Revealing all

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Written in response to Michelle Toussaint’s thought-provoking post.

In the land of the naked, the clothed human is a freak.

The opening paragraph of this post took me back to a time, perhaps twenty years ago, at Glastonbury festival. It was a sweltering summer, and no amount of hastily smeared wetwipes could make me feel clean. I decided to brave the communal showers, which, short of squatting naked beneath a standpipe in the corner of a field, were all that was available in those days. I walked into the shower tent, and found myself at the back of a queue of men and women of all ages. Those immediately in front of me were hastily removing their clothing, while the people ahead of them appeared relaxed in their nakedness. The act of disrobing was uncomfortable. I felt shy, embarrassed, ashamed to expose the scars from forty-odd years of living; if I had been younger I would have been ashamed of the tiny flaws of youth.

The strange thing was, as soon as my clothes were off, I relaxed. Shedding my garments made me feel empowered. I became at ease with all of those strangers. My self-esteem got a lift; I felt as if after all, I was not so different, perhaps I was even the equal of others. We all had the same aim, to wash off the dirt – there was no other agenda. They weren’t checking out my quivering bits any more than I was checking out theirs. If any of us happened to notice the celulite or unsightly mark on the body of another, we accepted it as part of their being. No negatives judgements were made. If I learnt anything that day, it was that we are all physically imperfect โ€“ except for the georgeous, long-legged, fine featured young Affro-Caribbean woman with a ring in each perfect nipple; there was bound to be an exception to the rule. She and I showered side by side, chatting like two people standing at a bus stop, and she told me all about her college course.

Michelle doesn’t ask us whether we would prance naked in Piccadilly Circus, but if we would be prepared to share our darkest secrets with others; to rip open the envelope kept in a hidden compartment beneath all the important documents, where we hope it will never be found, and throw the ignominous contents to the eager throngs. I consider myself to be unusually open about my past, and the weaknesses which currently beset me, but even I cling precariously to a little dignity. There are snippets about myself which I wouldn’t be prepared to share. I say that not with pride, but with a degree of mortification, because I believe that if we were all entirely honest about ourselves, it would be a little like standing naked in the shower tent at Glastonbury Festival. There may be more love and less judgement in the world. None of us could pretend to have the right to cast the first stone, except perhaps the beautiful Affro-Caribbean Goddess, but I don’t think she would wish to bring herself down to that level.

While this is a little simplistic, and doesn’t take into account the psychopaths of the world, I think there is something to be said for it. Am I being naรฏve? I’d love some feedback on this subject.

If the only way that I can respond to a post is by writing my own post, with a link to the post which interests me, then so be it. Maybe I’ll keep doing this until I sort out my technical difficulty – ie. my comments disappear from your blog when I click Send.

ยฉJane Paterson Basil

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29 thoughts on “Revealing all

  1. I’d love to feel the confidence to prance around naked. I’m better than I used to be, but I’m still happier covering up under layers and layers than exposing anything. Oh for us all to have that Glastonbury experience. I definitely think if people were entirely content with themselves and their lives, they wouldn’t want to hurt others so much. Global nakedness or global psycotherapy – what’s the answer?

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    1. I’m off to Barnstaple’s shopping centre, to rip my clothes off and run about naked, yelling at everyone who passes “Drop ’em darlin’.” Pretty soon it will become a mass movement. That should speed up world peace ๐Ÿ˜€
      Do you remember streakers? Or am I showing my age?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As popular movements go, it sounds like a good one ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I remember streakers. I wonder what that phenomena was all about? That sudden spate of public nudity? I remember finding it rather puzzling at the time.

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          1. I didn’t see any harm in it, I just find it interesting that so many people did it in such a short space of time. Weird how we find nudity in certain situations unacceptable, how we’ve made it illegal. Am I right in thinking the Germans are much more accepting of these things? I’m sure I read there’s a park in Berlin especially for nudists. Mind you, their climate’s not exactly compatible with going naked ๐Ÿ™‚

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        1. Help! Apparently they wouldn’t have minded if I had been young and nubile, but I’m not, and now I’m in a police cell – can you bail me out please. After all, you’re partly responsible. You approved the idea of me running naked through Barnstaple ๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. Strip away the layers, whether it be clothing, or self protection – we are all the same at the core. We all have issues with self esteem, hurts, scars and wounds that we do not want to share with the whole world for fear of more pain.The deep inner,private spaces are for sharing with those who love us for who and what we are warts and all

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    1. I have a friend who recently came out of an abusive relationship, and she would agree with you – revealing our insecurities opens us up to more abuse from sadists and predators.
      The thing I’ve noticed since joining the WP community is that people I have never even met open their arms to me, even though I have revealed my weaknesses, pains and imperfections, and I have gained confidence from that acceptance.

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      1. It’s a different world when it’s not face to face Jane. Although we do develop beautiful friendship and support networks it is still distanced and that in and of itself gives a layer of protection and anonymity. The connections and friendships are formed on the basis of shared and common interests and newnesses.

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        1. … and strengthened by the distance between us, because we’re not in a position to get into groups and niggle about each other about day to day things like you parking in my space (a big issue in the UK, because the country’s not much bigger than a postage stamp) or me being rude to your sister. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I identify with your words about keeping some of it to myself. There is beauty in openness and especially yours, I admire your writing. I’ve got a ways to go before bearing my soul. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thank you Deb. The more I do it the better it feels. I used to be ashame d to face people, in case they knew that two of my children were addicts, and thought badly of me for it. If I hadn’t spoken out I would have spent the rest of my life feeling ashamed and inferior, but since I started my blog, I’ve learnt that only the ignorant automatically look down on the parents of addicts. Although I have a tendency to agoraphobia, since discovering the kindness of the WP community, I have been more confident – although living in a large block of flats full over 55s with little knowledge of the real world is a disadvantage.

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      1. My father, a recovering addict, lost his daughter (my sister). I’ve always thought, how can a parent do it? It was easy for me relatively. My sister was always on her own way, and if she failed I kind of sneered inside like well, that’s what she gets for her choices. So ashamed of that now I can hardly believe I’m typing these words. But my Dad. God. I think about my sons being addicts and I would be on the floor and never getting up. You are brave yes but I am sure that doesn’t help. Know that your words, your pain, your willingness to bare all, helps others like me, to understand and not be so ignorant. I so wish you peace and wellness and love to surround you.
        WP community coming into my life at this time has been a soft and loud blessing that I can’t imagine how I’ve gotten along without it and I am so glad you have found this kindness as well.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Don’t be ashamed. Watching the antics of an addict is enough to drive anybody crazy. I have thought and said some terrible things about my two younger children over the years, and whatever happens, i will have to live with that.
          I’m grateful to know that I can be of some help. If I could be the catalyst that turns just one life around it will be worthwhile.
          I haven’t written much on motheringaddicts lately, but you have given me the encouragement i needed to get back on it, and I thank you for that. If I was a cuddly person I would give you a hug.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. This really made me think! Having never had sisters, I’m not comfortable stripping down in company. Even in long relationships, I have always done the dance of the seven veils to a degree. ๐Ÿ˜†
    But it intrigues me.. I am more courageous these days and don’t want to waste time on those who don’t like me naked. ( Inside or out!)

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  5. OML! I felt my face turn beet red when I read the first part of your post. No way in bloody hell I’d do that. I am so dissatisfied with my body that DROLLERY’S lucky to get a peek! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ As to the rest of it, sometimes I think I’m far too candid about my own inner life. Funny that I would go from one extreme to the other. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Cherry. If you went to Glastonbury festival you may be prepared to do ANYTHING to get clean. Hanging around in a hot dusty (or sometimes muddy) field, squashed up with thousands of others makes you feel pretty filthy, not to mention how you feel when you emerge from the latrines. Some of those party people get themselves in a pretty disgusting state. Ugh!
      I don’t think you’re too candid. Your honesty is refreshing,and you are respected for admitting to feelings that most people have, but keep secret. You’re a warm, wonderful human being. xxx

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