The Naked Truth about Sleep

Sleep. It should be a girl’s best friend, as we all know about the importance of beauty sleep. But what about those of us who have magic beds that we get into exhausted then instantly give us the energy to run a marathon? That happens with me all too often.

Like many nudists, my sleep struggles are heightened when having to sleep with clothes on. The benefits of sleeping au naturale are pretty well-known in the nudist community and include better body temperature regulation, increased comfort, and just plain convenience. Yet there are times when we must be clothed for bed, like it or not.

For me, one of the times I have to sleep fully clothed is when visiting relatives. Last week I had the joy of visiting and babysitting my nine-year-old niece, Mackenzie, who is just about as cute a kid as they make. Though I was looking forward to seeing Kenzie, I was also a bit nervous because when I drive 5 hours out to her home, it seems my sleep stays right here. Translated: guess who’s wide- awake/ without sleep during every visit out there? Yep, this chickie right here.

But, alas, I’m proud to say that I found solutions to the sleep issues while visiting my family! Eureka! First, I made a new friend named Miss Melatonin. She helped me with the hormonal side of things when it comes to sleep (or that’s what I was told about Melatonin, anyway, when trying to figure out if taking it was a good plan; I’m told that Melatonin does some hormonal thing that gets the sleep cycle straightened out.) Second, I had a nine-year-old who was a ball of energy in my care. That meant not much sitting down. Instead, we hit the amusement park, movies, mall, restaurants, box store, playground, and any other fun place we could find. When we were home, we swam, climbed trees, built box castles, baked, and just plain stayed so active that by the time my head hit the pillow each night, it stayed put… perhaps because it knew that was the only time it could be still.

My cure for sleep problems was Melatonin and a nine-year-old. The Melatonin is available in many stores. If you don’t have a nine-year-old of your own, I’m willing to bet that you can find a friend or family member who will donate theirs to you for a few days to help you in your quest for exhaustion. Unless the child is a member of a nudist family, you’ll have to be dressed but, well, some people are just worth putting clothes on for!

Nighty-night!

Irreconcilable Differences?

It’s a rainy Saturday here in Upstate NY, a good day to catch up on things, including this blog. Life has been busy and I haven’t had much time to even thinking about blogging.

Today’s blog is regarding a topic that has been heavy on my mind lately: conflicting emotions and nudist locations. Being a person who works with children who have mental illness, I know a few things about emotions. I’m certainly no expert on the subject, but I feel like I have some knowledge of it nonetheless.

As humans, we can have mixed emotions at times. We can be sad and angry, we can be joyful and proud. But some emotions just don’t seem to be compatible. Take, for instance, fear and joy. I’m seeing those two as one or the other most of the time. If you’re scared of something it’s really hard to feel joy.

Which brings me to the topic on my mind: how do people enjoy being at a nudist location if they’re scared? I know the first-timers fear of what will happen and during that fearful stage there really isn’t a lot of joy. This is typically overcome quickly and people see the joy in social nudism. Other fears seem to be on-going for some people. Take the fear of being “found out,” that is, that people will find out you’re a nudist. If people are feeling this fear, I’m sure there’s a reason. I don’t discount their fear- there are families who will reject you if you’re a nudist, some people’s jobs could be lost if they’re found out, and some spiteful exes may try to take the children as a result. These are real fears. If every camera that you see or every phone conversation that you overhear makes you fearful, can you really enjoy yourself at a nudist location? Maybe people can, but I just don’t see how. Again, I don’t judge the fears, I just don’t see how people can be so scared as some people appear to be and enjoy themselves. I have to wonder why they come to a nudist place if it’s so fearful.

I don’t know if my own thoughts on nudist places are the norm or the abnormal. Anyone who googles my name will see that my name is linked to AANR and AANR-East all over the place and all of my family knows that I’m a nudist, so I guess that I’m “out” more than most. Yet I’d prefer that my employer not receive naked pictures of me; I live in NY and we are a free-will employment state, which means they can terminate my employment for no better reason than they don’t like the color of my shirt. I don’t want to lose my job but I’m not terribly afraid of that- there’s other jobs out there should that happen. I don’t fear cameras that I can see that are clearly not pointed at me, but I am aware that there are satellites taking photos all the time, for Google Earth, for example, and I am aware that these satellites could very well capture pictures of me in my nude state. This is just life.

There are many things in life that are scary and I’ve experienced many of them. Perhaps this is why I don’t have a high level of fear of “exposure,” either through pictures or word of mouth. I know that I can’t be scared and be joyful and when I’m at a nudist location, I choose to be joyful. I don’t want to get into the camera/ cell phone issue yet again, but I’m wondering if anyone out there can provide insight to me on their choice to participate in social nudism even though they’re scared of being “found out” because I just don’t understand how it can be fun if there’s so much fear involved. Any ideas?

*** Be sure to subscribe to the AANR-East eNewsletter, which I edit, by clicking HERE.

Embrace Small Business Saturday

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, which was followed by Black Friday.  This year there was much controversy about stores opening on Thanksgiving.  On the one hand, it thinned out the crazy Black Friday crowds by spreading the sales out a bit.  On the other hand, it hardly seems right that people have to work on Thanksgiving, a day when we should all have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.  In my eyes, having stores open on Thanksgiving is just another example of corporate greed gone too far.  Those who are in charge of our big-name stores don’t care about the employees who are working their butt off on Thanksgiving and risking their safety and sanity to serve customers on Black Friday.  Today I read in the paper that many employees at these big chain stores receive Food Stamps and other Social Service benefits to supplement their small pay, even though they work full-time.

Thankfully, Black Friday is followed by Small Business Saturday.  This is the first year I’ve heard of Small Business Saturday, perhaps in part because I know so many small business owners this year.  Small Business Saturday is a day in which we celebrate the small businesses in our communities by shopping and buying local.  Upon learning about Small Business Saturday, I made a decision this year: all of the gifts that I give will be either handmade or purchased at small businesses.  These are people who are right around me and whom I can support.

Today’s visit to one small business reminded me of exactly why I am going to continue to shop local.  The beauty salon where I have my hair done, Inside Out Beauty Consulting, which is located in Cohoes, NY, had a Holiday Open House today.  Upon entering, I heard the owner, Danielle, talking with one of her employees.  The employee had a personal issue that needed to be attended to and the compassion shown to this employee was a model of how every business should operate and how most every small business that I’m aware of operates.  In a small business, we see people interacting with people, not a corporate group managing employees. There is a difference and that difference is called love.  Of course, this only makes me love my beauty salon even more- please feel free to check them out if you’re in the area.

What does this have to do with nudism?  Everything!  All of the nudist camps and clubs that I know of would be in the category of a small business.  These are people who work with people rather than corporations managing employees.  When you go to a nudist location you are supporting a small business owner who has a dream of owning a nudist club.  That nudist club probably acts as a family in supporting each other and helping each other out.  From those I’ve talked with who work at their nudist camp and from my own personal experience, the owners treat their employees with the love, compassion, and humanity that every person deserves.

As Small Business Saturday comes to its conclusion, let’s remember that we can support our nudist businesses any day of the year.  If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a nudist friend or family member, why not consider a gift of an AANR Membership or money to be used in paying day fees at their local club?  Buying from Small Businesses: it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Thankful for My Health

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  This year I have so very much to be thankful for.  Like many of you, I’m very thankful for my family and friends, especially those who embrace nudism with me. But this year is special because this is the first year that I can be truly thankful for my health.  My journey to health began back on June 1, 2012 when I met with my Health Coach, Kevin Daugherty of Greater Life Health Coaching, for the first time.

Who knew that trying to find a way to like vegetables would change my life completely?  Not me!  In addition to loving veggies now, I have also learned so much about taking care of myself, being a positive part of the world around me, how exercise can be fun, and how to handle stress effectively.  Oh, and I guess I shouldn’t overlook the 40+ pounds that I’ve lost, right?

With Thanksgiving coming this week we all know that food will be everywhere.  As such, I decided to give thanks to the universe by sharing some of my favorite websites that offer healthy options/ healthy living so that you, too, can thank your body for giving you another year to party it up with your nudist family!

Greater Life Health Coaching- This is where it all began.  Kevin Daugherty is a certified Holistic Health Coach and he has truly changed my life in mind, body, and spirit.  Kevin is located in Saratoga Springs NY but is available to meet with you via phone or Skype.  He offers a free consultation (we all can afford that!), so be sure to contact him.  Oh, and tell Kevin I sent you- I get rewards for referring people to his awesomeness!
Website: www.greaterlifehealth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevin.daugherty.1?ref=ts&fref=ts

Healthy Homemakers/ Get Crunchy- This site and Facebook page belongs to my friend Kristin, who was a model of health to me well before I understood what being healthy meant or why it is important. The site has awesome information and really great recipes to share- perfect for turkey day coming up!
Website: http://crunchygirls.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HealthyHomemakers

Institute for Integrative Nutrition Meditation Page- When I’m having a rough day, I’ll often take a few minutes to click on this page for a short meditation experience to help calm my soul.  It really does help and I’d recommend it to anyone!
Website: http://www.integrativenutrition.com/go/meditation-video

Couch 2 5K Running Program- One thing that I’ve learned through this process is that I LOVE running. I’m not at marathon level yet, but this program has been really beneficial to me in gaining the momentum to be the runner that I know I can be.
Website: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/C25Kplan?ref=ts&fref=ts

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead- This is an amazing movie! The movie talks about a man named Joe Cross who had all sorts of illnesses and used juicing to cure himself.  I was inspired by his story and my juicer is in the mail as we speak.  Juice on!
Website: http://www.hulu.com/watch/289122

Joe Cross- The man from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead has a website about juicing and a Facebook page, too.  You’ll want to check them out!
Website: http://www.jointhereboot.com/plans/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joethejuicer?ref=ts&fref=ts

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, Friends!

Hot and Cold and Naked All Over

Call me a New Yorker- because I am one- but cold just doesn’t get to me. We as nudists talk a lot about “we’re nudists, not morons” when it comes to the question of what we do in the winter, namely do we go outside nude when the temperatures are cold. But what about those of us who just don’t get cold very easy?

Today is a good example of the true me coming out. The temperature outside was around 44 this morning as I went outside to do some yard work. I started off with sweatpants and a short-sleeved shirt on because of the temperature. Within a short time, though, I was hot. Granted, I was working hard doing physical things like tearing a ramp apart, raking, cutting a rose bush, etc., but I was just downright hot! Suffice it to say, the clothes came off shortly thereafter and my work got done at a more comfortable temperature for me.

I have to wonder what causes me to want the clothes to come off outside when it’s only in the low 40’s (with a RealFeel temperature even cooler.) Am I just a person who really loves being nude? What causes me to not get cold easily? Is this normal?

On the flip side, the summer comes and that’s nudist weather up here in the Northeast: 70’s- 90’s are the norm for the summer. For me, the 70’s are fine but the 80’s are pretty darn hot. When it starts hitting the 90’s or higher, I want to hibernate with my air conditioner on. Strange? Perhaps, but I never claimed to be normal.

How about you- at what temperature do you like clothes on? Any idea if that might be related to the temperature you’re used to or what makes you most comfortable at certain temperatures?

Random Thoughts on Life

I realized today that it’s been quite a while since I posted on this blog so I should probably throw some updates out at you and maybe get some discussion going again. There is no connection between my topics today, it’s just the hodge-podge that’s going on in my head and an update on what I’ve been up to:

Me: I’m continuing to work on my health and am doing GREAT. At this point I’m down around 35 pounds and am continuing to lose weight each time I weigh in. I’ve taken up running and am will start Week 3 of the Couch to 5K Program on Friday. I also go to Country Line Dancing Lessons on Tuesdays and Tap Dancing on Wednesdays. Who knew that I’d start a dance life at age 37??? I’m learning that health isn’t just about eating right and exercise- that’s just the body stuff. Health is in the mind, body, and spirit and I’m really growing in each of these areas. Those 35 pounds I’ve lost are most likely pounds of stress, anxiety, guilt, fear, and confusion. My Health Coach, Kevin Daugherty of Greater Life Health Coaching, has been such a huge help to me and I would recommend him to anyone. Though he’s in the Upstate NY area, he works with people via phone and Skype, too, so be sure to contact him if you want real help in changing your life.  Be sure to tell Kevin I sent ya!

YNA: I love Young Naturists America and the recent blogs have been of great interest to me. The newest one by Jordan about the death of Amanda Todd really struck home for me. If we are not a part of the solution of teen suicide, harassment, and bullying, then we are part of the problem. I have committed to being a part of the solution- how about you?

Young Adult Nudists: Some would say that I’m no longer a young adult nudist- I’m too old- but I have a heart for this group and feel very much like I belong when I attend events. There is a summit coming up to discuss the young adult nudist movement and how everyone can work together. I won’t personally be attending this summit, but I look forward to hearing about the progress that is made within it.

AANR: I now have a column in the AANR Bulletin called No Strings Attached and talks about being a single nudist. It’s been a fun adventure to write the monthly column. If you have any ideas for me to consider for the column, I’m all ears.

AANR-East: I’m happy with many of the changes that have taken place in our region, AANR-East. The website is constantly changing to better serve those who visit it and I’m happy to see change. Also, the Facebook page has gone through some positive changes and is increasingly active. If you haven’t liked the AANR-East Facebook Page, this is a good time to do so. I continue to work at Editor of the Speaking Naturally from AANR-East eNewsletter and enjoy that job greatly. The November eNewsletter is coming along nicely and will include some great pictures of the autumn!

Camp Life: Camp has closed for the season and I miss my people! During the summer I so enjoyed just wandering down the lane to visit friends and I do miss that. I’m happy, though, that I can head down to the big field with my pup, Little Bare, to play fetch, though: we both love that!

Little Bare: Pup is doing great! I haven’t figured out what she’ll be for Halloween yet but I suppose I’d better figure it out soon. Bare loves to go running with me each day and her training is coming along well. These days, we often go for walks and I just drop the leash because she stays with me so nicely. She loves fetch and visits from my niece and nephew, too.

I think that’s all for now. Life is good on this end and I’m busy LIVING rather than just writing about life. If you live in the northeast, take some time to notice the beauty of the changing leaves and enjoy the miracles of the world all around you. I know I will be.

Be well friends!

Melissa

Wanted: A Man with Character

Since people ask me what I’m looking for in a man, I’ve decided to compile a list so that potential applicants know what requirements they need to meet should they apply.  If you do not meet all of the following requirements, your application will quickly land in the world wide web’s circular file:

  • Is a nudist.
  • Likes country music (bonus points for knowing all the words to either Through the Years or Red Solo Cup.)
  • Sees Mister Rogers as a hero, just as I do.
  • Can agree to disagree without hard feelings or temper tantrums.
  • Eats normal healthy food.  That is, I can identify everything they eat.
  • No illegal drugs or alcoholism.
  • Spending an afternoon with a bucket of bubble solution and a bubble wand equals utopia.
  • Shows respect for my family- they’re the only family Ive got and they’re a little quirky.
  • Reads and is well-read.
  • Must love dogs.  Especially a cute little cockapoo named Little Bare.
  • When describing his age, includes half years as needed (ie. 38 and a half.)
  • With the age thing, he’s not so old that he could be my grandfather nor is he so young he could be my grandson (I’m 37 for those who don’t know my age.  My birthday was on July 18.  If you sent me a gift, card, or kind message, that would have given you bonus points!)
  • Enjoys tree climbing.
  • When asked if the glass is half empty or half full, quickly loses sight of the question and wonders what in the world people are thinking to entrust him with glass rather than plastic.
  • No prison record that would exempt him from being a good guy.
  • Has respect for one of the greatest inventions ever: the Slip n’ Slide.
  • Sees every day as a holiday to be celebrated.

So there ya go- my list!  Not quite a bucket list or a Christmas List, I suppose.  Actually, in thinking about it, it’s kind of a mix of the two.  Now to create the application for anyone choosing to apply…

Barefoot and Fancy Free!

Summer is definitely here: the sun is shining, the heat is rising, the birds are singing, and the clothes are off. But what about feet? I’ve heard some people say that you are truly nude or a nudist unless you are barefoot.

This has been an interesting thought for me for years. Like many, I love being barefoot when running across a grassy field… as long as that grassy field has no rocks, stones, snakes, etc. in it, which is always hard to guarantee. Grass just feels luxurious on my feet but, for some reason, the fear of the pain associated with stepping on something that’ll hurt my tender puddies typically causes me to wear shoes. Not always, but usually. I guess I’m tender-footed?

My own little barefoot issues seem to be quite the opposite of many. I recently read about a person who is going to run a really long distance (across a state) barefoot to raise money. While I applaud their effort and charitable heart, my feet think this is a bad idea- there are stones out there, you know!

What are your thoughts about bare feet? Good idea or painful thought? Can you be a nudist if your feet aren’t nekkid???

Painting Lessons

These past few days I’ve been painting my bedroom to complete my dream of having a girly butterfly room. I can’t wait to see how it turns out as butterflies, to me, represent permanent positive change after life’s ugliness. Still, the whole painting thing has been quite a lesson. As I painted my living room and kitchen only a short time ago, I had already learned that it might be a good idea to tape the room rather than triple my work by having to clean up the paint mess. So, this time I did that. With each project I learn and grow as a painter, you know. What I learned from this bedroom painting project is that taping is fabulous and the paint edger tool might be my future mate because I love it so much BUT next time maybe I should do something to the effect of using a drop cloth so I’m not having to clean the floor for hours afterwards. A new lesson every day, I tell ya!

What does this have to do with nudism, you might ask? Good question! The obvious answer is to always paint nude so you don’t destroy your clothes. Trust me- this is a good lesson in and of itself. But the lesson from the painting has more applications than just that in the nudist world. Just as I’m constantly evolving in my expertise in painting, I’m also progressing in how to handle nudist issues. For someone with a well-used mouth (usually opened in the form of typing), I have much room for progressing in how to manage nudist issues.

Way back when, I was actually worse than I am now with diarrhea of the mouth via keyboard. If I thought it, I said it- and not always very tactfully. When I was younger I didn’t think about the damage that I could do or the reality that my big mouth can strategically do harm OR good. So that’s a lesson that I’ve had to learn. It’s kind of like that first painting lesson: use tape to prevent a much bigger issue. So now I try to think a little bit (kind of like tape for the mouth) before I speak publicly. I don’t always succeed because sometimes I hit a delicate issue that I don’t realize is a delicate issue, but I try.

These last few days I’ve had to learn the next lesson, equivalent to the lesson that maybe a drop-cloth is a good idea: watching my mouth via keyboard in private discussion areas. See, I always thought that the best way to get a group to see an issue is to just say it, especially if I’m with like- minded people who have the same goal. The reality is, the same decorum that I practice with public groups needs to be practiced with private groups, too. Why? Because not everyone is ready for harsh truths or new ideas that are different than theirs. Speaking things nicely has a better chance of helping people to see what I’m saying rather than getting them all hot and bothered about the way I said it.

This whole learning curve is partially basic PR and partially growing up. It’s hard to learn but each day I’m seeing what an important thing this is for me to learn. And it’s not just me- we all could learn from these little painting lessons. We all can learn to speak with respect and restraint. We all can be better people, better communicators, and better representatives of the organizations that we support. But… I can only glean my own painting lessons, I can’t force others to learn from them. Each person has their own painting lessons and will grow in the way that they need to. We, as fellow nudists, need to respect the lesson that each person is on and encourage them toward greater representation of their organization and nudists as a whole.

Running into the Naked Past

If you look at pictures of old nudist events, you see a lot of activity.  That activity is called exercise, but if the word exercise scares you, we can just say they were active.  They swam laps, played volleyball, ran, played active games, and the list goes on.  Nowadays, we celebrate nudist stew, which is a special blend of nudists sitting in the hot tub or pool adding their own little bit of spice to the conversation.  Much as I love the conversation of the nudist stew, I am wondering where the action went.  Did it die out with the hippie movement, causing our hippies to expand a bit?

This whole exercise question has been on my mind lately as I’ve worked toward having a healthier life, including drinking water, eating nutritious foods, and, that’s right, exercising.  After trying out this exercise thing, I find that it quite agrees with me- I feel GREAT after a good exercise session!  Why is it that I’m just discovering the joys of exercise yet it’s been around since people were invented?  I dunno, but I do know that exercise is great.

Sometimes I exercise while with clients- they are kids who have mental health issues and would really benefit from the awesome feeling of doing exercise.  But I can’t exactly exercise clothes-free with them, so much of my exercise occurs at home, which is my nudist camp.  Now my nudist camp is FABULOUS and filled with many awesomely amazing people, but I do notice that there isn’t always a lot of exercise going on.  Golf carts are used for travel rather than walking, the pool is more for standing and conversing than swimming laps or activity, and many of the events are more sedentary.  This is the norm at nudist camps and in America at large- it’s certainly nothing unique to the campground where I live.

Still…  I would love to go back to the old days that I see in the vintage nudist photos.  The old days of volleyball, active swimming, hiking, and sooo much more activity and exercise seem like forever ago.  I know that when Young Naturists of America comes to my campground in another week that we’ll have lots of exercise going on and I’m very excited about that!  But I wish we could have all that activity all the time.  A girl can dream.  Or maybe, just maybe, this girl needs to not only dream, but propose some events that include a bunch of activity.  Huh, I do believe I’ve got something to think on here.

What exercise do you enjoy participating in at your nudist location?  Do you have any big events that revolve around movement-kinds of activity and exercise?