So I took the plunge. I couldn’t be more literal than that if I’d wanted to, but yeah, I dropped trou and took to the seas like some new age, psychedelic dream chasing, African hippie and…I kinda liked it.
So there’s some necessary background to be explored here, lest I come off as some eccentric liberal who makes a habit of taking his clothes off in public for the sake of taking his clothes off in public. There’s truth in that, anyway… I am a bit of a liberal. Go on, hate me you precious fossils you.
So what had happened was, I was in my room (where most of my more “Ingenious” plans are conceived) and where I normally have a very reliable “Stop nonsense” reflex that puts a halt on the more…insane/ridiculous/illegal ideas, this time around a part of me I’d long ago thought successfully smothered, tied up and left for the coyotes, decided to fight through the less than boy scout grade bindings and push the big red button.
We all know what button I’m talking about; the button that sees you jumping out of moving planes, swimming with man eating fish and hooking up with weird strangers from the net. Yes, that button.
So the button had been pushed, and what had been a silently waning wonder, blossomed into something of an obsession.
I wanted to get naked. Not just naked, I wanted to do it in public.
The idea of jail wasn’t a hit, so I thought a less illegal, but still very illegal (I should look into that) way to go about my new obsession would be to skinny dip.
I could have very easily done it in my backyard and been done with it, but no, I wanted to be reckless with it. Now I think it’s best to make it known that I’m in no way a creep. Sure, I have creepy tendencies, but my goal was never to fifty shades of gray it in a public pool with toddlers in tiaras and all things inflatable in sight, no.
The plan was to go to the beach on a relatively warm day, find a safe-ish spot away from prying eyes and go about my pseudo-nudist ways for a hot second before I get my fill without causing a scene and going to jail. Avoiding jail was where the bar had been set; I don’t see myself surviving the slammer.
Why do it, you ask? I needed this, not this in particular, but something as radical and as exciting as this to pull me from within the depths of whatever funk I’ve crawled into and to cure this claustrophobia I’ve steadily developed.
So, the plan had been set, the day chosen, and I was off.
I had fifteen minutes to talk myself out of it. I had fifteen minutes to reason with myself; my moral compass had one job and that was to put an end to this insanity, but as crazy as I was and am, I’m just as stubborn.
Fifteen minutes later, I was there. Not a soul in sight, it was me, the golden shoreline, the gentle giant before me and the clearest sky above head. I hadn’t taken a stitch of clothing off and I’d already begun feeling vulnerable. It was on some level knowing what I was about to do, also, it was that I was alone. I had no partner in crime, no lookout, no getaway driver, just me and this silly, silly idea.
But I was going to do it. Momma never raised no quitter.
I wish I could tell you that I felt liberated with each article of clothing I slowly slid off my person, I wish I could tell you how good the soft heat from the autumn sun felt and how sexy it made me feel, but none of that sensual, Baywatch stuff happened. I tore those clothes off me like they were on fire, trying as best I could to not think about it too much, before I gunned it towards the ocean and literally crashed against a settling wave.
I felt naked; I was literally naked, in public, with no clothes on. I mean I get that’s how being naked works, but I was in public for crying out loud. The shock of it all was almost suffocating.
My first thought? “What have I done?” Regret, absolute regret poured out of me, weeping with every jagged breath while my body acclimated to the ocean water temperature. Also fear, lots of it. I was afraid someone would wander to where my clothes were, figure the situation out and out of spite they’d run off with my clothes and I’d be stranded, naked, in the ocean. Then I was afraid that the very many things that lived in the ocean would wander as well, too close to the bits that could be nibbled…
After the shock and regret and fear, I guess I could say that a resilient calm took hold of me. It was kind of unexpected. The knowledge that it was okay, that I was somehow safe and free and stupid but incredibly at one with everything around me swallowed me whole. I can’t explain it without saying that it felt like a colour I hadn’t seen or experienced before but one I was familiar with and one that felt right.
Don’t worry, I’ve not been converted, I don’t plan on being a nudist anytime soon, but I found a new appreciation for the sheer bravery of letting it all go and allowing your body to be at one with the things that really matter around you; the tangible.
Five minutes later, a very long five minutes might I add, I dried off, put my clothes back on and stayed behind to stare out into the ocean for a good hour with a new admiration for the world and its many wonders.
This wasn’t some Avatar type of connectedness, but I felt real for the first time in a very long time. I both mattered and didn’t matter and through it all I felt in control. I made the decision to take my clothes off, I made the decision to go into the ocean and I was in control through the whole thing.
Some will call me crazy, and rightfully so, I don’t think this is for everyone, but it was certainly a great way to stumble upon a sacred philosophy I’m coming to terms with more every day; you may not be where you want to be, but you are where you are meant to be.