My dear friend sent me an article from Elephant Journal called “Are You a Naked Person?” ( Read the Elephant Journal article here). The article posits that we are, all of us, either “naked people” or “not-naked people”, and that we display certain characteristics depending upon into which category we fall. Your comfort with your literal nudity hints at your comfort with metaphorical nudity – or the exposure of your inner self.
“Naked” people tend to be, as you might guess, a little less concerned with what others think of them. This isn’t to say “Nakeds” are running off to join a nudist colony, but they probably walk around the house naked, and don’t cover up in embarrassment if a close family member or friend walks in on them. Being comfortable in your nakedness equates to being easygoing, extroverted and open. “Not-Naked” people, on the other hand, worry more about being judged as “reckless”, or inappropriate. They tend to be more cautious, and don’t fly by the seat of their pants – which they are absolutely wearing in your presence. They cover up in front of their spouses, their children, their siblings. The article is careful to say that “Naked” peeps aren’t any better than the “Non-Naked” variety. It’s just a different way of approaching life.
So I got to thinking. Am I a “Naked”? Or a “Not”?
I remember a time when I was very little, maybe 6 or 7. My brother and I had these big, green bean bags we’d sit in to watch TV with my parents. It was time to get ready for bed, but we didn’t want to miss whatever we were watching, so mom brought us our jammies to change into. I got undressed, but then I just sat there, naked in my bean bag, watching the rest of the program. I think it was my brother who said, “What the heck are you doing?”, and all of us cracked up.
When I got a little older, I covered up the important bits around my dad and brother, but I still walked around the house mostly naked. When I had roommates in college, I think I made an effort to cover up, but didn’t freak out about sharing a bathroom with 3 other girls. And when I got married, I did a lot of naked walking around.
When you have kids, and when they are little, you don’t have a lot of choice because you don’t have a lot of privacy. They walk in on you when you’re in the shower, when you’re getting dressed, when you’re on the toilet…And as they have grown older, I have not covered up because I decidedly want them to see what a real woman’s body looks like (as opposed to unrealistic images they are exposed to in the media). As my son has gotten older, I have been conscientious to, again, cover up the essential bits, but generally bra and panties = covered.
Metaphorically speaking, I would say that I fit most of the “Naked” characteristics in the EJ article – I’m outgoing, I’m open, I’ll share my food with you, sure. Yet…I also have some “Not-Naked” qualities, too. I like my ducks in a row. I don’t want to be viewed as “reckless” and I do care about others’ opinion about me. I certainly don’t want to be seen as “inappropriate” (Really, who does?).
But, literally speaking, I am only a partial naked person because I care too much about how my body looks. And I don’t love all of it. And I am afraid of being judged by others the way I judge myself, which frankly, isn’t always that nice. I would never judge anyone as harshly as I judge myself, and I think most of us are probably that way. It’s hard to silence that inner voice that critiques all your flaws mercilessly, and most women probably battle that bitch every day.
For me, personally, I stopped walking around naked in front of my husband (ex) when I no longer felt safe and loved. I probably stopped being metaphorically naked with him about the same time. And can’t honestly say that I have felt safe enough in any relationship since my divorce to cruise around in the raw, but then again, I haven’t gotten metaphorically naked either. I haven’t gotten close enough to anyone to feel that safe.
I have a very dear friend who shares a special ritual with her husband where they sip bourbon in the buff. They don’t do it every week, but either one can declare a Buff Bourbon Night at any time. What a beautiful way to stay connected. And that, my friends, is what I want. I want to be so wrapped up in love that I don’t think twice about being naked on Tuesday on my couch with my man and some tiny bubbles.
My friend who shared the article with me pointed out that he thinks I am a “Naked” at heart, and that some wounds of the past have made me less willing to expose my vulnerabilities, literally and metaphorically. I think he’s probably right, and isn’t it interesting how Naked = Vulnerable. Something to think about – what hurts in the past cause you to cover up, close off, protect yourself? What makes you feel safe enough to be exposed? Which one are you? Naked? Or Not-Naked?
And which do you want to be?
*Art Credit, Patrick Palmer (link below)