Since birth, we have been spoon-fed the idea that we aren’t good enough. Advertisement tells us we aren’t good enough. Entertainment tells us we aren’t good enough. Religion tells us we aren’t good enough. Politics tells us we aren’t good enough. School tells us we aren’t good enough. Hopefully, our parents provide the corrective, but some aren’t so lucky. Taken together, I’ve long called this the Inadequacy Industry.
The Inadequacy Industry chips away at our psyche. Makes us feel “less than” or that we need to improve something. There’s always something wrong with us. The confidence of a child running with abandon becomes the stressed out teen wondering why they have no friends becomes the exhausted adult putting in empty hours to get ahead becomes the midlife crisis that will be resolved through shopping for expensive things. Faster. Higher. Stronger. Better. And if you slip even once, remember this important thing…
You are not good enough!
What would we buy if we were good enough? Probably a lot less stuff. Because we’d truly be comfortable in our own skin. We wouldn’t need that cream or makeup or diet or dress or shoe or tie or car or gadget. The lawn could even have weeds!
So, is it any wonder people are a bit fearful of the exposure of nudism? I’m not even 100% comfortable in my skin. I find that while I lay off judging others, I am my harshest critic. I feel “fat” though ostensibly I’m not. And so what if I were anyway? Those couple sentences are ultimately what makes me an Inadequacy Industry Success Story. I know there’s nothing wrong with how any body presents, but still apply a rude and unrealistic standard to how I present.
My Success Story is that I’ve never felt like the best looking person in the room. I’ve often felt in the moment that I was hideous. Then I look back at pictures and wonder what on earth I was thinking. Why did I lack for confidence? And how did I try to resolve it? Better clothes, a gym membership I never used, running 90 miles a week, an obsessive viewing of the scale weighing myself 20 times a day.
That was half a lifetime ago, luckily, and I’ve been working ever since at becoming an Inadequacy Industry Failure. The body image issues are slow to dissipate, because they burrow into your brain when you’re most vulnerable. See, the Inadequacy Industry doesn’t just tell you you’re ugly, it tells you you’re unworthy of love and kindness because you haven’t yet fixed yourself. Why do diets fail? Why do exercise regimes fail? Because the Industry doesn’t want you to truly be better, because then it’s funding would run out. So, you do the brief fix, but you’re still not happy since now you’re malnourished, underfed, and still haven’t received messaging that you are good, decent, wonderful, and worthy.
For me, embracing my nudist self has helped to shift it. It’s not gone completely, but we have a diverse community that is accepting of one another where they are in their journey. We have the friendliest and most encouraging community of people I’ve ever met. The openness to each other and the welcome nature of folks within the nudist community can provide the richness of spirit the Inadequacy Industry fails to provide while profiting off of our misery. Perhaps nudists are frowned upon, because on the whole, we have already rejected the messaging of the whole Industry.
In that rejection is when we heal. That is when we find the courage to love ourselves for who we are. That is when we embrace ourselves as perfect as we are. Because we’ll never add up to those who have monetized our self worth. And by failing at their game, we succeed where it matters most.