Naked We Danced

Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash


In my twenties, I lived alone in a small community about 45 minutes from the city in which I was working at the time. It was all rolling hills and wooden houses perched on tree-covered hillsides. During the week, I drove into the city and worked in the corporate world. Weekends, I cast off my tailored suit and spent time amidst the flora and fauna, savouring time along and time spent visiting with neighbours and friends laughing and sharing stories and drinking wine and eating meals we cooked together.

My closest neighbours were a husband and wife about 20 years older than me, Alan and Claire. I adored them, especially Claire who constantly encouraged me to shed the tentacles of what she called my rigid Catholic upbringing and ‘let loose’ in the here and now.

After a rainfall, Claire would pound on my door and invite me to come ‘squelch in the mud’. Clothes optional.

Sometimes, she’d challenge me to join her around a fire and dance with the woodland fairies as we flung our bodies into the air. Breathlessly, we’d call-out to Demeter and Aphrodite, beseeching them to release us from the metaphorical ties that bound us to outmoded ways of being alive in this world. Clothes optional.

On full moon nights, she’d stand in the woods below my deck and howl into the night, inviting me to come play with her and the forest nymphs. And always, clothes were optional.

In my twenties, it was easier to shed my clothes, though sometimes, my mind didn’t always make it comfortable. Back then, unfettered by the worry of wrinkles and folds, of gravity’s inevitable pressures on the loosening in the elasticity of my skin, I didn’t let vanity or fear hold me back.

In my sixties now, I can feel the weight of time, of years of gorging on unhealthy body-image messaging doled out by mass media extolling the virtues of achieving a ‘perfect’ body. A body that can only be achieved if… you try this diet, wear this style, don this perfect make-up {formulated specifically for women of a certain age of course} and pile on oodles of dyes and product to your hair. Products that promise to wash away time’s passage because, everyone knows, time damages you. Time makes you less beautiful. Desirable. Seeable.

I don’t want to believe that. I don’t want to believe beauty is a diminishable element. It’s just different from ‘back when’ I fearlessly danced naked amongst the trees and didn’t worry about propriety and wrinkles of time.

In the years gone by, I have learned that the passage of years makes me… who I am today. How I am today, how I feel about me, how I express my life is an alchemy of time and elemental beauty that wells up from within. It is weathered lines softened in the evening light. Curves and edges blending. It is my expression of the wounds and wisdom I carry and release, how I breathe lovingly into beauty and the beast, dark and light, vanity and uninhibited self-expression.

Then again, when the sillies are upon me and I look aghast upon the ravages of time, I wonder if maybe it’s time to hire an army of a-gazillion tiny minions to airbrush my body in the here and now. In their careful and perfect ministrations, I will look like I am agelessly flowing through my days, svelte and all filmy and gauzy like sheer curtains blowing in the gentle breeze wafting in off a mediterranean sea.

Then again, maybe, rather than taking giant leaps of imagination, I just need to forget about time’s passage and take baby-steps in the here and now letting go of the ties that bind as I fall into the loving embrace of life as it is, in this moment, right now.


Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and ideas, your own vulnerabilities.


Photo by Maru Lombardo on Unsplash




13 thoughts on “Naked We Danced

  1. I love this post, Louise. It is magic to meet a friend like yours who just dares to be at times. I would have loved to dance in these woods with the two of you. Without clothes.
    Your last paragraph is strong and life affirming. If we always dared be who we are I think there is beauty at any time.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ronnie. My eldest daughter danced with ED for many years – her journey into well-being was long and convoluted – she inspires me to continue to work on my own body image issues. some days, it is easier than others!


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