On Being: The Only Black Girl At The Nude Beach

So I spent the last week and a half in Toronto. So many of the posts will be about around experiences/ people/ moments there.

So today was my final day in the great country of Canada, at least until the next time Caribana rolls around. What did I do with my final precious hours in Toronto? Take the ferry to the Toronto Islands and sun bathed in the glowing summer sun, nude, of course. There isn’t another way I could have imagined ending this part of my world tour. It was the prefect conclusion to a perfect vacay.

The beach was much like the social hierarchy of the state of the world. The primary group of people who felt the need to be completely nude were old white guys. They were proudly strutting around the beach with the shriveled penises waving at people and their massive balls vying for attention. The second group who enjoyed being named were white women, which comes as no surprise I’m sure. The women were a bit more modest, sporting underwear bottoms and just remaining topless. After this group, the numbers began to dwindle significantly. I spotted a few brown men weaving in and out of the water. And then there I was, the little brown girl with the nipple piercings, the lone chocolate sprinkle on top of this bland vanilla cone.

This doesn’t sound like the most appealing time to shed my clothes, seeing as how I was in the vast minority, but it didn’t bother me. It wasn’t for them, it was for me. I presumed whenever I made it to a nude beach I’d be with a group of people, probably people I’ve already seen naked, but since the opportunity presented itself, I had to take it. Insisting upon pushing myself, I vowed to myself not to chicken out. After getting off the ferry (the ride was beautiful by the way), I began to scan the beach for a silent ally. My eyes settled on another girl who was there by herself already sprawled out, naked. Mentally, I thanked her for silently encouraging me. I placed my stuff near, but not too close enough to be creepy. After settling, I simply slipped off my bottoms, took a quick glance around and peeled off my top. Once completely in the natural, I looked around and noticed that no one was even paying attention to me. The way it should be. Bodies. That’s it. Just a beach full of bodies. I laid down, continue reading “ Creative Visualizations,” and gave thanks to the sun, by letting my skin soak up the Vitamin D. I collected stones seaside for Adrea. The water against my  bare skin felt like an old friend I had been missing, the sun a forgotten lover who still remembers exactly where to place their fingertips. It felt good. I felt comfortable.

There are several things I should mention here that aided in my experience; my various privileges. My thin privilege, cis privilege and my able bodied-ness. This was such a freeing experience for me because I fall into the aforementioned groups. Here I was at the “alternative beach,” made up, almost entirely, of white, cisgendered, able bodied folks. I wonder what was so alternative? Did I miss something?

This lead me to thinking… or imagining rather about a beach made specifically for people who are truly “alternative (whatever that means)?” Just envision the beach speckled with people of color, shaded in with all different hues of melanin, gender expression, body types, running, playing in total enjoyment? With no need to bleach skin, throw shade, or turn themselves inward in order to fulfill a narrow concept of what is desirable? A part of this goal was actualized, because there was a number of varying body types who were naked, making this my favorite part of the entire experience. There were apples, pears, peaches shaped bodies and every other kind of fruit you could imagine all existing harmoniously without judgment or static from the other beachgoers.

That’s the kind of taking it all of I can appreciate (taking off the judgment, insecurities and shame) and putting on self love and acceptance. Maybe sometimes you just gotta take it off to put it on.

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