Yesterday I found myself at a “nude beach”. Now, if you are from the San Francisco Bay Area, you are nodding your head and saying, “Yeah, so….?”, but if you are a North Carolina baby boomer, even a really cool, hip one, you notice people walking around naked!
While dealing with my own layers of politically incorrect discomfort…I was a sexuality educator and counselor for God’s sake!.. I realized how many assumptions I could make about people within a split second, all based on the fact that they were walking nude on a beach. As I walked down the beach allowing my eyes to look up and praying my Puritan leftovers wouldn’t cause my jaw to drop, I wondered what would happen if I saw someone I knew. How would that change how I saw them and how they saw me for being on the beach even if I were fully clothed?
How often in our day to day lives do we see someone, perhaps a homeless person or someone smoking a cigarette or even wearing a badge around their neck saying “Google” and write our own story about them? Even in our closer more intimate lives with friends, family, life partners and our children, what do we think we know that over dinner with friends one night, we discover was totally wrong? What IF I saw someone I knew walking on that beach buck naked, how would that change how I felt about them? Would I ever be able to see them in my own mind’s eye with their clothes on?? I hope so, and more than that, I want to believe that I would take the effort to discover what their story is and rewrite my own version.