I’ve been attending clothing-optional pagan gatherings for many years. While a few people go nude all the time (and almost everyone skinny-dips in the pool), and a large minority of women go topless, the majority of the people stay fully dressed. While nudity is accepted at these events, the few full-time nudists definitely stand out as a tiny minority.
Now, I’ve always loved being nude. I’ve been been a secret naturist since I was a kid, a home nudist since college, and a social nudist for about 5 years now. I’ve gone on nude hikes and canoes trips with my nudist club, where we’ve encountered textiles. And I’ve been going to pagan gatherings for 20+ years, and have always skinny-dipped in the pool. I’m totally comfortable being nude among textiles now – so long as their are other nudists with me.
But it took me a long time before I became bold enough to go skyclad all the time at pagan gatherings.
That’s because when I do, I’m often the only person nude in my local vicinity.
Even now, after many years of going skyclad as much as weather permits, I still need to work up some boldness to do it when 95% of the people around me are wearing something. It’s totally different from the sense of naturalness in being nude at at nudist club. There’s a definite feeling of being the odd one out, of being exposed, of fear that people may react negatively.
In fact, I’ve only had negative reactions once – from pagans who came from another country where clothes are definitely NOT optional, even at pagan events. Everyone else has always been accepting. Most people never appear to even notice that I’m nude (though I know they do) – and the few that do mention it are always positive. (Though sometimes jokingly. When I came out of the non-CO dining hall once and didn’t take off my pareo immediately, one friend asked if I was okay or not ).
When I go skyclad at gatherings, I quickly become comfortable about being nude among textiles. But I’m always aware that I’m in a very small -and highly visible! – minority. I still have work up some boldness before venturing nude into the crowds – just like I used to have to do before walking onstage in front of a huge audience.
However, I always work up that boldness, if only as a point of honor. I’m one of the few actively nudist pagans at my local gatherings, and I want to provide moral support for other people who may want to try it too – but like me, don’t want to be alone.
Many years ago, I watched the few always-skyclad pagans at gatherings, and wished I was brave enough to join them. It took many years, but finally, I did. I feel that I would be failing them if I didn’t continue their tradition.
And maybe, with luck, I’ll inspire others to become nudists, just as they inspired me.