|Clothing Optional Beach|
I could not run any more. I sat down to see if it was at least swimmable, only to find it was really muddy! No way I could enjoy “wallering” in the mud. I decided that I would just keep going out further. (After all, The Columbia River IS a Major Shipping channel for commercial ships, and barges, I Knew it had to get deeper eventually!) I Kept trudging out further. I realized I had been naked in a public water way for quite some time, now, and It was OK! I realized I could easily be seen by any number of people from many vantage points along the shores, or surrounding mountains. I was thoroughly enjoying the sunshine, and the water, the views of The Gorge, and everything that one enjoys while forgetting his troubles in life. I kept wading further, and further, occasionally splashing the water up over my head, and enjoying this!
After close to 100 yards out, it was just about up to my thighs, and was completely amazed at how far I could walk across the river! This is The Mighty Columbia! How can I walk a hundred yards in it?? This was now occupying my mind more than the original thoughts, fears, and what-if’s that accompanied this venture. I was totally engrossed in the beauty of my surroundings, the feel of the water lapping against my legs, the varying layers of temperature in the flowing water, the breeze on my body, how free I felt. I did not have a single care in the world at this point. I am over 100-yards from shore, and free! It was wonderful! There was a train going up The Gorge on the far side river-bank. I was listening, and watching the wonderful train… then I realized I had never watched a train while nekkid before. And I knew that if I could see that train so clearly, the engineer, and crew could easily see me. But that was OK! Another wonderful freedom! Then I heard the nearby sound I had not noticed in all my bliss. Suddenly, I realized, that I am hearing the familiar sound of a Very Large Boat coming up river, and not far from where I was. In the split-second when I turned to look, I had hoped it was just a Tugboat pushing a few barges upriver.(because a Tug would only have one or two people on board that might see me) NOPE! It was Not Just a Tug with barges. It was The Biggest Sight-seeing Paddle-wheeler Tourist Boat that operated in the region! Here I was, standing in the shallow water with a four-story boat loaded with tourists! All on the outer balconies, and Waving, and taking pictures! I was petrified!! Suddenly, I am naked in front of Hundreds of people with cameras!! They were Happy, Waving, and taking pictures! The Boat Captain then blew his steam-whistle, too! At the sound of all the happy people, and the steam whistle, I relaxed (a little) and just stood there smiling, and waving as they went past... SO MUCH FOR NOT GETTING CAUGHT, HUH??? But the irony, I noticed, in being fully exposed, and vulnerable to hundreds of strangers was that they taught me a very valuable lesson. They accepted me. To them, I probably appeared to be the most free, and life-loving, relaxed person, just enjoying nature as God had made me. Not a single one of them looked scared, freaked-out, or somehow threatened by viewing a naked human playing in the water. They were happy to see me! This was new to me!
As the boat passed, it dawned on me that it was only a few yards out from where I was, so it must be deeper there. I began to wade out a bit, and found the drop! Yup! That is where the edge of the dredged-out shipping channel was, and I was in deep water. So I swam around and enjoyed what I was originally trying to do. After I was done swimming, I headed back toward the shore… More like "hiked back to shore" I was now very worn-out, and exhausted. As I made my way back to shore, I noticed that the bushes all along the shore is where all the people who were also using this beach were located...again, so much for not getting "caught", huh? By the time I got back to shore, I was tired, and had been in the sun a while, and decided I better cover-up, and head for home. I still was not ready to tell anyone, but that day turned out to be one of the most liberating, as far as casting off chains I had carried all my life. After that I made a habit of visiting the areas where others were enjoying the rivers, and lakes without clothes. I was getting very comfortable about my own body-acceptance.
That day turned out to be the best way to get over the nervousness. …Or so I thought… Next fear is overcoming the “being comfortably nekkid” in front of people you know. Getting up the courage to confront the “what-if’s” being seen nekkid by those who have gotten very familiar with you, and have never seen you without clothes, and will see you again after they see you nekkid. For example, Your Best Friend, whom happens to also be your roommate, and … you have managed to always be at least wearing a towel, when she walked-in. The person who when the topic ever came up, both of you were too mortified to talk about it. The person who knew you well enough to understand how much of a freak you were about anybody seeing you bare and vulnerable. We manage to build such walls around ourselves, and our closest friends accept those walls, and even help us build them. How on earth, could I manage to tear-down those walls, without causing a major wall to be built between us? How could she accept it, if she knew You, yourself never accepted yourself? The next full-year was filled with exactly that. My new-found freedom, was in fact another, newly-found prison. Turns out it is much easier to be Nekkid in front of people you do not know, and likely will never see again, than it is to be nekkid in front of people you know very well. So, How Did I manage to finally break down those barriers,and not push my best-friend away? I will continue this in another post.... where I will tell how the next year went, and how I approached the subject, broke down the walls, and learned to allow others to see me in a most-vulnerable, open way...flaws and all.
I Hope my writings help you in any way that you can find helpful. (or at least entertaining). Perhaps you have been conflicted about your own nekkid body? Maybe you are not at all interesting in finding such a freedom. If my writings help you to understand me, or someone else you know, then that is why I write. I love helping people, and this is one way I can do so…. Even without knowing the reader. I HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!! (and thanks for reading!) Jon ~=:-)
Update, September 7, 2011: Here is the Blog about how I first learned to enjoy naked, and how that freedom got taken away at age twelve. It also covers many of the events that led to who I am now, how I view life, and even why I always have more female friends than I do male friends. It is titled "The Joys of Naked, as a Child, Then Lost", and you can view it here: http://enterwithanopenmindorclosedeyes.blogspot.com/2011/09/joys-of-naked-as-child-then-lost.html
Update, September 10, 2011: Here is the blog about "Coming Out of the (Naked) Closet". This is what I went through in the year following this event. 2004, and 2oo5 was the absolute most diificult, yet also the most rewarding as I cautiously started tearing down those life-long barriers. In this blog, I discuss the torment of finally allowing yourself to be seen naked by your best friend. The Humor, the fear, the curiosities, and the final moment of "What-if's". That blog is here: http://enterwithanopenmindorclosedeyes.blogspot.com/2011/09/coming-out-of-naked-closet.html