Getting Naked with Strangers
Last year a friend of mine told me how she went in a charity swimming event – completely naked! “Hmmmm, that’s um, really good!” I responded politely. Like um, is this legit?? “You should do it next year Ange!” Totally….
10 months later and my friend decided to hold me to my polite show of interest by reminding me the Sydney Skinny was coming.
Now, this friend is a bit older than me, outgoing and a little adventurous, which I absolutely admire. I couldn’t help but feel I was being dared to flinch though…
So I jumped onto the Sydney Skinny website and completed my registration. “All signed up, see you there!” I reported back.
Then I waited, I’ll be worried about it when the time comes.
The big weekend finally arrived and I have to say, I was a little distracted! Besides the fact my husband took great pleasure in teasing me about how it might go down and watching me squirm – for someone who is used to being in charge of running a business, running classes, planning and directing people….. I had no idea what to expect!
The entire drive down my fingers were numb from gripping the steering wheel.
I arrived and let me tell you, it was absolutely pouring in Sydney. I had one change of clothes only. I sat in the car and texted my friend. No reply. Guess I’ll have to get out and find out what I need to do.
Arrived at the registration tent to be told: “We’re sorry, the last wave has just been sent down to the beach – it’s raining too much and the track is getting slippery and unsafe”…
Me: oh, that’s a shame (secretly relieved – oh well, I tried! can’t help the weather etc)
Then another lovely volunteer chimed in: You’re good to go down, I just radioed them!
So I made my way down a slippery wet rocky track to the secluded beach in bare feet as my thongs just wouldn’t stay on, rushing with a mental picture that I would be the last one to get my gear off and get in the water so all eyes would be on ME…. the clothes I’d carefully selected for warmth when finishing the event becoming more drenched and stuck to me on the way down….heart pumping/adrenaline!
When I arrived I couldn’t hear the instructions on what we were supposed to do over the rainfall, so I just joined the group and followed everyone onto the beach.
Let’s get this over with.
People started stripping off and I suddenly felt like I shouldn’t be there….What was I doing? And I was by myself!
But they called it, I took my gear off and chucked it in a pile on the beach and we all ran into the water – laughing and giggling the whole way. It was actually quite funny, and fun!
The water temperature was thankfully quite warm due to the rainfall, and we enjoyed a pleasant easy swim around some blow up pink flamingos and a ring of fully clothed (worse luck) life guards including one of Bondi Rescue fame apparently.
As I approached the shore I clocked the volunteer holding the most sarongs and made a bee line to grab one to get back to my clothes.
I survived, nothing awful happened and I’m really really glad I did it.
- For around 24 hours I thought of nothing else, I experienced a healthy dose of uncertainty and letting go of control – this was an important mental break for me!
- I committed to, and achieved surviving the unknown, and what I walked away with was a really fun experience that I now quite enjoy recounting to people to see the shock on their faces 😉
- As a fitness trainer in an industry that reinforces stereotypes of how we should look, and profits from body confidence issues – it was fantastic to see a group of around 150 grown adults laughing and having a great time because there was nowhere to hide – no selfie angles, no filters, and no clothes! There was something quite nice about that.
And the best part, I realised I think I prefer swimming without swimmers than attempting to get my un-model like body shape to try and conform to the latest swimwear trend!
I highly recommend participating in The Sydney Skinny if this sounds like it scares you. Apparently over 50k was raised for the Charlie Teo Foundation and brain cancer research, and personally, it was just such an experience.
My conclusion? It’s worthwhile scaring yourself sometimes, facing the uncertain and knowing that you can take away so much from it.
If you are still scared about facing your fitness goals, nutrition habits or body confidence issues, attending a class or stuck on where to get started – stop it now, because unless you’ve stripped off in front of a heap of strangers and plunged into the water, you haven’t been scared enough yet I’m afraid!
No, I’m not saying you’ve got to get your gear off, but at the very least put your fears about finally achieving the success you dream of into perspective, and get started. You never know what you’ll learn along the way.
I’d love to hear, have you done something that scares you yet this year?