger group into some sort of homogenous group where the enemy are people who embrace clothing and being clothed. The above image is quite clear that it is an “us versus them” dynamic. Well, that is an approach that will ensure that the freedom to be nude in the general public will never happen. Besides, in my opinion, it is more harmful than helpful.

My wife is one of those people who prefers to keep her clothing on. She actually likes her clothes and enjoys exploring new fashions, colours, and textures. I love my wife and don’t see what I would have to gain by “joining the fight against textilism.” She is comfortable with me slipping out of my clothing when time, place, and conditions allow [which is the majority of the time]. At times, she slips out of her clothing to join me in social situations where it is safe for her to do so. She is comfortable with her body. I have no desire to “control” her or abandon her for not mirroring the way I want to live.

As someone with a long history of providing mental health services, I have learned that those who try to control others, do so out of their own issues of self-identity. Anyone who is different is viewed with a lens coated with fear which morphs into anger. Those kind of people need people to provide affirmation. Those who disagree become enemies.

Most people don’t care one way or the other. They want to live their own lives, people such as my neighbours. They have seen me without clothing, usually when I am in my yard. They don’t make a big deal of it, nor do I go out of my way to have them notice me. When they come over for a meal or we go to their place, I wear clothing. For me, it is about respect. They are good people who don’t need or want to be nude or be overwhelmed with always seeing me nude. When we are together and I am wearing clothing, it is easier for them in terms of being comfortable to talk, to laugh, to share a meal, or an evening for wine and hors d’oeuvres. Both of us come out of this as winners. They know who I am and accept me for who I am and continue to be good neighbours and friends.

This might be the best scenario in a world that only sees things in black and white, as dualities. Nude or clothed with no in between. The only solution to this polarisation would be for a near-extinction event which wiped out most of humanity thus allowing for a reset. But even then, human nature will reassert itself and we will find ourselves as polarised as ever. My advice, try just being you. Forget about being a clone of someone else.

à la prochaine – until the next time

Passing Thoughts About Images

As I mentioned in my first post, I live in a northern, temperate climate. Since it is April, early April, there is no guarantee that there won’t be snow. We had snow last night and there is more such moisture happening for the rest of today. I don’t mind snow, at least in the right seasons. This morning, despite the snow, feels rather nice. Because the world had warmed up in my corner of the universe, it wasn’t so cold on my feet to check out the world contained in my backyard.

I left my footprints behind me as I wandered onto the back deck, just as I have left footprints on beaches by the water’s edge. And just like those footprints in the sand, my snow-edged footprints will disappear as though they were never there. I think my life is like that to an extent. In time, my presence will fade from memories, perhaps even from myself. What remains when presence has faded? In fifty years from now, I will be nothing but a foggy memory for a select few. A few photographs such as this one taken this morning, will tell only some of the story. The story seen in this image is non-sexual in content and intent. So what story will emerge in the years to come with images such as this one.

I use photographs for a variety of reasons. Currently I am creating a book for my youngest grandchild who will turn three years old later this spring. The book is a picture book that tells the story of his first three years of life, pictures that show the people in his life interacting with him. As he grows older, memories of his first three years of life will fade and perhaps disappear. That’s normal. It is rare for anyone to remember the first four years of life. This book will preserve those initial memories. Perhaps, the photos in this book will allow him to remember more of his early childhood.

As I said, I use photographs. I literally have tens of thousands of photographs going back decades. Most of these photos are of people, places, and events. A small number of them show nudity. Over the past ten years, the majority of these nude images are of myself. Other than rare sharing of selected images with select others, no one sees these images other than me. I keep a journal, a private journal where I place one or two such images as illustration of the day’s events. Now, I wonder about these images. What if they became public and everyone who knows me were to see them?

That’s a daunting thought. I mean there are my children and grandchildren to consider. There are siblings, cousins and other extended family members to think about as well. There are neighbours and community members with whom I interact with on a regular basis. What about those whom I don’t know but who could have an impact on my life should they see those images? I mean, should I destroy them and hope none that have been shared fall into the dustbin of time? What do I have to gain? What do I have to lose?

Many of the others whom I know through Twitter, believe that the photos, theirs and mine, will change the world to become more tolerant, more accepting of the unclothed body. They speak of #NormalisingNudity and #NormalisingNaturism [I use the Canadian version of these hashtags – it isn’t a spelling mistake]. To be honest, I just don’t see that happening in my lifetime. What I do see is that the world is drifting to a less liberal worldview, a more fundamentalist worldview where differences will be less tolerated. It’s just my opinion, and I don’t pretend to be an authority.

So, why do I even bother with images where I or others are dressed only with air, skyclad? Honestly, I am just being me. I won’t be changing the world, my community, or my family. I don’t want to control others. I also don’t want others to control me.

à la prochaine – until the next time

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