At the invitation of a local newspaper editor Bill Schroer began writing a column in 2013 which addressed nudism and naturism. These columns reflect Bill’s view of naturism and it is hoped by reprinting the columns and then sharing his original blog posts, viewers will see the link between Bill’s philosophy of living as a nudist/naturist and the resulting world of Nuance Naturist B&B. In effect, Nuance Naturist B&B is an outcome of Bill’s years of thinking and dedication to the naturist ideal.
Ann just spent 30 days taking pictures of her (nearly) naked body in public places and posting them on the Internet. The “Be Beautiful” project was inspired by a woman deciding to stop accepting the media and society’s judgment about her and fight back. This woman weighs 311 pounds. And, by her own admission, “…having been a woman of size my entire life raised in poor, suburban, white American culture my core belief systems are steeped in shame and invisibility.”
The weight of those last words…. “shame and invisibility” is enormous. There cannot but be an impact on one’s self-esteem, self-worth and the ability to lead a healthy, productive life for someone like Ann. But what makes her unique is not her size or that set of self-destructive beliefs…it is her recognition of this corrupting influence and her forceful, demonstrative action to take it on. There are millions of women and men like her. With 65% of adults and 30% of children overweight and 30%
of adults and 15% of children diagnosed as obese this is an issue of epidemic proportions. Many suffer as Ann does…feeling..shamed and invisible. Health outcomes are problematic for those overweight or obese, but the mental health cost is staggering. Because being “shamed and invisible” is a prescription for paralysis, the inability to address problems and to feel good about yourself or others. It frames an outlook of failure, can lead to a suboptimal life lived at the margins and leads to an existence
of quiet, unremitting despair. Ann’s triumph is in her ability to break through the concrete mold of defeat that jacketed her. Ann’s nearly nude assault on the public was the explosive charge she needed to break through the force field holding her prisoner. Her “…challenging the internalized belief that I am lacking desirability because of the size of my body is a necessary service to my work..” is the jackpot. Ann nailed it by going after the 5,260 attractiveness messages per year that say “If you don’t look like this…you are
not attractive…your body is shameful, you are invisible.” She is countering with her public display and “loving all 311 pounds of my glorious body out loud in public.” What makes me inspired and hopeful about Ann’s story is she is starting at the right place…not at health and longevity….and not in becoming beautiful. It is about being beautiful as you are. It is an important distinction as in any spiral of “the worse it gets the worse it gets..” one has to know what lever will stop the merry-go-round. For her…(and I believe for many men
and women) the exit from the train of shame is the acknowledgment her body is beautiful and worthwhile as she is. From that springboard of loving oneself comes the ability to love others. This principal of body acceptance is fundamental in the nudist community. Many people with unusual body shapes, scars or disabilities have found by taking your clothes off you are accepted for who you are. No shame, no invisibility. When everyone around you is nude you realize all is visible….there are no perfect bodies and all bodies are accepted as they are.
It is at this point Ann can begin to make the calm and dispassionate decisions about what, if anything to do about the shape of her body. She may decide to diet, or change her eating habits, or work out.
Or she may decide to continue to live as she does. But she will have taken control of her life, her self-esteem and her self-worth.
And, she will have rejected the notion that others, the media or society can label her, shame her or ever make her invisible again.