Each year, my fiancé and I take a beach vacation. This year was no different. We had a little trouble deciding where to go until I remembered a couple of friends and of ours went to a nude beach earlier this summer. A nude beach?! I needed more information. I reached out to my friends to learn about their experience and did some research on my own and decided, yes! A nude beach! We shared the idea with a few people and heard everything from "you seem like the type who would go to a nude beach." And "I could never go a nude beach! You are brave!" I didn't give the idea much thought until we were actually on the beach, looking for a place in the sand. I thought to myself "I am definitely going topless, but I need to peep the scene before I remove my bottoms."
That thought, in and of itself, was a huge shift in my internal conversation about my body. Throughout middle and high school, I believed that I was not enough, because of the size of my breasts. They were, and still are, small. I compared myself to other girls daily. I felt ashamed of myself and made up all these ideas about what it meant to be a woman with small breasts. I would say things to myself like "I will never find a boyfriend, boys only like girls with big boobs." I felt that clothes didn't fit me properly. I even thought that I would never be seen as sexy, all because I decided to define myself by my cup size based on society's standards of what a "real" woman is. Over the years, after learning how to love myself and no longer allowing societal norms to dictate how I feel about my body, I have learned to love my body the way it is and especially love my breasts. Being comfortable with being topless on a beach confirmed all the work I have done.
Meanwhile, back at the beach, we walked passed a couple of signs that alerted uninformed beach goers that you might encounter folks with no clothes on, beware! We found a spot on the hot sand, put down our towels, set up our umbrellas and took in the view. Quite a view it was! I didn't have expectations about how the other beach goers would look, if they would look at me, or how they would be behaving. I was mainly focused on how I would feel. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, I felt extremely comfortable. I immediately removed both the top and the bottom of my bikini and settled in. The beach was not crowded, which could be expected for a Friday afternoon. Everyone seemed to be doing their own thing, minding their own business, as was I. We laid out in the sun for a bit, then headed for the ocean. The water was warm and enveloping. I didn't think it would feel much different from wearing a swimsuit, but it did. It felt more freeing.
On the last day of our trip, we returned to the beach. This was when things "got real" for me. I felt even more comfortable on this day than the time before, mainly because I had been there before so some of the initial nervousness had evaporated. I actually noticed the people around me this time. Not that I was staring at them or what they were doing, rather, I was acknowledging their presence. I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the women on the beach. They were of all shapes, sizes, and ages. And each one of them appeared to be happy and comfortable in her own skin. This was a powerful moment for me. To be in the company of so many women, wearing nothing but their skin, and being perfectly happen, even proud, was breathtaking. As I am sure you are aware, society has very limiting beliefs about women and the way we chose to live our lives. If you do not fit into a certain size, look a certain way, wear certain clothes, then in the eyes of many, you need to change to fit what it means to be a woman. When the generally accepted idea of beauty is the total opposite of how you look, it can take an immense toll on your self-esteem, confidence, and overall experience of life. Allowing conversations that are not your own to become your own can be harmful especially if those conversations are tearing you down. I can say for certain, that all the women on the beach that day had a much different conversation. Sometimes it takes leaving your comfort zone to show you who you truly are. Being nude, on a beach full of strangers is definitely out of most women's comfort zones, but it might be just what is needed to shift your internal conversation about your body. To shift your body talk. I'm not suggesting that you all take the next flight to a nude beach. Find your own beach. Where can you comfortably remove your clothes, all of your clothes, and be present with yourself, with the lights on, and just be? I challenge you to find that place and be.
Love, peace, and flow