The Place With No Name


The Library With No Name - Nudism/Naturism Section
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I am not a nudist.  There.  I said it.  To steal a little something from Robert's Denial of Nudism, "For me to regard myself as a nudist, I would also have to be a breathist, walkist, eatist, blue-eyesist for while a motorist is someone who does driving, being without clothes is not something I do. It is my supposed natural state.  So I am not a nudist. I do not do taking clothes off. Putting on clothes is what I do. If anything I am a clothesist."

I suppose that if I must be labeled as being one thing or another, I am perhaps a naturist.  I like to be a natural person in my natural habitat.  That means going to nature.  I don't really need a club for that.  

I just don't think of the human body as something terribly shocking.  To be honest, I have often wondered that people make such a very big deal over either being naked, or seeing another person naked.  It's a little strange to me that most people seem to think that seeing the natural state of another member of their own species is somehow harmful, immoral, wrong, perverted, or in some other way bad.  I've never had anybody actually explain to me why it was harmful, but there seem to be a lot of people willing to insist that it is.  They even pass laws to protect us from seeing another member of our own species in a natural state.

I think, though, that I've got it worked out now.  It isn't about the nudity at all.  Even if everybody stopped wearing clothes this very afternoon, the world wouldn't really change.  Why?  Because the vast majority of humanity - including a lot of nudists, I think - is caught in a cycle of self loathing that is so completely invisible that we welcome it as part of our modern culture.  

For the most part, we're all ashamed to be human.  That's easy enough to say, but self loathing isn't something that's easy to pin down. To draw it in very simple terms is difficult and often garish, and to draw it out with explanations isn't really any easier because it gets tedious.  I'll give it a fair shot, though, and let the reader decide if I have made the point.  

From the time you're a baby, and you soil your diaper, your parents are going, "OH! Nasty! Stinky! Peeee-Uuuuu!", and making with the body language to teach you that poop is disgusting. Poop isn't something we talk about, think about, or want to know about. If you have to poop, go hide in the bathroom and pretend that you don't do it. We don't want to see.  We don't want to smell.  We don't want to hear.  We don't want to know. You can't run to mom and say, "You have GOT to come see the most INCREDIBLE turd I just pinched off! It's amazing! It must be a foot long!"  That's just not going to wash. Poop isn't something of which you can be proud.  Same way with urinating. Farting is out. Puking is bad enough by itself, but then they react badly... Don't pick your nose where I can see you. Don't scratch yourself. Brush your nasty teeth before they rot out of your head. Bathe and deodorize your stinky self. Next comes clothing. You need to HIDE yourself! "Jesus, son! Nobody wants to see that!" You don't run to your dad and say, "Man! Check out my nuts! They've got hair on them!" Nope. Not going to go over too well.  You can't even say 'nuts' in the presence of your parents, not to mention 'polite' company these days.

If you swear, they wash your mouth out with soap. If you break a lamp, they spank your butt. The body gets punished for crimes of the mind. Then you get a little older, and one day your sex turns on. Your body says, "Hey! Let's have a little feel good down here, eh?" Then your parents find out, and depending on their world view you either get the 'hairy palms' lecture or the 'scourge of the devil' lecture which may or may not be packaged with a nice beating - or something in the middle. Even if you get the, "Yeah, that's wonderful and everybody does it.", response, you still get the, "If you're going to do that go hide in your room where nobody can see you." Through past experience, you know that if you have to hide it, it must be wrong... There is NOTHING that your body does that anybody likes. Not even crying. You can't even cry. If you do, we'll give you something to cry about.

Eating is perfectly OK, but there are rules. No desert until AFTER dinner. EAT THE SPINACH!  EAT IT!  EAT IT!  IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!  YOU WILL EAT IT OR I WILL BEAT YOU TO WITHIN AN INCH OF YOUR UNGRATEFUL LIFE! So the body gets the short stick no matter what you decide. You can choke down the yucky spinach or take the licks. Either way your lovely, wonderful mind gets away with all of this, but your body takes the pain because it's evil.

So, slowly by slowly, your body is nothing but an evil, loathsome thing. You hate it. You hate it and you don't even know you hate it. You hate it so much that you try to kill it. You eat too much, drink too much, drive too fast, smoke, take illegal drugs, and abuse your body in every way. You don't let it get enough rest, but you drag it out of bed and send it along to work.  When it gets hungry, you stuff it with another junk food lunch and drag it along until the end of the day, then you make it sit still so that your big brain can watch television until you grudgingly give in to your worn out body's request for some rest.  You hate your body.  You wish that it would go away. You wish you didn't have one. Because your body isn't you after all, and you aren't your body. You are a Higher Being. Chosen by God maybe. The body doesn't get to go to heaven, so who needs it?  God will give you a nice spirit body when you get there, right?  

So you disassociate from your body as much as possible. You keep punishing that body long after mom and dad are dead and gone because they taught you real good. They taught you to hate it. Most people don't even want to look at it in the mirror anymore. You cry, and you hate your body for crying. You eat the g*d d*mn*d spinach off the cafeteria tray even when nobody is looking because it's 'good for you'. Your body deserves to eat disgusting things. It's just a disgusting thing itself.

So you hide your body, and hide everything it does.  You put on your pretty clothes and become nothing but a talking head that goes out and interacts with other talking heads who are also trying to pretend that they don't have bodies.

If the job is done right, and everything goes according to plan, you will hate yourself so much that one day you will put a shotgun in your mouth like a big black phallus of death and blow your miserable brains out all over the bathroom wall. You were good enough to do it in the bathroom. That's where you're supposed to go when you're doing something wrong... Ironically, the brain finally takes the hit. There's some subtle irony in the shotgun-in-the-mouth thing.

If you managed to escape the suicide thing, and don't wind up in a mental institution with an eating disorder, self mutilation, gender confusion, or worse, then you find a mate and maybe get married. Then you have sex. Some people are evidently taught that sex is so wrong that most people hate that too. They hate their own bodies so much that they become dysfunctional, and then they hate their bodies for that too. The self loathing is complete. The body is just a $h1t machine. Worthless life support for the Master Brain. You keep punishing it and punishing it and punishing it and you hate it, hate it, HATE IT. You keep beating the little boy or girl inside you because he or she is WRONG. There is something very wrong with you because you have a body; and it's disgusting. When the little boy or girl inside you cries you hate that too.

But it's very subtle. It's not something most people are consciously aware of. They just go through life walking through broken glass on their knees to punish their evil, sinful, vile bodies and hope that they can attain enough purity to satisfy the Ultimate Punisher. They are Sinners in the hands of an Angry God. 

Now maybe I mean that metaphorically, and maybe I mean that literally. It depends on the person...

Of course, if the numbers work out right, sex leads to a child.  You have to go to the Lamaze class as a couple because you've tried to pretend that you don't have a body for so long that the miracle of child birth isn't something you have ever heard that much about.  The baby comes, everybody is happy, you take some pictures, and finally get to take the kid home.  For a few days the diapers don't stink, but then they do.  At some point you start saying, "OH! Nasty! Stinky! Peeee-Uuuuu!", and making with the body language to teach your child that poop is disgusting.  

If you do your job as a parent well, your child will grow up to be just as horrified by their body as you are with yours, and the cycle of self loathing will be complete.  

Now I know that's all very graphic and outlandishly brutal and almost everyone is saying, 'It wasn't like that for me. It is NOT like that for me now!', but on some level it was and it is for most people. If you're wearing clothes in the comfort of your own home, then this is probably a clue. "But I'm more comfortable in clothes." No doubt you are - but why?  It isn't about the clothes at all...

Like I said, all of this is very subtle. It all culminates in the subconscious opinion that you are a bad person. You are a sinner, if you want to take the religious bent.  At some point you may even come to believe that your body itself is a sin.   Personally, I refuse to subscribe to that. I am not a sinner. I am a good person. I like my body. I fart proudly. I belch at the table. I am not ashamed of what I am.  That isn't a place I arrived at over night, however.

There is a little book called Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior that I like to invite people to read.  It talks about basic human goodness.  It helps you understand that you have to arrive at a place where you have some tender affection for yourself. It isn't really enough to stop hating yourself - to stop hating your body and just make peace with it. You have to go all the way to the other side.  You have to love yourself.

Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." There are two teachings there. The one everyone teaches while ignoring the second. In order to love your neighbor, you must first love yourself. I've never heard of a Church that teaches you to love yourself - and you must. It is extremely important to exercise loving kindness towards yourself. How can you do that if you think that your body is a sin?

So, all of this comes down to self loathing that was taught to you at an extremely early age without your awareness and without your consent. The only way to beat it is to come to terms with it and start treating yourself with a little tenderness. You have to make that brain work for your body. You have to listen to your body and find out what it needs. Not just the 'I'm hungry' or 'I'm thirsty' messages. You have to sit down one day and take a whole body day. You actually have to ASK your body what IT wants. What does it feel like doing? Does it want to lay in bed all day? Does it want to soak in a nice hot tub of water until it gets all pruny? Does it want to dance naked in the rain? Put that big brain aside for a little while and do what the body wants.

 Sometimes the body comes up with strange ideas: "Shave me."

"The whole thing?"

"Yep. Head to toe. Shave me."

"You have got to be kidding."

"No, really. Shave me."

Sometimes it'll get really far out, and sometimes you have to say no.  My body seems to like to roll in the grass a lot lately. This has a double benefit. It makes you itchy and scratches you all over at the same time. Big fun.

So, stop, right now and ask your body what it wants to do. I'd be curious at your body's response.  Feel free to use the form below and let me know what your body thinks of the idea.

In the end you'll learn to listen to your body, and that big brain of yours will start respecting it too. There is some danger in this, so be careful. "NO, MOM! I AM NOT GOING TO EAT THE SPINACH! IT IS ***NOT*** GOOD FOR ME. IT'S DISGUSTING.", isn't something you really want to shout at a family reunion. Trust me. Your relatives think that you're weird enough as it is.

Anyway, I think that covers it briefly. If you want some more then I would invite you to read Are You Broken?

Shane Steinkamp




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