I try to be naked as often as possible.
With friends. At Coffee shops. With my clients. At home. In public…Naked.
I think I’m naked right now, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell. It’s hard to be naked when everyone around you is fully clothed. I write best when I’m naked. My heart pumps my soul through my fingers—exposed—for the world to judge the size of my…character.
If everyone was naked, it wouldn’t be so bad. We wouldn’t look away in shame from each other’s private places or try to hide our own. Maybe we wouldn’t be so scared to talk about the scars we conceal with all these fancy clothes.
Fashion is just a special way of hiding in plain sight, and we’re so good at celebrating all the beautiful ways that we hide.
Strike a pose.
I wear strong leather boots with a rugged leather sole. I tell you it’s because I like their manufacturing and because I like the guy who makes them. All this is true. And all that truth conceals my desire for you to see me as a man with a rugged soul.
Oops, I meant sole.
I’m worried if you see my bare feet, then you’ll see where they’ve been. I’m afraid to let you see where I stepped off my path and picked up that scar that serves as a constant reminder that I am a traveler and not the destination. I’d much rather be the destination.
Travelers make mistakes and change course, get robbed, lose their passports and miss flights. Destinations stay in one place, and everyone shows up to take selfies with them.
Every day, I talk to naked people who think they have clothes on. They’ve been stripped bare by the pain of neglect or abandonment. They’ve been betrayed, cheated on, left and hurt. So they clothe themselves with resentment or anger, clothes that don’t fit very well. They sit on my couch and despair over a lover they don’t recognize with all these new clothes.
It’s hard to make love with clothes on.
Sometimes I have to get naked before they will, to let them know it’s safe. That’s sort of against the rules, but it’s the only way to get anything done.
Someone has to go first.
I want to be naked and unashamed like I was before I went to middle school and discovered that you’re not cool unless you wear Abercrombie & Fitch.
I want to hang out with naked people. Life would be more interesting that way. We could all go to shiny places in the city and talk about our dreams without playing those social games that tie us up in knots of fakery.
If everyone was naked, then we wouldn’t have to wonder whether we could be real because we’d all be taking the same risk. All our vulnerabilities would dangle out there together, and no one would judge because judgment is armor, which defeats the purpose of being naked.
I like those bumper stickers that say we should party naked. I think that would be a fun party. Afterward, we should all go to church.
If there was ever a place that needed more naked people, it would be church.
I always think about my clothes when I go to church. A preacher once told me that church is the one place where you can leave all your burdens at the door. I never understood that. It’s like there wasn’t enough room for all of us and our burdens so one of us had to stay outside.
This is probably why I spend my time at coffee shops. I never knew how to let go of my burdens.
I’m going to start a coffee shop for naked people. In my coffee shop, clothes are optional and burdens welcome. We’ll strip away all manner of pretense and imbibe the bold flavors of vulnerability. We’ll sip on authenticity and fast from all the ways we do violence to each other out there in the world.
No shoes. No shirt. No problem.
We’ll give ourselves permission to hurt so we don’t clothe ourselves with rage. We’ll show compassion for our failures. We’ll tell stories and laugh. We’ll cry and that’s okay. We’ll weep and that’s okay. We’ll meditate, or pray, or ask questions about the world. And we’ll spend as many days as we can together, burdened and bare.
Because life is more memorable when you’re naked.
Author: Mathis Kennington
Editor: Renée Picard
Image by Robin Robokow on Flickr.