Naked And Afraid: Part Two

    (Part One can be found here.)

    Many years later, a new woman appeared. By this time there were billions of people on the Earth, and gardens were hard to find. Ever since she was a little girl, the woman had been told the story of the original people, and how they ruined what had started out so perfectly. She was told about the creator, and learned to worship it on a regular basis. Not only that, she was encouraged to go around the world telling other people that they should be worshipping the creator too, whether they liked it or not.

    As she grew up, the woman started studying the stories about the creator and its deeds more closely. She met many people who, to her surprise, were not interested in worshipping the creator, and sometimes didn’t even believe that the creator existed at all. The woman started to question things; she started to wonder which stories were best. Was everything she had been told a lie?

    In the midst of the confusion, this is what she knew: that she liked clothes. Clothes were comfortable; clothes felt good. She enjoyed wearing clothes because she could express her personality with them, and also, sometimes, hide. Even so, as she got older, she started appreciating her naked body more. Being an adult, she found that she could walk around her home (which was unfortunately not a garden but only a small apartment) with little to no clothes on, and it was actually kind of fun. Who is there to impress, she said to herself. Who is going to judge me?

    One day, things started to become more clear: believing in the creator was kind of like wearing clothes. Yes, it was comforting, and the clothes probably looked a little nicer on the outside than her own imperfect, human form. The clothes also gave her and others a sense of who she was. But maybe, she thought, just maybe, there was more truth to her bare body. Maybe all of those stories and rules were never what the creator wanted to have happen, just like it had never intended to cover the first people up in anything but their own skin.

    So she did it. She took off the stories. She stopped following the rules (well, not all of the rules; some she would follow whether there was really a creator or not). She stopped telling other people what they ought to believe. She left all of those itchy, too-tight layers on the floor and stood naked in front of the world.

    And what do you think happened? It felt good. It felt so, so good. Sure, at first it was scary, because it felt unnatural compared to what she had been taught, and maybe even a little wrong. But she quickly came to find that being naked was, in fact, the most natural way--nothing extra, no excuse or disguise. When people smiled at her, they were smiling at her being. When people wanted to be her friend, it had nothing to do with her outfits.

    Others--those who still believed that all people should wear the creator’s clothes--were sometimes not happy. They told her to put her clothes back on, or they tried to convince her she was only undressing to rebel. But she knew her heart, and she knew what it felt like. No one who had never taken their clothes off could ever really know what it felt like, the terror and the freedom. If there is a creator, the woman thought (and sometimes even said out loud), this must be what it wants. And if this isn’t what it wants, then I don’t want anything to do with the creator.