In N Magazine

Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 7.56.05 PMI am published in the recent issue of N, the magazine of The Naturist Society. I wrote a story, titled “Born This Way,” about how I grew into who I am as a clothing optionalist. I had an aversion to being dressed all the time long before I heard the words “nudist” or “naturist,” but I didn’t have any context within which to put it. I talk about the journey on how I got from there to here. The photo to the right has one line from it.

When you submit an article, you agree that the magazine owns it for publication, so I encourage you to go get a copy of N or order it online when it becomes available on their site. It will be issue 38.3.  I am a member of TNS and the biggest perk I get are the intelligent and interesting articles found in the quarterly magazine, especially when my local alternative bookstore stopped carrying it.

Another great article is a review of this sociological piece from Res Publica, which argues in favor of making public nudity a right for all people. I plan to dive into the actual article itself, but if the 18 pages seem daunting to you, the 2-page review will hold your attention. Lastly, Will Forest, aka “The Nude Scribe,” has a great article about the nudist traditions of Brazil.

I don’t get out to clubs or to the regional gatherings at this point in time, but for me N is well worth the price of membership and I’m glad I joined a few years back after toying with the thought for a while. Grab a copy and enjoy.

Trees and Gardens

Screen Shot 2019-05-04 at 9.56.22 PMWhen I was a kid, Arbor Day held much more sway than Earth Day. We used to receive trees and have a small ceremony at school that honored the trees. But now, Arbor Day is an after thought and it is with great regret that even I missed mentioning it last week.

Trees are very special to all of humanity and indeed to naturists. While we humans use our intellect to trick ourselves into thinking we’re the be-all, end-all of beings, being among the trees can be humbling if we’re willing to be aware. My forays into nature, as a naturist, always puts me in awe of what is around me, because I become part of the natural landscape, not someone pushing conquest and dominance.

If you’re interested in the intersection of trees and naturism, I highly recommend you check out the Tree Spirit Project.

fullsizeoutput_b772On the heels of Earth and Arbor Days, today was World Naked Gardening Day. It’s cold in Vermont the first Saturday in May. Several years ago, WNGD took place in summer. Why it was moved to May is beyond me, but with a month of frost danger remaining, there’s very little gardening we do in these northern climes.

A couple years ago, I hung out with my garlic patch on an oddly warm first Saturday in May, but otherwise, WNGD is just not something I’ve been able to celebrate as intended. Watering a plant inside just doesn’t have the same feel to it, especially since that can be done at any time.

I hope you were able to enjoy WNGD. And if you were outside breathing deeply in nature, don’t forget to thank a tree.

This Earth Day

Though I’m not a fan of labeling myself, I always break out the term “naturist” on Earth Day. Nature’s right in there. And when I can be, I’m in nature.

And while I am heavily political in everyday life (waaaaay far to the left), I try not to bring too much of my politics here, because those of us in the clothing optional world need to come together as allies to our cause and not let our other beliefs get in the way of our cameraderie.

But for me, the climate crisis is not a political issue. It is a moral one and it is an emergency. To me, it is the number one issue facing humanity that we need to all weigh in on and solve, because while we might not see the brunt of it, the next generation certainly will. We can’t bicker about what has a 97% sceintific consensus. The climate crisis is acting up in our lives right now – from species die-off, flooding, superstorms, droughts, lost coast line, fires, higher temperatures.

I’m not going to debate the merits of individual proposals, because I don’t care how we get to mitigating the level of crisis we will experience. I just want to get there somehow. And for those of us who value our time in nature and who value experiencing it in our most natural form, I think we might be more keenly aware than most about what is being lost.

The best estimates don’t give us much time to get our acts together. So, let’s respect Mother Earth and remember that it’s not about saving the planet. Too much other garbage goes on, but we can work to preserve survivability for the upcoming generations and ensure that they might be able to pursue some semblance of happiness the way we’ve tried to in our lives.

Peace.

 

Vermont: Spring Naturist Events

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 4.58.21 PMSaturday, May 4th, is the northern hemisphere’s World Naked Gardening Day. That’s a tough sell in Vermont, when our frost-danger doesn’t even end for another month. When WNGD was first invented, I recall it was during the more reasonable summer months, but c’est la vie.

The parking lot at Harriman’s Reservoir and the long walk to the Ledges typically opens Memorial Day weekend. Last year, the fall closed out with a wasp infestation on the grounds of the (clothed) picnic areas near the parking lots. We didn’t see any wasps while we were there, but maybe we just got lucky. Hopefully it’s taken care of for this year’s enjoyment.

Then on Saturday, June 8th, the Montpelier World Naked Bike Ride will be taking place. A much more reasonable time of year, as by then we’ve started to consider putting up our air conditioner for when it gets really hot.

WNBR Montpelier will meet at Freeride, located at 89 Barre Street in Montpelier at 1:00 p.m. The ride will then kick off at 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy these events if you’re able to participate!

BMI vs. Body Positive Lifestyle Choices

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 1.45.14 PM

BMI Chart – Wikipedia

I am overweight. When I tell people that, they laugh. But, for how I feel inside my skin, I am probably 10-15 pounds above where I’d like to be. But even if I lost that weight, I’d still be overweight according to allopathic medicine.

My comfortable weight is about 10 pounds higher than where medicine would put me for my height. It also discounts any muscle that forms from exercise or the heavy lifting that comes with parenting. Indeed, the flawed metric Body Mass Index does not take muscle growth into account.

Recently, as part of an insurance-based physical, my BMI was calculated. Medically, I am overweight. Physically, I’m not 100% comfortable, but medically is what matters these days. A lot is judged based not on how I feel, nor on my blood tests, blood pressure, and healthy eating habits, but on a height to weight ratio that was devised in 1989. A lot of scientific understanding about health has happened in 30 years, but still, the medical establishment uses this outdated metric.

Oh wait, did you catch what I wrote above?

Silly me, BMI isn’t from the 1980s! It was actually devised between 1830 and 1850.

Can you believe that? We are generating important health data using a metric that began during a time when blood letting was still popular, when war wounds were cauterized on site and the injured had to bite on straps or sticks to help the pain, and when handwashing was seen as laughable to help prevent birth delivery deaths.

But here we are anyway. Using an ancient metric from an era when slavery still existed in the United States to quantify one’s health.

As we know, bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Healthy bodies can be small or large. Unhealthy bodies can be skinny or fat or in between. And science has advanced to look at our health at a micro level to determine what is healthy and what is not.

Very little can substitute for choosing the right food, getting the right amount of sleep, and jumping off the couch for activity. But it’s time we ditch the 1800s “metric” to classify whether we have work to do or not.

Self-care and self-acceptance will do more for our health than an outdated number from the era when Martin Van Buren was the hot name in politics.

Links about the flaws of BMI: