In the South, we say nek-kid. And just the thought of it makes my stomach hurt.
At the age of ten, I was a chubby, prepubescent blob of nerves. As such, you can imagine just how horrified I was when my Grandpa took me to the YMCA one terrible Saturday morning. We walked into the locker room, and these old men initiated a shock and awe campaign on my eyes.
Ew. Just ew.
It must have been Senior Citizen Saturday at the YMCA. Friends, everything had lost its elasticity. There were body parts sagging below other body parts and I just wanted to claw my eyeballs out. The room was filled with white-haired old men that looked sort of like a whole chicken, vacuum-sealed in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
I have never recovered.
I was petrified at the thought of being naked around anyone. This is due to my childhood sexual abuse, coupled with the “bonus” of growing up in the purity culture of the Evangelical church. I was the kid who found comfort in hiding beneath a hoodie, even on particularly warm days in Alabama. I was the preteen, wearing a t-shirt to the swimming pool, because I didn’t have the muscle tone of other, more athletic boys my age.
Even though I became hooked on pornography at the age of twelve, the truth is: I still don’t like to be naked.
Everyone needs to get naked. Here's why...
I haven’t talked to my brother in more than six months. We’ve never really been close, but it still breaks my heart. He’s got his issues, and I’ve had mine, but it’s sad to totally lose connection with family.
The details of what has transpired over the past six months aren’t nearly as important as the underlying fact that simmers just beneath the surface: we’re afraid to be naked.
We’ve both been hurt, and we’ve hurt each other. But the fact that we have disengaged and walked away is the sad reality of a culture that tells men lies like:
Don't stop for directions! Just keep driving.
Vulnerability is weakness.
Get it together, bro.
Don't cry! Dry it up.
Stop whining! Don't be a little bitch.
External toughness equals manliness.
Your worth is found in what you do, not who you are.