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Naked Truths...

I took a hike this morning, along the coast. The sun was shining, which in Ireland feels like God is absolutely blessing you.  The warmth of the sun, the way the grass becomes greener before your eyes, the crystal clear azure water.  I was overwhelmed.

I meandered to and fro, climbing over rocks and knowing I was alone out there.  No cell service, no people, just me and God and the flora and the fauna.  I found a little alcove and immediately undressed.  Like it was the most natural thing in the world to come to this place nestled between the shore and water and remove the things that block you from the sun shining over all your skin.

I took some photos...yes, those kind of photos.  Why?  I can’t really tell you.  I just know that I felt like taking them.  An ancient war with my body in some sort of half hearted truce.  At first my self consciousness prevailed.  I was a captive to my own insecurities.  I worried about being discovered.  I worried about what someone might do with the suggestive photos.  I worried but the longer I stayed naked and bare, the more that feeling of being too much and not enough all at the same time began to fall away.

I realized suddenly that I have spoken to no one today.  I have been utterly alone and without human sound.  No voices calling, no phones ringing, no other people in my world at the moment.  They only exists in thoughts, memories and dreams.

So I sat on the beach naked for a few hours.  As I shuffled the stones around my feet I came to find a treasure trove of sea glass buried just beneath the surface.  And so I hunted, naked and sprawling across the rocky beach.  Handsomely rewarded for my efforts, I pocketed copious amounts of sea weathered broken bits of bottles and jars.  A favorite pastime which is its own reward.

So why remove my clothes?  Why be naked?  I don’t really have any good answer.  It was just what I needed to do, to remove the things I put betwixt and between me and everything else in my life.  I had plans to travel around the area but quickly abandon those as I realized that there was no other place I would rather be than right here.

I wandered back to my cottage for a bite.  Then set out again for other inlets that would provide me shelter for my nakedness, this rawness within me seeping out.  Covered over with all that I adorn, for what purpose?  To what end?  A clothed mask of myself behind garments which make a statement in their finery and their collaboration.  

But here in Ballyhornan, I didn’t need the clothing or the barrier because there is no one here asking me for anything.  No timetables to adhere to, no meals to prepare, no schedules to enforce.  Just me, the sun, the coast, God and a few errant cats who run by seemingly annoyed at my presence.  I get it kitties, I annoy me too sometimes, actually quite often.

Just my being here is sometimes almost more than I can bear.  I say almost, because I am still here so it seemingly is not more than I can bear, perhaps just the exact amount of what is for me, bearable.

It is unlike me to not hurry.  It is out of character for me to remain, not go.  I think I might have found my place and so I will occupy it for as long as I may.  The idle.  The slow.  Having tea and buttered bread for lunch, and for breakfast and knowing that this simple diet is what I crave.  Irish butter no less.  Gifted to me by my landlord’s sister.  My gratitude extends itself exponentially in all directions.

The longer I am silent, the more I realize that I often fill the time with nonsensical filler conversations.  Talking without really listening, listening without really hearing.  Talking without saying much of anything worthwhile. All day, every day.

So I am not really sure why I needed to be naked.  I can just tell you that I did.  I needed to be natural to absorb all the nature around me, removing the barriers to the intimacies known only by the sea and shore.  Known to me only when I allow myself to become unadorned, bereft of attire and with it all the things I use the attire for:  distance, cover, secret hiding places, barriers, mischaracterization, lies, subtle dishonesties I tell to anyone who will listen.

But on the beach, naked, the sun warming my skin, I was my truest self.  And so I shall return.  To this place that dwells within me all of the days, not just the ones I acquiesce to the calling of the wild.  To be naked on a coastal headland, to be still and quiet and unadorned is the most sincere truth I can fathom today. 

I take my nakedness with me everywhere I go. But it is removed, distanced even from myself, perhaps only in my mind, but this ancient war with my body and its fragilities, its imperfections. I realize it takes a great amount of courage to be my own home, on a beach, in front of anyone else...ever. While I am not my body, it is the housing of my soul, the reviled host, for all my body conscious inhospitable thoughts. I find myself wondering if this is what it is like for most of us, we are married up to this body and its varying shapes, constantly in this war of judgment and condemnation. Always seeking to change this or modify that. Never, ever being content with what it is like in any moment.

So we distance ourselves from it, remove the living that actually occurs here. I wonder if it is this distance that is a breeding ground for disease and illness. I wonder if I will ever find any kind of peace with body container. I think about how awful it would be to be constantly and incessantly compared to random ideas of perfection and flawlessness. And I loathe that process, and yet, I do it to myself every single day of my life. Constantly and unrelentingly comparing it to forms that are not my own, never can be my own.

I realize though, I have gained a level of self acceptance about myself in so many ways, the body, who has been relegated trauma score keeper in my life, should be so reviled and critiqued. It wasn't ever asked if it wanted to be the holder of all that pain, all that anguish, all that trauma, it was just given it in a way and manner that the presentment of it could not be refused or repurposed.

So on this beach, I took back a little of what was mine all along. I bared myself in a flagrant way as if to say, "I am here, I look like this and it is not shameful. It is not bad. I am not wrong." And while it was not a completely comfortable was healing. Reclamation is a long process for sure. One that requires a constant readjustment and reknowing because something like your body changes greatly with the passage of time.

So on a Irish beach I removed the things I place between me and my life, and I laid in the sun and enjoyed myself in as loving a way as I could muster. And it felt like reclamation, and it felt like joy, and it felt like healing. Again, still.

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