Naked and unafraid.

(Image via Henri-Matisse.net)

 “Who told you that you were naked?”

According to the Christian bible, God asked Adam and Eve this question upon hearing their explanation for hiding from Him in the Garden of Eden. Wait! What? Why are people playing hide-and-go-peek with the Creator of the universe?

For those of you who weren’t hauled to church every Sunday for the better part of your lives don’t know, here’s some background on this Holy high jinks:

Once upon a time, Adam and Eve lived gaily in the Garden of Eden without a care or a stitch of clothing. Their only requirement for maintaining their blissful state was maintaining a safe distance from the Tree of Knowledge. (I guess ignorance is bliss after all.) However, Adam and Eve did not want to live in ignorance – understandably so – and sought to know more. Their desire for knowledge was met with a talking snake – yes, a talking snake – that encouraged Adam’s and Eve’s inquiring minds by encouraging them to eat from the forbidden tree, which they ultimately did.

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” ~ Genesis 3:7

And just like that, playtime was over, the snake slithered away and the drudgery that we now call life began. The end…but wait! Like God queried Adam and Eve, I have a question for the formerly nudesome twosome too:

Who told you that being naked was shameful?

In the abovementioned verse, there is the naked assumption that nudity should be hidden. How did these once free-flowing garden children come to conform to such a non-free-flowing idea, aside from the obvious bias of the story’s editors? If you say that Adam’s and Eve’s pursuit and ultimate attainment of knowledge is at the root of their newfound rigidity, I say that you have a point. Moreover, I say let’s sharpen that point by exploring how you and I, like Adam and Eve, have at one time or another drifted from our own free-flowing paths in a quest to follow the straight and narrow.

(Photo: Numerologist.com)
(Image via Numerologist.com)

Earlier this week, I came across a BuzzFeed video by Kirsten King that examines how the average child’s view of his or her body differs from the average adult’s view of his or her body.

“Fifty adults and children were asked the question, ‘If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?’ Without hesitation, the adults chose a ‘flaw’ they wished they could change. The children, on the other hand, struggled to find something they wanted to change. Instead, they wished for superhuman additions.”

“To be young!” I thought – in my Prince Akeem voice – upon viewing the video. “Oh, what a feeling!”

In particular, a feeling of acceptance, blissfulness and freedom. If there is one thing that adults envy about children, it is that unadulterated feeling. Why? Because as adults, many of us have partaken of society’s tree of knowledge and subsequently learned to be ashamed of what we once took pleasure in. (Some of us are even ashamed to say “pleasure” in the presence of ‘polite’ company.) I call this widespread de-pleasurization an abomination. Merriam-Webster calls it socialization.

Socialization (n.) – “the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status.”

Of course, socialization isn’t all abominable. The acquisition of the habit, belief and accumulated knowledge of looking both ways before walking across the street so that a person can actually reach adult status is a noble thing. But I do call bullshit on the socialization that trains a person to walk away from his or her self.

In my life, I have encountered many forks in the road where I took the socially-acceptable route over my personally-fulfilling path. Like Adam and Eve, I feared my natural truth and turned to other people’s opinions to clothe me. But one fateful night in the fall of 2012, I heard a voice say to me, “Who told you that you were naked?” and I then realized that I had been wearing other people’s opinions for far too long.

So that night, I beared my desire to be a life coach and simultaneously set myself on a path of self-knowledge that set me free from the knowledge I learned from society. Thus, I traded my infatuation with others’ rigid expectations for the love of my own free-flowing self…and to be loved by oneself in all one’s true and naked glory—oh, what a feeling! (Right, Kim K.?)

Copyright © 2014-2015 Stephanie Rochelle Redd. All rights reserved.

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