The Emperor Doesn’t Wear Clothes

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There once was a man from Rhodes
Who truly hated wearing clothes.
By day he would walk the streets
Unashamed in a full-on streak
Not giving a care
Wearing nothing but his underwear.

I took a walk this morning to think about what to write. I wanted to make today’s story fun and a little bit silly. An old, dirty limerick popped into my head. “There once was a man from Nantucket…” I had what I needed!

I’ve always had physical twitches. I was never able to sit still as a little kid as a result of my ADHD.

For as long as I can remember wearing clothes has involved some form of discomfort. At 51 I’m not sure if my twitching, picking at my clothes, or feeling like my underwear is sliding up my butt cheek is a habit or actual physical discomfort.

I swear this is one of the reasons I never wanted to work in a business environment. Whenever I had to wear a button-up dress shirt, the tie around my neck felt like a noose. I felt like I was choking, restrained, and it was everything I could do to get through the day until I could strip off my clothes and be physically free.

I don’t sweat. Or rather I don’t perspire that much. I haven’t worn deodorant or anti-perspirant since I was a teenager. I don’t need to — my shit don’t stink! :-)

But then there was the time…

Many years ago I thought I would leave health and fitness to try a different career. I took a job as an executive assistant in a fashion house. I had to dress nice, but I didn’t have to wear a tie. On my first day I could not figure out what was wrong. I sweat through one side of my shirt from the armpit down. I had to wear a sweater to hide it! Sure it was a stress response to starting a new job, but it didn’t make sense. I don’t sweat like that in any other clothes, and I’d never sweat like that before!

I had to go to the pharmacy and buy a medicated antiperspirant that blocks the sweat glands in my armpits. That might have been a sign that this was not the right career choice for me. Three months later I was told they could no longer keep me full-time due to budget cuts, but that I could work part-time. The rest is history.

My discomfort with clothes by this point in my life is generally a nervous habit. If I’m upset, over-tired, or self-conscious it will flare up. I may also have a physical response in the form of a short, dry cough. There have been times in the past where my reaction has been so strong that people thought I had Tourette’s.

I recall a time early in my strength training career when I attended an intensive training camp at Tufts University in Boston. I had the opportunity to work with a young athlete for a week to practice my coaching skills. Standing in front of him on the basketball court asking questions, I had my arms across my chest to keep myself from fidgeting. The person observing and training me knocked my arms apart and gave me a look which said, “Leave your arms straight down at the side.”

I felt humiliated and embarrassed. At that time I was still struggling with trying to control my habitual and reactive movements.

Fucking accept me for who I am! Don’t try and control me. Don’t try and make me into an image that you think is better than the one I present. My time with that group was also limited. Having to conform to what other people expect of me, is anathema to me.

I love going to Hanlon’s point clothing optional beach in Toronto during the summer. 95% of the time I wear a speedo. It’s such minimal clothing that I feel completely relaxed. The few times I’ve gone naked have also felt great. It reminds me of living in Germany, where clothing optional beaches are the norm.

So the next time you think of me, think of me naked. I’ll be much more comfortable that way. :-)

– Darren
The Flex Your Mind Project

Mark Whitehand invited me to play and take part in “The 30 Things About Me Experiment.”


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I help human-hearted creatives cultivate their purpose to experience more freedom, impact, and joy in their lives.

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