In my last post, I expanded on Linda Weber's idea around RESPECT as a key element in the naturist philosophy.
The last letter “T” stands for “Tell your story”.
Are you sitting comfortably?
As a child of about age 7 or 8, I recall one summer walking through the sand dunes close to the holiday home we were staying in, coming across a couple sunbathing naked. As a small child, I had no real concept of sex, so it was possible that they may have been naked in the dunes for other reasons, but as they surely heard me well before I walked past them, there was plenty of time for them to assume a nonchalant pose of relaxing in the sun. I quickly moved on to save us all from embarrassment, but the image of those people lying in the sun has stayed with me.
My parents were not prudish about nudity nor were they overly permissive of it. Nudity was not shied away from or hidden in the home but was primarily around bathing, showering or dressing rather than spending time naked for leisure.
I began to be uncomfortable in clothing, especially nightwear. I found it twisted and shifted as I slept and was increasingly unpleasant. I was 12 years old when I started sleeping naked, and I have never owned or worn pyjamas in the years since.
As I started to mature earlier than many of my peers, I became more and more self-conscious of body hair, especially my back hair, so I would often swim in a t-shirt. This caused an internal conflict, as I was comfortable naked but socially uncomfortable with my body. At around the age of 15, I recall thinking that I wanted to travel around in a van or bus and spend as much time as I could naked when I grew up. This wasn’t something that I discussed with my schoolmates, but privately I was drawn to the comfort of nudity.
Life gets in the way.
I met my wife when I was 17 and just out of secondary school. We were married before my 21st birthday, and by the time I turned 25, we had 4 children and were well ensconced in the domestic treadmill of working and caring for a young family. There was little time for quality downtime, and none of the places we could afford to live in allowed the privacy I thought I needed to pursue my naturist curiosity.
In 2008 a series of events led me to a support group to help address some behavioural issues that had negatively impacted my relationship with my wife and regrettably deeply hurt her. In attending this group and talking to others in similar situations, I embarked upon a long journey of deep reflection and self-discovery which led to me being better in touch with who I was and what was important to me.
In 2011 my wife and I were both working through issues and decided we needed some neutral space so I moved into a small flat. I made the conscious decision to identify as a naturist and embraced a naked life as often as I could. Having slept naked since the age of 12, it was a simple process to just not get dressed in the morning.
I still had body confidence issues, especially about my back hair, which bothered me, so I decided to get my back waxed. The first attempt was extremely painful, and resulted in bruising, something I now know should not have been the case but was rather a reflection on the technique of the person doing the waxing. It took some years before I attempted the process again, and while it was still painful, it was far less traumatic with a result that justified the short 20-minute discomfort of the waxing process.
Curiously, I don’t judge other people for excessive body hair, and I readily accept all people of any shape or size, but for me, my back hair was something that I was uncomfortable with and preferred removed.
In 2013 after a period of contemplation, my wife and I moved into a place together. My wife was aware of my naturism, and while she often joined me at beaches or in the privacy of our home, was less inclined to engage in social nudity activities in groups or at clubs.
Despite several positive years, I was feeling less happy in the relationship and in August 2019 I decided to separate from my wife. I moved to a city some 520k (320 miles) away as I felt I needed a clean break and wanted to put some literal distance between my old life and my new life. My job in sales has me travelling all over the North Island of New Zealand. My employer has no requirement for me to live in any particular city, as long as I live within my sales territory. I considered several cities to move to but finally settled on Tauranga, as the climate was warmer and there seemed to be a stronger naturist community in the area as well as proximity to a well-appointed naturist park. I could still visit my kids and grandkids regularly as part of my work travel.
I connected with a naturist group that organised regular events and began my life in a new city. I met some new people and started building a life consistent with my beliefs and goals. At 53 years old, I brushed off the criticism that I was being selfish and started living my life for myself rather than trying to make frequent compromises to please others.
To be clear, I have no regrets about my first marriage. I have regrets about some of my behaviour during the marriage, but there were many happy years and we raised 4 wonderful children.
In the 2 1/2 years since moving north, I have met someone and we are living together in a house with a small but private garden area that gets all day sun.
I now live in an environment that allows me to be naked anytime I want. There are plenty of opportunities to get to beaches, rivers, and outdoor locations where clothing can be removed without offending anyone. I have a small but growing network of naturist friends and contacts through social media and local events, and while I don’t necessarily broadcast my lifestyle to everyone I meet, I am not ashamed of discussing it if asked.
My name is Steve, and I am a naturist.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.