We are seeing a late spring here in Virginia, with erratic weather that makes me long for spring. But now, before the good weather takes hold and plants begin to grow, is a good time to deal with weeding my flower beds. They are really in a horrible state since I’ve been away so much, so it will be a lengthy job. Many of my gardening friends assure me that this task is conducive to philosophical thoughts, so I thought I would try to take the tedium out of the task by focusing on higher, more inspiring musings.
I started with the nature of weeds. How it is that they always grow up parasitically in the soil you have carefully prepared with fertilizer, compost, and mulch. How amazing it is that they grow faster than ‘intentional’ plants like flowers, herbs, and vegetables. How frustrating it is that their roots seem to always be deeper than you can reach with a quick jerk of the wrist.
This led me to thinking about criticism as a weed. People are criticized every day for their race, their religion, their skin color, political beliefs, sexual preference. Most of us stand up to such criticisms boldly. We wouldn’t dream of letting somebody get away with sneering at us because of any of these things; we would defend ourselves strongly against any such attacks.
Why is it that many of us will defend these aspects of our life, but are afraid to tell our friends and family about our enjoyment of the clothes-free lifestyle?
I hear people say, “My parents are so old fashioned they would never understand.” Yet I look around at my nudist friends and many of them are the age of my parents, and they are enjoying the nudist experience just as much as I do. Just goes to show we can’t rely on stereotypes, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, I hear parents say,“My children would be horrified.” Well, I’m considerably past the teen years, but I remember clearly that I was more frustrated by the conventionality of my parents than any signs of free spirit.
I hear people say that it could affect their job, despite laws to try and prevent it, so can gender, race, religion, skin color, political beliefs, and sexual preference.
If a boss wants to find something to criticize, they will find it. The only “security” in any job is doing it better than anybody else can.
In fact, one time I was applying for a job with a national security organization. In my first interview I stated clearly that I was a nudist. The man interviewing me smiled and shook his head. “That’s not a problem,” he told me. “Now if you were trying to hide it, that would be a problem!”
People tell me that our society equates nudity with sex, yet a study co-funded by AANR and TANR in the ’90s showed this not to be true. Since that time AANR’s aggressive public education program has flooded the Internet and news with positive stories about nude recreation that make it even less likely that the public would make such an assumption automatically. Today, the image of nudists engaged in joyous skinny-dipping has pretty much taken over any sexual perception of nudity. In fact, it has been several years since a reporter even asked me about sex in connection with an interview in nudity. And at recent trade shows and in social conversations, I have been asked where one can find a nude beach but never about sexuality.
I strongly believe that we are creating a monster from a mouse. Yes, there will be people who disagree with our enjoyment of nude recreation. But, as a dear friend told me long ago, “nobody can make you ashamed of yourself if you don’t let them.”
A group of dedicated individuals are working on a project to help us “come out” about our enjoyment of nude recreation.I sit in on their conference calls and am stimulated and excited by the professional insights they share and the suggestions presented.
This project is being jointly supported and led by AANR and TNS, and I believe it will provide enormous benefits to both organizations. Stay tuned for more exciting information!