Monday, June 04, 2007


Speaking of "swimming naked" (see Inertia)...

Dan has taught me to enjoy being naked. Before I got married, I was afraid of it. Seriously. I felt self-conscious getting into the shower -- which was really the only time I allowed myself to be nude. I slept fully clothed, only went skinny-dipping once (only to see what I was missing, and ended up decided it wasn't for me), and dreaded the day when my future husband would have to see me undressed. I hoped that we could keep the lights out whenever possible. Perhaps this was the purpose of lingerie? To be "undressed" without having to be quite so naked? I don't have a perfect body -- quite far from it, in fact. Yet I told myself that women the world over -- the majority anyway -- feel the same about their bodies, and manage to be naked sometimes.

Where is the Marci who as a child could barely keep her clothes on? I was scolded frequently for casting off my clothes willy-nilly and running about the neighborhood. Or streaking through church.

From infancy to when I was about 8 years old, it continued. It doesn't take a lot of effort to find pictures of me partially-clothed. Simply flip through one of our family albums prior to 1984, and before long, you'll stumble upon a tenacious girl clad only in pigtails, tights, and shoes. Turn a few more pages and you might find me in jeans with my hair loose and long in a stream of golden brown hair cascading over my naked back. I felt like a hippie-indian-princess, whatever that is. Something wild and untamed and unconcerned with the "rules for young women".

Where is she? Gone for many years, but now she is blissfully asleep in her turquoise bed, or awake and scrubbing the toilet wrapped in a towel, or perhaps clad in a slip and cooking breakfast. I've spent the last hour lounging around in a swath of orange cloth. The fabric is sheer and soft, but not like silk -- not smooth. It's like old skin and nylon. It tucks and holds easily -- making me feel clothed, but not clothed. Vibrant as a sunset, patterned like the shell of a tortoise or the hide of a giraffe, I feel wild, like Africa.

Is this inappropriate? Is it risque? I hope not - for that is not what I feel. I feel that something has awakened in me -- a freedom that has been dormant in me since childhood. She is not dead, this free little girl. She was hiding, and my husband has found her and through his tenderness and acceptance, has given her life, and it feels like a gift to me. To be at home in my own skin is to be at home in myself. He nurtures this in me, and I feel it will not be long before the fears and insecurities that have dominated my adulthood will fade, like the night to the dawn.