Is anyone comfortable being nude?!
Up until grade 6 (11 years of age), I was in a co-ed gym class and everyone wore the same clothes during the class as we did during the day.
Grade 7, I started Junior High in a new town. Gym class was now female only and we had to have proper clothes. We had to change before and after class together. At first, this was foreign concept to me and I changed privately in a bathroom stall I was embarrassed to not be comfortable to change in front of the others, so I started to force myself to.
I was 12. I didn’t wear a bra, but a few others did. I didn’t think much of it however one girl made comments. Loud comments pointing out that I wasn’t wearing one. She wanted to ensure everyone heard her and, looked at me. I wanted to hide. I wanted to go back to changing in private.
I had started to develop but, I certainly didn’t need a bra. No one in that class “needed” one, they just wanted to be grown up… and I was in no rush. With that said, I didn’t want to be made fun of either.
I didn’t want to be bullied. She won. That night I bought my first bra.
I hated purchasing it. I was embarrassed about shopping for one. I was so embarrassed I didn’t want to tell my mom. I basically grabbed the first one I saw, it had little Mickey Mouse heads all over it.
Well… since she did my laundry, she quickly found out I had a bra. She bought me more. The good news is this saved me from the embarrassment of shopping for one. She bought me the type that came in a box from the department store. That’s pretty much all I wore through high school.
At 18 I started college. At 19 I moved into residence. Instead of being told to wear a bra, my female roommates tried to make me wear backless revealing shirts, and encouraged me to not wear a bra. I was now being told not to wear one when previously I was told to wear one. It was confusing. I ignored their comment, the bra stayed on. The shirts I wore were conservative.
At 21, I moved to the city. I joined a gym. Ladies in the gym would walk around completely nude. They weren’t shy. Walking from the locker room to showers completely in the buff. It was intimidating.
I changed in a private washroom and, slowly got the nerve to change openly, but never used the showers. Around the age of 22 I started showering in the gym… but I covered myself with a towel to walk around. It took me years to gain the confidence to do this.
As my confidence grew, I went to a lingerie store and bought an expensive bra. The first time I went into a lingerie store, the anxiety and embarrassment I had in grade 7 came rushing back. A sales lady quickly whisked me into a change room. She measured me.
I smiled through my clenched teeth from being beyond uncomfortable. I bought the first one she gave me and, I ran out of the store. In actual fact, I bought 3 of the same so I could avoid the experience for as long as possible.
The next morning I put on my purchase. For the first time ever (minus my training bra) I had a non-beige bra. It made me feel good. I started to wear more revealing shirts when going out. I realized I had some nice “assets” why not dress them up and show them off a bit?
I began to be more comfortable in my body.
Fast forward to today, I still don’t have the confidence that others do. I only gained the confidence to wear a bikini in the last 5 years.
I am soon to be 35. At times, I still have to push myself to be comfortable in my own skin. It has taken a long time for me to own my body!
Were you ever uncomfortable or intimidated by changing in front of others?
Do you think that culture has something to do with it?