Letters To DOMAI
I want to thank you for all your hard work. I admit that I am not yet a member. Over a year of horrible employment (and UN-employment) experiences has seen to that. Even so, the portions of your site I have been able to experience have been of great value in my ongoing quest (see letter). I wish I knew better how to present the notion to others (especially lady friends) who would be initially convinced that SEX would be the only motivation to view NAKED. How do you convince someone programmed by our society that the nude form really is about more than sex or art?
Many insist they do not remember their early childhood but I am not among them. I do remember. I especially recall awkward and embarrassing moments that helped establish who I would become and created some of the partly self-imposed challenges I would face later in life. As a very young child (tiny enough to recall being bathed in the kitchen sink and just how far away the floor seemed) nudity was natural. I was comfortable with my body and with the world around me. Others were not so open-minded. A visiting family friend once saw my natural state and said My God, put some clothes on that child. She made a Big Deal about my nudity, making it clear *she* believed it to be somehow wrong. Her reaction startled and worried me. It did not seem to matter that, up until that point, I was quite content with my natural state. Later, when I began my first years of schooling, opportunities to briefly see others bits and parts occasionally occurred. But, remembering the shock expressed by the family friend, thinking there must be something wrong with it or with me I learned to look away; to fear the naked body to some extent, even my own.
Sometimes it takes only one bad experience to poison the well. I am extremely grateful that sites like Domai and the concept of Simple Nudes and natural beauty something beyond the body solely as a focus for art or sex exists and is gaining a much needed place in society. That wonderful middle ground is a great environment in which to learn and grow!
It took a great many years and a chance opportunity to challenge my own faulty assumptions. Throughout my school years I avoided involvement in sports as the locker room experience was pure hell not exactly a public place, but I was occasionally expected to be n-a-k-e-d, and had learned to feel vulnerable and uncomfortable with the idea. I was once sent home from summer camp because I seemed very distracted and distant. My closely guarded reason was a fear of public urination I would remain uncomfortable until a private opportunity for relief could be found. This was also rooted in that early childhood trauma. Even doctor visits were a minor form of torture. And all this fear and discomfort was for nothing.
When I turned 18 in the late 1970s I joined the Navy and was stationed in California for Basic Training. This also proved quite the challenge open communal urinals, exposed group shower stands and not even the illusion of privacy. Then I was given a gift the opportunity for my perspective to change
A friend of mine had heard about a local nude beach, just a short bus ride (and long hike downhill) away and asked if I wanted to go there. In spite of my anxiety, I was young, naive, and understandably curious and, not wishing to discuss my fear, agreed to join him in this "wicked and dangerous" adventure.
What an amazing experience! When we first arrived I was quite startled to see nude people of both genders and all ages... young, old, wrinkled, pale, bald and tanned scarred and tattooed (and painted!) and everyone seemed quite comfortable airing their differences. I tried not to be too obvious with my surprised glances. My friend and I, debating if we would really join this very different world, approached the idea in stages (jeans and shoes first leaving t-shirt and briefs as our connection to the real world) but, realizing we more uncomfortable being partially dressed, we went for it.
The experience was well worth it. By the end of the day I had met and talked with many interesting women and men, each a 'natural beauty' in their own right, tried out nude body surfing and could almost forget that nude could be anything *but* natural. I returned several more times that year and dont recall ever feeling so comfortable or so alive.
In the many years since then I have taken nearly every opportunity presented to explore the lingering vestiges of my early discomfort. That summer I had the chance to RE-learn that lack of clothing was not equal to lack of safety or of moral values. The experience gave me the courage to try (always with a certain degree of trepidation but with generally positive results) such things as modeling for life drawing classes at colleges and a local art gallery, attending an Earth Spirituality festival and participating in their optional Sky-clad ceremony around the bonfire and even visiting a nudist resort.
Strangely enough, that last experience seemed the least comfortable and most UN-natural. There was such an emphasis on the distinction between nudity and sex (another "Big Deal" message) that their claim of nude-and-natural seemed anything but natural leaving what would have otherwise been a comfortable experience feeling sterile and empty. Except for the lack of clothing, I could have been at church. A very boring church. I did not visit looking for sexual content but its seemingly total banishment and denial was almost painful.
Humans are by nature sensual beings. To insist otherwise is to continue to propagate the Big Deal mentality that nearly destroyed my ability to live, love, feel free and embrace the search for my true nature. My visits to DOMAI have helped me to heal. Nudity is at times still a challenging experience for me - though folks who know me might believe otherwise. I always worry most of all about how my improved understanding of the human forms true values will be perceived by others and their discomfort makes me uncomfortable - no matter how natural my choices may be. That is unfortunate but maybe, with the help of healthy body image sites such as DOMAI, the world will gradually become a more tolerant and natural place to be!
These are samples from the members' section. In fact only from this week's pages! And the pages go back to the nineties.