Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Get Naked

I grew up in what is by modern standards, a big family. I had three brothers and two sisters whom all shared one bathroom for much of our growing up.
"The girls" shared a bedroom on one side of the bathroom, and "The boys", shared the room on the opposite side. Showers before school every morning were a mad dash of naked bodies and wet hair between our bedrooms and the bathroom, much to my mother's dismay.
There are only 8 years between my older brother and my youngest brother, with four kids three of us girls, between. As we all were approaching adolescence and pre -adolescence together, my parents made a rule that we could no longer go between our bedrooms and the bathroom naked, dressed in a towel, or in our underwear to shower. We went to the bathroom, fully dressed, showered, and then dressed again before leaving the bathroom. With six of us this took a lot of time and therefor showers were very short.
I would strip down, scrub everything as fast as I could, dry off and get dressed. As a teenager I was hoping for a few minutes to do my hair and make-up before I had to relinquish the bathroom to the next guy.
This quick-wash-n-go method became habit and as I got older, moved out, and eventually didn't have those rules any more, I didn't break it.
Even after I was married, I could be in and out of the shower in 7 minutes flat. My husband actually taught me the bounties of being in a long, hot shower. He can stay in the shower for hours if the hot water doesn't run out. He relaxes, prays, contemplates the eternities, and has profound breakthroughs, all while being alone with himself and completely naked.
I don't know if it came as a result of my mother teaching me to cover my nakedness as quickly as possible, or if it came from my own body issues but I was never comfortable naked. Even alone, even behind closed doors,even metaphorically.
One of the great benefits of being in love with my best friend is the privilege of being safe, loved, and my true self with him...naked.
While being his wife provides the benefits of physical nudity, even more than that, it provides the safety of being emotionally naked. He loves me when I'm sick, ugly, broken, defeated, and desolate. I am raw, and he is the balm for my sadness.

Our society tells us to be free. Free to wear what we want, act how we want, use our bodies however we want, nakedness is to be celebrated. Is it possible, we long to be loved and accepted in a way that makes emotional nakedness a beautiful expression of our inner selves, but we choose to be physically naked to gain appreciation, approval, and acceptance because our spirits are too fragile to be emotionally naked.
I had a friend tell me how disconcerting it was for him to be around me, because I don't worry about what other people think. He said it frightens and unnerves him to see me so vulnerable and oblivious at the same time.
I take it as a compliment. All of those years ago, I hated myself, my body, my rebellious heart, and my emotional perception of my self. I was never comfortable naked. I went through periods of time in my life when physical nakedness changed my perception of my soul, but my emotional nakedness is what changed my perception of my body.
Now, if you were to be a fly on the wall of my house, you'd find me taking long showers, hot baths, walking around after my kids have gone to school, and lying in bed...naked.
You would also find me on my knees, reading my scriptures, writing what's in my heart, and loving my family...emotionally naked.
The love of my Savior, the acceptance of my imperfections by My Father In Heaven and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, humbles and awe's me when I feel his arms around me. It is the most naked I am. It is the most beloved I'll ever be.

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