So on this night when she walked in as I was writing this post, I did something unprecedented.
I rode my bike across a stream. I used to get off the bike and push to the other side, because I thought I would fall over. But I managed to stay on the bike, defying my previous expectations. On my return trip my bike swirled in the mud of the stream and I had to stop and get off, but I didn't fall over. I managed to maintain balance, stepping into the stream with my bare foot, something that would be very uncomfortable with shoes on.
I have asked the question from the title to myself several times over the past several months, always with the genuine desire to know the answer. Then in a single moment - I do not remember what it was - it just popped into my head.
Gymnophobia is a learned, cultural phenomenon that is relatively recent.
Clothes tend to hide [our posture] and instead impose an image of how the position we occupy is viewed by society, thus diminishing the person that occupies it. Clothes are in most cases a lie draped over our bodies; a lie we ought to wear to protect people from recognizing - from our posture and other forms of non-verbal communication which the clothes hide - how miserable we truly are underneath that expensive designer suit, or dress.
I find that I am even now in a similarly vulnerable position as I write publicly about some of the things that I have kept hidden for so long from everyone, from my parents, from my friends, from my own wife, from the world in general and even from myself. But I also find that without exposing this vulnerability I am unable to move on.
"I'd never trust a fully clothed waiter [...] Who knows how long he'd been wearing all those clothes, let alone where he'd been with them."
Most of the time you don't need [clothes ...]. Yet you're willing to spend sometimes even much more than an hour of your life on a single garment. [... There] is this fear that is present today, where people think that they absolutely need to be wearing some clothes, but that is an irrational fear. It's fear of being ridiculed, or judged by others.