2015 has easily been one of the most challenging years of my adult life. To be fair, many positive experiences colored these 12 months, including a trip to a clothing optional park with my mom, clothes free camping & events in the summer with a dearest friend, and a topfree walk in Washington, DC just a few weeks ago.
As marvelous as those experiences were, they also shook how I saw the world, how I thought my life had to be, and, most importantly, who I truly am. With all of these questions rising to the surface, I felt it imperative to listen to the voice in my heart and make some significant changes in my life.
As with any massive change, a storm of emotions flooded me. I spent much of this year’s fall season crying and not eating as I stepped into the truth moment to moment, day by day. I’ve had to clean up a lot of relationships, because I had spent so many years wearing long underwear around my personality in a desperate attempt to accommodate everyone, that I wound up living lie after lie. I wasn’t being honest with family, friends, or colleagues. I had forgotten who I was and what I look like even to myself. Thank goodness, my clothes free life, bit by bit, undressed these layers. As I began to reckon with who I truly am, I had to, then, come clean with others. So, I initiated a lot (A LOT) of difficult and uncomfortable conversations with family members. I listened to people share their anger and frustration about me with me without trying to defend myself or be right. I started being honest with my friends about what I want and what I am willing to do. I have said goodbye to some people, and some said goodbye to me.
I remember feeling at some point in the fall that everything in the place where I lived was a lie. As I stood in my old apartment, I looked at the bare walls, where I had refused to hang anything, because I, from the start, never wanted to admit that I would stay there long enough to decorate it as “home” anyway. I looked at all the old furniture that spoke of stories past, people who had been in and out of my life, things I used to do… and I saw that those things were no longer current. I also reviewed my banks statements and realized that I no longer wanted to spend my paycheck all on rent and barely make it through the cost of living in the city. I wanted space to be spontaneous, as spontaneity is crucial to my joy, growth and development. So, over the course of several months, I put the call out there that I was looking for housing, let go of what no longer served me, and moved in with a friend of mine. Although she is never here, I love that she said, “Come live with me. And you can be free to be as naked as you want.” Done.
It has been a very full year. What I must say, though, is that through all of this, what has held me together is my clothes free life. There is nothing like living outside naked for days on end to show me that I don’t need a whole lot of anything to make it through. My clothes free life has given me the courage to create truth in my life, however challenging it might be. Despite all the pain and tears, which are simply part of processing change, the underbelly of it all is joy, because I know that I am coming from a place of truth, rather than dressing myself in lies.
Now settling into this new home, I spend a lot of time dancing, reading and writing. In fact, I engage in writing exercises daily to strengthen my skills in preparation for larger projects that are on my heart. I have moved my budget around a great deal so that next year I can engage is some adventures. There are many things I plan to unfold next year, and I have created the space for myself to actually do that. What an accomplishment.
Several people in my life know the finer details of what I have walked through this year. So, often times, their response is to invite me out for drinks or to sleep over. But the truth is, what is most grounding for me after such a turbulent fall, is to simply come home, be clothes free, and make myself something delicious to eat. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to going into the kitchen and having a clothes free art-fest with food to create something awesome that will feel good in my body. And, honestly, I love the sound of silence as I scribble in my journal. I love studying Portuguese in the nude. I love simply being me in this space.
When I learned from a Facebook post that my aunt is staring down the barrel of breast cancer, when I lost people in my life, when everything went up in the air… my clothes free life was, and continues to be, home base, center. It is the soil to which I return to nourish my soul, to blossom my dreams and thrive my life.