There are two things that happen when you run naked into the ocean:
1. From your towel on the sand until your naked bits are fully immersed in cold, salty water you hold your breath because somehow, even though you know better and your mother told it wasn’t true, you still hope that not breathing will somehow make you invisible.
2. As you’re nearing the water- boobs and cooch out- you suddenly remember you’ll have to make the same trip back to your towel, making you wish you had ‘de-bushed’ with a little more effort in the shower that morning. Europe or not, being superbly manicured down there is a lot like breathing- it’s just necessary (plus, I’m pretty sure it makes you look thinner. But whatever.)
All in all, being naked on the beach went swimmingly and I’d highly recommend it to a friend.
(But for those wondering, ‘so, what’s the take-home message in all of this?’ keep reading.)
In the days leading up to my nudeness, I started to fret.
“Who the hell do I think I am?”
“Am I some closeted exhibitionist or something… something”
“Why am I being such a gaylord about all this?”
“Should I shave it off or just wax the sides?”
At one point the whole damn thing just started to overwhelm me and I started to doubt my plan, my List. Everything.
Doubt. I started to DOUBT, which is bad news all around, any way you slice it.
But then, somewhere between slipping off my bottoms beach-side and strutting into the water (ok, I didn’t strut.. but I definitely sauntered) I realized this:
Sometimes you have to shed a little something to get a little something. I decided that I could keep my suit on, covering the most vulnerable parts of me, or I could strip it away, head for the ocean and dive into an opportunity to wash the stench of self-doubt off me.
So dive I did.
Other things I did in the buff included (but were not limited to):
Jam out with the iPod to Prince. Of course.
Things I did not do (and highly advise against):
Chase my wind-blown hat down the beach
Yawn and/or sneeze
(All things the middle-aged man on the towel next to me did do, by the way.)
But even the darkest moments have their silver lining. Here are those take-home messages you’ve been dying for:
1. As I stood in awe of the middle-aged man pulling off these nuddie no-nos, I felt a certain ease knowing that I wasn’t the only one in the buff. When I surveyed this little stretch of beach, I saw there were others.. I was with my people. As they say, there is strength in numbers (and maybe even a little comfort) and there’s no harm in that.
2. Lately self-doubt has been creeping into all crevices of my life and when you’re naked I guess it can even get into the nooks you didn’t know you had. But that’s no reason to let doubt make you uncomfortable- like a wedgie, you’ve got to pick it out, and then move on- even if, every now and then, it means going commando.
In the end, I considered how much worse I would feel to sit here and write this post telling you how I chickened out, that I wasn’t a woman of my word. When it boils down to it, sometimes considering how you’ll feel if you don’t take the plunge is enough to tip the scales of self-confidence in your favor so you can at least try.
Once in a while you’ve got to tug on that string that’s tying you to your doubts- it’ll bind you up, hold you back and keep you down. You’ve got to find the strength to pull it loose and set yourself free…
Even if that string happens to be on the end of a bikini.