April 15, 2022 | LIFE | By Isabella Ingersoll  | Illustration by Sydney Morris

I am a naked person. 

My friend and I coined this term the other day, observing how some people enjoy being clothes-less while others don’t. 

Why are only some individuals naked people? There are a few variables at play when it comes to bodily comfort, which I will delve into throughout this article. My friend and I discussed this, and we both agreed our relationships with personal nudity was rooted in our childhoods. 

We remembered taking baths with our siblings or mothers as kids, running naked through backyard sprinklers, laying on the floor of our bedrooms post-shower, and peeing in public with our parents’ guidance. These moments ingrained the deep belief that our bodies aren’t shameful, but should be celebrated, and this transcended into our adult lives currently enriched with moments like painting on our friends’ bare bodies, skinny-dipping in any body of water imaginable, or river-side topless tanning.

The transition from my childhood to my current joy in nakedness was not simple nor easy; rather, it’s been an integral part of my complicated body-love journey. 

When I was little, being naked was easy. So easy that I never thought about it, but that’s because I never thought about my body at all. I didn’t even consider myself having a real relationship with my body until I got older. Unfortunately, this relationship was initially fueled by contempt. 

I thought about my body a lot. I criticized it a lot. My body wasn’t my home, but something to perfect, something to disparage, and ultimately, something to despise. 

Over the years, my relationship with my body has ebbed and flowed, with my discomfort waning at times only to flare up again at others. However, I have recently experienced a newfound love for my body that I have never previously experienced. I feel an empowered acceptance of the parts of myself I cannot change, and I’ve realized that my imperfections simply make me unique. 

I credit this to being a naked person. 

I’ve learned I love feeling exposed. There’s a thrill existing with nakedness; this thrill is inspired by the feeling of crossing a line I’m not supposed to cross. Being clothes-less fulfills my rebellious fix, and it’s certainly a healthy way to do so. 

Besides the thrill, which is certainly exhilarating, the exposure of nudity propelled me to cease my criticisms and fall in love with my body. When everything is exposed, there’s nothing to hide. Nakedness releases any expectation of what a body is supposed to look like. With everything stripped bare, expectations become impossible. To be naked, there has to be some sort of feigned confidence that can eventually instigate genuine bodily empowerment. 

In addition, the spaces where I crave nudity are often secluded, nature-y places such as hike-in rivers, lakes, or meadows. Being able to carry my body into these spaces reignites the utter appreciation I have for myself. 

I’m grateful my friends are also naked people. Being around other naked bodies is a form of solidarity, a recognition of all our unique self-love journeys. There’s a mutual understanding that being naked together serves as a declaration of a safe space. Our energies combine to create a powerful explosion of both self-love and love for each other. 

Unfortunately, being naked is restricted to certain spaces. I would never walk down the halls of Loomis naked nor sunbathe nude on Tava. Despite how comfortable I might feel, I cannot expect those around me to share this comfort if they were to see me. I also cannot count on being respected for my nudity.

Being naked in public is often considered to be an invitation for unwelcomed behaviors or comments made by others. Humans are innately sexual beings, and the sexualization of others’ bodies, albeit natural, can be dangerous. 

Finally, I want to acknowledge that not everyone is a naked person. Bodies can carry a lot of trauma. Our bodies have sustained a tremendous amount of lived experience. They’ve been through immense disparagement, injuries, illnesses, and oftentimes unwanted touching or even assault. While being naked can help some people reconcile with their trauma and heal, others aren’t able to. Bodily trauma can create a divide between one’s soul and their body and prevent someone from feeling autonomy over their body or love towards it. 

Some people just prefer to be clothed, and this is more than okay! Self-love and body-love can be achieved through various strategies; the only important thing is being open to finding the path towards truly loving yourself.

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