My last post ended with the news that I was going to visit a naturist resort. It's been a week and a half and I've been five times and anxiously await this weekend when I'll be spending Saturday and Sunday there. The owner has a camper which she rents out if you don't have your own RV, camper or tent for overnight stays.
I had discovered Hidden River Resort a few years ago as it's on the route which I take to get to the swamp but, at the time, my husband didn't seem enthusiastic about going so I dismissed the idea. Turns out he doesn't get enthusiastic about much of anything so maybe I should have just gone by myself but, then again, some things are meant for a certain time in our lives and my time seems to be now.
Britt and I enjoyed a visit to the swamp recently and, as we passed the area where I remembered the sign for Hidden River being, I didn't see anything. Thanks to my wonderful little computer I found out that it's still there and within a couple of days arrangements had been made for me to visit on that Saturday.
I'm sure some of you, when you were younger or even as an older person, have gone skinny dippin'. Rememer that feeling of freedom? Have you ever wandered around your house with no clothes on or, for women, topless when no one else is there? Yes? No? If you haven't, I suggest you give it a try at least once just to see what it's like. May be for you or maybe not. You'll get no judgments from me one way or the other because I just believe that we all need to feel free to do whatever is right for us without the baggage of our mother's values still clinging to us or the worry that we don't look like a model so we need to keep it covered up.
As for me, a few years ago we visited Antigua and I was able to swim topless. I'm not trying to be erotic when I say that I loved the way it felt to have my breasts free in the water. We keep them bound in bras for the better part of the day and I've always hated those damned harnesses but accept it as a part of what one has to do in today's society. Also, a couple of years ago we had the privilege of using my husband's parents' condo at the beach and I didn't put on clothes there unless we were expecting someone over. My situation now is that there seems to be someone in every corner of my house and I rarely am completely alone, either to feel the freedom to undress or to be alone with my thoughts.
"But, Sharon, you're not talking about being alone. You're talking about going to a place where other people will see you and you'll see them. That's different!"
Yes, it is different in some ways because this isn't just about feeling the freedom of being nude but the way I look at myself and my feelings that everyone else sees me as old and unattractive. I know you want to jump in here and tell me how silly that is and I know it but sometimes those voices in our heads have been there so long that it's hard to exorcise them
Over the past year I've lost weight and to be at my ideal I still need to lose a few more pounds. Some of my friends are telling me I need to stop now but I know there's more work to be done. However, recently I started to think about how much more do I need to lose to be happy with myself. As I've lost weight, I've become obsessed with certain aspects of my face. It seems like no matter how thin, or almost thin, my body gets the more all I see are the wrinkles in my face. Friends tell me to stop worrying about it but, well, I can't. Plain and simple. I've always wondered why people who are anorexic still see themselves as fat when they have become, what looks like to most of us, emaciated. Now I'm beginning to understand. So much of our lives are lived inside our own heads. Do we ever see the reality of our relationships or our appearance or are they just perceptions, ideas that live only in our minds, perceptions born of insecurities carried for a lifetime or ones that we've adopted to help us get through life the best way we can?
The part about seeing other people in the nude I'm going to leave for now and we'll talk about that next time. I need to change the way I look at myself, both physically and the woman within.
"Seems to me you could do that without taking off your clothes."
Believe me I've tried but my physical appearance has been an issue with me since I was a little girl. I think I've told you what my mother said once but it bears repeating to make my point, "Sharon, you'd better learn to cook because that's the only way you'll ever get a man." My father always compared me with my pretty cousins and I always felt that he was a bit ashamed of me when looked at beside his brother's two lovely daughters. Now, you'd think that over the 60 years of my life I would have been able to see the lie in all of this but, nope! My marriage did nothing to help me change this perception of myself and for 32 years I thought there was no passion because of my appearance and that my husband just stayed married to me because of our daughter and because...well, I wasn't really sure why he stayed married to me because he never told me.
My time here on OS has made some major changes in my life as some of you know but a recent event brought home to me very loudly and clearly that, when standing beside a younger, prettier woman, I lose every bit of confidence in myself. I realize, now that it's too late, that I'm underestimating the person looking at us and their values and that if it matters to them that the other woman is younger and prettier then they're not worth my time!!!
Anyway, bottom line is that I needed a shock treatment. I was like the non-swimmer who gets thrown into the middle of the pool and told to sink or swim only I threw myself instead of being tossed in by some half-drunk wise-guy who thinks he's being funny.
"So, sinking or swimming, Sharon?"
Darlin's, I'm here to tell you that Sharon is swimmin' just fine.
In fact, this experience has had such a profound effect on me that I'm not sure how to write about it. I'll try to come back in a couple of days and tell you what life is like at Hidden River since I'm sure some of you are curious but I wanted to give you a bit of background and to try to help you understand that this isn't some voyeuristic escapade but an important and very personal step in my life that I'm sharing with you.
Before I end today, though, I will share a big lesson that was hard for Life to get through my thick skull. There was the incident with me dropping my phone in the toilet, right? Well, the first day I was at the river my phone was my constant companion, always there in my tote bag. The second day, I locked my keys in my car with my phone, sunscreen, towels, everything except that I hadn't taken off my clothes yet. AAA didn't have a locksmith in the area so P had to leave work to come out and unlock my car. In my whole 60 years I have never done that! By the time he got there it had occurred to me as I sat in the grass playing with fallen pine needles that my head was free of thoughts of OS and home and FaceBook and that I was beginning to relax. The third day my phone was in my tote bag by the pool when I went to the car to get my lunch. I sat under the shelter and, as I finished eating, a person came along and we went for a walk in the woods and a dip in the river. As I approached the pool after our walk the horrible thought occurred to me that I had left my phone exposed to the sun all that time. Sure enough, there it lay on top of the towels with it's face to the sun. When I touched the screen a big triange appeared with the warning, "temperature, do not use until your phone cools off". My heart sank as I realized that I may have killed another phone. What a first class Idiot! I rushed to my car and after a bit of time under the air conditioner it came back to life.
Now, my phone stays in my insulated lunch bag in the car unless I want to listen to some music other than the crickets. My year on OS has been good for me in so many ways but, being the obsessive personlity that I am, I need to step back and free my mind, put all of the aspects of my life into perspective. It took three tries but Life finally got through to me.
Darlin's, have fun today if you don't do anything else.