14 May 2011

World Naked Gardening Day – a liberating experience?

Picture courtesy of http://www.wngd.org/
Well today was the day. I’d talked the talk… was I going to walk the walk? Saturday, 14th May 201 1 is World Naked Gardening Day and Facebook and Twitter have been awash with comments about it.

In the end what swayed me to take part in this interesting sounding occasion wasn’t my overwhelming desire to get naked outside, but the reaction of my three children when I told them I was thinking of doing so. They were completely mortified and once they realised that I might actually do it, even more so.
I then found myself explaining that we’re all born naked and that it’s a perfectly natural state to be in a safe environment etc... Sadly they were unable to explain to me why they were so hung up about the idea of wearing no clothes, and NO WAY were they going to join me.  Already, they’d been programmed (or had we brought them up?) to think of nakedness as being very wrong.  They giggled, laughed and cringed, not taking me seriously at all, so that was it. I didn’t mention it again but always game for a bit of a challenge...
After completing their morning activity drop offs, I arrived home and headed outside, determined to go for it before I changed my mind.  A couple of points here… it was windy and cold this morning in our rural location so gardening outside was completely out of the question.  Also, it couldn’t be guaranteed that the neighbouring farmer wouldn’t arrive suddenly to check his cattle so the only place I was willing to shed my kit was in the Polytunnel. It was a cosy 20oC and there were no chilly breezes either.
Also, just to be clear, other than an occasional walk around the house in my birthday suit when the house was quiet, getting naked outside wasn’t something that I’d ever done before. 
So once in the Polytunnel, having checked that there was nobody around, I took off all my clothes.
In actual fact that was the worse bit as I couldn’t help but feel a bit daft as I stripped off, wondering to myself what an earth I was doing.
Donning only my silver pumps (this was a special event) I immediately headed to the potting bench where I could safely stand and transplant a few cauliflower and kale seedlings. After a few minutes and feeling a bit more adventurous I started to move around and tackle some stray weeds.
Surprisingly I enjoyed the feeling of walking around naked, just me and my veggies in an (almost) natural environment with the sun shining down, so feeling a tad braver I started looking for more things to do. I transplanted some tarragon seedlings, replaced a few munched up beans with some fresh ones and tidied the paths. I then sat and admired my work, enjoying the sensation of the sun on my skin.
Being new to naked gardening, it hadn’t occurred to me that I would have nothing to wipe my hands on (usually jeans), or that it's a good idea to fill up the watering can beforehand (the tap’s by the front gate). I also had to evict a bumble bee and a horsefly. Other than that nothing extraordinary happened. I just pottered around in the buff.
After 45 minutes my little sojourn was over. It was back to the realities of child pick-ups and drop offs and I reluctantly dressed again.
However, the short experience was enough to leave me with a different state of mind.
My body is fit and healthy. It allows me to walk and to dance, to work and to love. It’s borne and breastfed three children. Yes, it has its wobbly bits – let’s face it, as much as we’d all love to have figures like Helen Mirren the reality is that most of us on the wrong side of 40 are unlikely to.
What it did bring home to me was that women of all ages have to learn to accept and love their bodies just the way they are. We're too easily swayed by magazines, tv and even other girl friends. We're so hung up about how we look we forget that it's what's on the inside that matters the most.
So if feeling better about who and what we are means getting in the nip once a year on World Naked Gardening Day (or more if you’re game for Dip In the Nip ), then so be it.... I’m in (and by the way, next time it's 40oC in the polytunnel and I'm alone... well, who's to know .)

Postscript

This post was written in 2011 and yes, come World Naked Gardening 2012 I participated once again, only this time without the nerves and trepidation!

Since writing about my experience my blog site has moved. This need only concern you if you'd like to leave a comment or follow my new blog feed as I can't publish from here or reply. If you feel moved enough to reply please click here to find my blog's new home. Thanks for reading :-)




16 comments:

  1. Fair play to you Dee. I wouldn't be brave enough, but have loads of admiration for anyone who is! I'm sure it was very liberating!

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  2. Good for you Dee, delighted you had the opportunity. My garden (living in suburbia) is a little over looked and I don't think my neighbours would be best pleased. Either way it was bloody freezing around here today so maybe next year (terrible procrastinator"!!)

    I skinny dip a little in the sea and I think the 'taking off' of ones clothes is the strange thing as you say after a few minutes of being naked one is comfortable in ones skin and it is an extremely liberating and beautiful feeling.

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  3. You're so right, Dee! I had two experiences this week which saddened me: the first was in the changing room of a swimming pool, where I was the only one prepared to change in the communal changing area. All the others used the private cubicles, and waited if they had to, including young girls, who looked at me as if I was a scary monster! The second was a woman complaining that she felt she hadn't lost a pound, after a week at the wonderful Cloona Health Retreat in Westport, instead of focussing on how well she felt (she's a woman of 50+, and if she's carrying an extra 5lb, I'll eat - something!)

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  4. As Jenny said, fair play Dee, it is jolly cold here so when I started reading your blog post I was wondering how you managed but of course, polytunnels are reasonably cosy. :)
    Interesting that the kids had such a reaction. I notice now in the changing rooms after the school swimming lesson that some girls as young as Kate are wrapping towels around themselves and trying to dress themselves under the towel. Thank goodness she hasn't got to that stage but I do wonder how long away it is

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  5. Thanks so much for your comments ladies. To be honest I was undecided whether to hit the 'post blog' button but decided it was something that needed to be said, and for myself to go for it.. Our 10 yr old asked me recently when she saw a manequin in a shop "why are they all so thin...?" and she's not overweight. Marie.. that is very sad and show's the way we've gone. Is it so hard for us all to just celebrate our bodies? Jenny... you may one day ;) Ena... good on ya and see you next year in Sligo and Lorna... probably not too long away :(

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  6. Delighted to read your article Dee, and not just the fact that you participated but your comments about accepting your body.

    When I mentioned the event last year I was surprised to see the comments about body image, and it is sad we are our own worse critics. And actually us men actually like curves and I have a perfect quote for a naked gardening blog


    Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers

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  7. ive never heard of naked gardening day, but i have stripped off in the garden, luckily we have high fences all around. partner and i strip off whenever its warm enough and there are no kids at home, they also think its gross, sad isnt it.

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  8. Well done Dee!
    May it be the start of a life long thing, we Rebecca & I have been naturists for years (25+) & just love getting naked! Sadly we can't do it in our back garden, except for just outside our back door. We all go (including Arran) to a naurist swim,sauna & steam room session once a month down at Prested Hall when we can! Have stayed at naturist sites in yhe UK & France, every one is so friendly & you don't pre-judge anyone when they are naked. Let us know if you become a convert :-)
    Chris

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  9. Love the quote Brian and a shame more women don't realise their curves aren't such a bad thing. Brendie.. maybe our kids will change their minds as they get older, great to hear you go for it despite them.

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  10. Fair play to you Dee. Ireland is a tad cold for me to strip off.

    When on holiday abroad I tend to sunbathe in bikini bottoms only and don't have a problem doing so and couldn't give a toss what anybody else thinks about a plus size woman the wrong side of 40 doing it either.

    I regularly walk around the house naked and the kids grew up used to it, so much so that they don't have bad body images - any of them.

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  11. Mairead you're an inspiration :)

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  12. What a fabulous experience. If I had known, I definitely would have joined in. I think you're right, it definitely does give one a chance to accept your body as is. The more I tromp around the home without clothes, the less I start to think negatively about myself. Cheers to your bravery!

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  13. Did an hours watering in the sun today, very pleasant bar the rather red neck. Surprisingly my derrier did not burn :)

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  14. Yep, well done Dee. It's inspiring just to read about your experience and it great that you blogged it. If I had a polytunnel and only 4 legged neighbours I think I might like to try it but not sure I'd be brave enough to carry it out....so well done you :-)

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  15. What do you think about a 70 year old with a bit more flesh than she needs doing it eh?

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  16. I think it's a wonderful thing to do at any age or size, when we first moved to our quiet hill we showered outside. Luckily the only creatures around were cattle and there were no midges :-)

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