Naturists: Another PerspectivebyTara_Neale©
It has always been hard to get my daughter to wear certain things; shoes and socks chief among them. She will also complain if her pants are too tight or about tags in shirts. But until recently I thought that she was just making a mountain out of a mole hill as my grandmother would have said. Then I learned about a neurological problem called Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD for short.
Not to get too technical (because most of the books that I have read on the subject do), but SPD is basically a problem with the way our brains process the information that it receives from our senses. Some people maybe too sensitive; for them even a light touch such as the weight of their clothes can be restrictive and cumbersome.
Other people may be under stimulated. Everything in their world is shades of grey, only the loudest, brightest and most profound sensation warrant a response from them. Others like my daughter may be sensory seekers; they require almost constant stimulation. She can never go high enough or fast enough. They are sometimes mislabeled as thrill seekers or hyperactive, because they never seem to stop.
Things get really complicated when you realize that you have seven not just the normal five sense; add movement and pressure to touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. How people respond in one area may not be the same as in others. For instance, my daughter may be a sensory seeker when it comes to movement, but she is hypersensitive to bright lights (sight). She also has problems modulating sounds. In other words, most of us can filter out background noises to focus upon the sound that we want to hear, i.e. the television or a conversation. For someone with modulation problems they cannot do this. So when I get on the phone, she has difficulty filtering it out and cannot concentrate on what she is doing.
The truth is that we all have SPD to one degree or another. All of us can find ourselves overly sensitive to sights, sounds, smells at some point in our lives. Perhaps when we get stressed, the bright lights or noisy crowds of a supermarket can simply be more than we can handle. But for some people this is a persistent and debilitating condition that affects their ability to function in the 'real' world.
Which is why I decided to write this article for World Nude Day. It is possible that some of the people who have chosen a naturist lifestyle may actually have SPD. I know I have heard and read interviews with naturists that have alluded to clothes as 'unnatural' and 'too restrictive.' Are these people really saying that they cannot tolerate the feeling of pants, shirts, socks and shoes on their bodies? Can these things actually be so uncomfortable for some people that it is almost painful?
The answer is a resounding yes. Yes, for some people with SPD the feeling of certain materials on their skin is akin to walking around wearing sand paper all day. You know how irritating and uncomfortable it is to have something inside your shoe. What if there was always something inside your shoes? They feel like that...all the time.
I am not saying that all naturists have SPD. Heck, most of us love to strip naked and bask in the warm sunlight as a cool ocean breeze caresses our skin. There is a touch of the unspoiled Eve in all of us, uncaring of societal strictures that command us to cover our nakedness. But I do believe that some of the adults who have chosen this lifestyle and are sometimes labeled as perverts or deviants by our culture may in fact have suffered from this milady, which is under-diagnosed even today.
Before you think of running around the house naked all day as 'unnatural' or 'abnormal' try this little experiment. Take an old t-shirt and sew or glue a piece of sand paper inside of it. See how long you can manage to wear it. Where you able to get any work done? Could you concentrate on anything? Even for five minutes? Without thinking about how uncomfortable you were.
So as we celebrate our liberation from cultural norms this Nudist Day, give a thought to the minority of those for whom this lifestyle may be no more of a choice than being gay or heterosexual. For them, this day is about more than just freedom it is about living their lives in comfort and peace. On their own terms.