Skinny Dipping

33 Days of Truth: Day 24

Skinny Dipping

At 11pm tonight I took a shower to rinse off after some time at the beach, not because I care about going to sleep with salt water in my hair, but because I don’t like sleeping with wet hair and knew if my hair was wet, it would ensure I’d stay awake long enough to write this post. Strategy.

So I’m here with wet, salt-free hair, writing my post for Day 24 of my 33 Days of Truth challenge.

Tired though I am, this was a beautiful, naked night…

I met up with friends at Little Beach on Maui, where a clothing optional drum circle party ensues every Sunday evening at sunset. It was one of the first things I experienced after my move here, and it’s now one of the last things I’ve done before moving away.

I kept my bikini on for a while, but when a couple of my girlfriends stripped down to their birthday suits and bounded into the water, I gazed on wistfully. “I want to do that,” I said aloud. Another friend encouraged me to follow along.

Not that I have an issue with getting naked in public, per se. I’ve done it before. It’s just one of those things, that when you do it rarely you hesitate to cross the threshold regardless of how far beyond it you’ve been before.

Bikini came off. I leapt into the waves, my bare skin an offering. I felt the salt water embrace me.

You don’t ever realize how much of a barrier that little bit of clothing is until it isn’t there. Then you realize how good and right and natural it feels to be out in nature, in your natural state.

The ocean felt so good. There wasn’t anything between me and it. We were one. I floated on my back, gazing up at the dusky sky, the sound of drumbeats pulsating through the water into my ears, the sight of happy naked hippies dancing on the beach filling my face with a smile. I was contented, being there in the crystal clear, vibrant blue water and floating over the white sand beneath my naked form. I said a little whispered thanks to the Island. For everything I’ve experienced on it, for all that was mine in that moment.

My mind drifted to the first time I ever went skinny dipping. It was on the Fourth of July, at a lakeside community block party. My absolute favorite sweater had gone missing amidst the festivities and I was feeling miserable about it. Not just about the loss of the garment, but about many things unraveling in my world at the time. I was depressed and feeling sorry for myself. What if I went skinny dipping? The thought struck in the middle my sad stupor. Skinny dipping? I’d never done it before. It felt risky and daring and the perfect thing to shake off my mood.

I didn’t even tell anybody. I walked alone to the end of the dock, took off my clothes, and stared at the pitch black lake. With heart pumping, I took a deep breath and jumped into the dark void. I did it! It was one of the most exhilarating, vibrant and alive feelings I have ever had.

Fast forward several years, to another memorable experience I had skinny dipping. I was with my mom and sister, on the west side of Maui. I showed them some beautiful large tide pools in a “secret” out of the way place. My sister and I excitedly leapt into with, and then without, our bathing suits.

At the time, Mom was debating whether or not to stay on Maui, wondering if she could pull it off after multiple return trips to the mainland to handle matters over there. My sister and I decided it was time she made a firm decision. She could either stay on fence, retreat back to the mainland, or else fully commit to the island. Our group skinny dip together became the metaphor for Mom’s leap into staying.

What I’ve learned from these naked leaps, is that when we strip away our hesitations and doubts, and allow ourselves to fully merge with the moment, with the experience in front of us, that is when life really comes alive. In a simple, pure, innocent and natural way. The way it is meant to be.

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