Shameless promotion while at Mona’s in Denver before a great breakfast! #dancenaked (at Mona’s Restaurant)
Shameless promotion while at Mona’s in Denver before a great breakfast! #dancenaked (at Mona’s Restaurant)
Hello there A Guide to Dancing Naked friends! I’d like to take a moment to share with you a poet I met when I was in Washington D.C. working on a show at Folger Theatre. Some of the cast and I were invited to attend La-Ti-Do, a cabaret open mic night for musical theater and spoken word artists. I sung a little song with my castmate Adam and we stayed to watch some of the spoken word artists. When Beth Murch walked up to the mic, she was wearing a sparkly colorful headwrap that towered over her tiny head hiding her dreadlocks, an assortment of necklaces and beads around her neck, and wearing her natural face. I met her briefly in the artist waiting room and honestly didn’t know then that she was going to rock my naked world.
She touched my heart because she spoke hard truths about how people view her and how she herself has battled with her body own image. She begins shooting off like a rocket, debris and after-sparks dropping around her like rain with “This poem is dedicated to the guy on the bus who spat in my hair and called me: FAT.”
Here is Beth Murch, a.k.a Queen B, poetess and spoken word artist:
“Fat” by Beth Murch from “Postcards from Heaven to the Citizens of Hell”
I’ve never been large at any point in my life and really don’t know what it is like to be called “fat”. I know what it’s like to be called “skinny” and that is not a compliment to me at all. It’s usually said with a hint of envy, bitterness, or condescension. None of those things elevate me or lift me up. I only feel judgement. That’s my own personal experience but Beth was dropping down some serious knowledge about how we as a society view her when she says,
“You think my BODY is a product of a lack of restraint, and if I would only stop eating so many cheesepuffs and drinking so much pop I wouldn’t be such a burden to the healthcare system.”
I’ve seen so many documentaries and read articles about over weight people in America and how they are costing taxpayers millions of dollars in the healthcare industry, that they are addicted to food, and are often depicted as “one of those people on the nightly news only shown from the neck down wearing ugly polyester pants…” They are de-humanizing people who are over weight by taking away their faces and their voices, but Beth speaks loud and clear, this brilliant beam of light that burns through the media smoke:
“I don’t need to step out of my FAT suit to know how GORGEOUS I am.”
“My body is so much more than a wonderland: it’s a bouncy castle.”
At this point, people in the audience, including myself, are cheering, shouting, clapping, or snapping until our thumbs hurt. Beth takes us on a walk through her shoes. I felt her rage, her embarrassment, her pride, her reconciliation. I even felt myself grabbing my own flesh in the mirror alongside her and screaming into the mirror. I had to stand up and cheer when she finished. Actually I jumped up and down like a madwoman. I had tears in my eyes. She hit home for me and everyone in the room.
I thank Beth Murch for her poetry, her courage, and her metaphorical sword that cuts us deep at our cores. If you have been inspired by Beth or this poem please share! You can also check out her amazing body of work in 3 ways:
1. WordPress! https://bethmurch.wordpress.com/
3. See her Perform! Beth will next be seen at Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir in Toronto, Canada. So if you’re in the area, check her out!
STILL haven’t danced naked? That’s okay! It’s not an easy task at first but once you get the hang of it you’ll be taking part in a glorious and fun celebration of the body you’ve been given. Have a peek at The Guide to learn more!
Have any questions about this subject or A Guide to Dancing Naked? Ask me!
Week 2 of the 1 gallon water challenge!! Adding fruits like cucumber, lemon, and strawberries to your water bottle can make your challenge a little tastier this week and give you sugars and nutrients to aid hydration! Try it today! #dancenaked #gallonwaterchallenge
I got a message not too long ago from a friend about her trip to Spa World in Virginia and she said it reignited her feelings of beauty about her naked body. Wait..what is Spa World you say?
Usually when I think of bath houses I think of the animated film “Spirited Away” and the little girl who had to work in a mystical bath house that helped clean spirits, ghosts, and even demons in order to free her parents from an evil curse that turned them into pigs. In the real world there are places like Spa World, a Korean Bath house. It’s not your typical Elizabeth Arden or Aveda Spa experience. No women with cucumber on their eyes or people walking around in white towels with clay on their faces. It’s a giant concrete building, the size of a warehouse, in an open shopping mall with an Asian market, a few shops, and a mexican restaurant. It looks borderline sketchy until you walk inside the front doors under a small sign that says “Spa World”.
The name itself makes it seem like a planet that you go to visit a thousand years from now in the future to fulfill all your intergalactic pampering needs. When you enter you walk down a long clean corridor with green carpet toward a marbled front desk, walls of neat lockers, bright green plants, and soft traditional Asian music. You feel relaxed already. Spa World is open 24 hours a day and one pass is good for 12 hours. After checking in you are given a “uniform”. The women are given these bright orange shirt and shorts outfit. It isn’t fancy or nice. The waistband in the shorts is elastic and the shirt covers any physical feature that you have. They remind me of something little kids would wear in a Miyazaki animated film before bed. But honestly it doesn’t matter because where you are going doesn’t require any clothes.
The Spa World baths are split into female and male sections. There is a co-ed section downstairs where you can get a Thai Massage, eat at the snack bar or restaurant, or visit one of the many poultice rooms to detox. There are showers and lockers before getting going into the bath are where you fold up your bright orange outfit. Beyond this point no clothes are allowed. Since when do you bathe in your bathing suit?
So this is part that can get a little scary, especially if communal bathing isn’t part of your culture. It’s you in a room full of women and everyone is naked. But honestly, no one is there to gawk or criticize. Everyone is there to have a relaxing experience is a safe space.
When I went to Spa World for the first time, I went with a girlfriend of mine. I was a little nervous about being naked with a group of women and even with my friend whom I’d never seen naked before outside of changing in a dressing room. I thought, “Oh no! Is this going to be awkward?!” I didn’t know what to expect but hoped for the best.
As my friend and I stood before the baths, completely naked, I could feel my bare feet on the concrete ground, a little rough like a public pool to keep people from slipping who didn’t follow the “No Running” policy. I felt like a kid again. There we were in all our glory. As I looked around the room a wave of relief in the form of warm steam came over me. We were surrounded by other naked women that varied in shape, age, race, height, and size. Everyone was just…having a bath. Immediately I released my inhibitions about my being naked. And in order to really enjoy the experience, you kind of have to.
I was in awe at the casual nature of nudity at this establishment. I’ve read a few reviews about a local spa in Denver close to where I currently live called Lake Steam Baths. People were complaining about the strict no clothes policy back in 2011. The establishment has been around for many years and use traditional practices. I realize it isn’t some random rule that everyone should be naked. There’s something to this experience. Instead of seeing the business as not fulfilling their needs because they feel self conscious, I say, try to challenge yourself to overcome your fears. I believe if we spent a little more time with our naked selves and became more comfortable with how we look on an everyday basis, going to bath houses wouldn’t seem like such a personal hurdle.
I’ve heard of women who’ve had mastectomies who feel liberated after going to these communal bath houses. I’ve also heard of women seeing naked women with mastectomies who feel more comfortable with themselves. There is something powerful about witnessing other naked women, women who live around us, our neighbors, our friends, women who that aren’t models or on television. We are not only humbled by this experience but become grounded. We can see, right in front of us, the beautiful and diverse bodies that exist in reality, including our own.
I was reading an article* about negative body image in men and women. I learned that if the majority of images of women we see are of celebrities, models, air-brushed, and edited, we actually believe that those bodies and looks are attainable to us. And as much as we think we know that those bodies aren’t realistic, in our subconscious minds we still want them and desire to have them. I am a human and I cannot fight this urge. And it’s nearly impossible to avoid these images of women from my psyche.
So, Brynn where’s the hope?
Female communal nudity! If we are able to see and be naked with other women who live in our own communities we can come to love and appreciate the lovely bodies that we have. We can also witness all of the changes that we all will someday have to go through and we won’t be alone because we are surrounded by other women just like us going through the same motions. There’s a reason why women who live in rural areas are more comfortable with their own bodies compared to women who live in suburban and urban areas. They aren’t as bombarded by commercial images and the majority of women they see are their neighbors, colleagues, role models, teachers, and friends. Attending places like Spa World is a great way to overcome our body image woes and appreciate the female form.
Going to a bath house is supposed to be a full mind, body, and spirit cleansing experience and we limit the results with barriers that we put up. Reading more about the local Denver bath house, they have altered their policy to allow bathing suits. However I noted that people have slowly realized that when they wear them they draw attention to themselves (as the only clothed ones there) and eventually end up removing them. At the same time, dipping your toe in is a good thing, and being in a bathing suit only to gain the courage to take it off is a nice choice to have.
There are bath houses like Spa World all over the country. Many of them are open either very late or even 24 hours and have affordable rates and coupons for all day passes. I know Spa World also gives out Groupons a few times a year. My friend and I drove an hour to Spa World and it was well worth the trip. Even having the time to go once a month or with friends and family can be not only relaxing and rejuvenating but a great way to have girl time!
I believe Dancing Naked is the best way to celebrate and love the amazing bodies we have been blessed with every day. Being able to join with other women, women in our own communities, and participate in communal nudity cleanses our minds of doubt and feeds our positive self body image. I’m going to check out Lake Steam Baths in Denver soon and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.
So get some gal pals together, find a local bath house and share the experience! And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be your birthday rock your suit.
Have questions or comments about this subject or dancing naked? Ask Brynn!
Momma’s got some new art supplies! Trying to step up my game on illustrations for A Guide to Dancing Naked. More to come! #dancenaked
Join A Guide to Dancing Naked in the One Gallon Water Challenge all this month in drinking one gallon every day!
I just moved to Denver, Colorado and between the altitude and dry air it is truly a struggle to stay hydrated on a daily basis. It seems like no matter how much water I drink my throat is constantly parched. When I wake up in the morning my sinuses feel tight and my nose feels hollow and hard. And It doesn’t help that I have eczema that causes flaky skin on my face and body. I often feel like I’m in one of those old cartoons with my turban in the desert crawling toward a distant mirage of an oasis whispering “Water…water!!” So when I heard about the One Gallon Water Challenge I had to jump on this bad wagon for my own sake. And after a little research I found out some great ways that hydrating on the regular can greatly improve my quality of life and relieve me of some of my Mile High City woes.
“Water makes up about two/thirds of who we are, and influences one hundred percent of the processes in your body.” -Camelbak hydration expert Doug Casa, PhD.
Water making up 2/3 of WHO WE ARE is an amazing fact to me. It just shows how imperative water is to make sure that all of our body functions are running properly.
Drinking a glass of water before a meal makes you feel more full, satiated, and may also boost your metabolism. Studies have shown that people are more likely to have better success with weight loss when drinking water regularly than those that don’t!
You can improve your mood and general happiness with having water as a regular part of your diet. Mild dehydration has been shown to negatively impact moods. I would be cranky too if I was thirsty!
3. Prevents Common Illnesses
Water is a natural detoxifier. It has been recommended to drink a huge glass of water first thing in the morning before any food, coffee or tea, to rinse out your system to clean out that digestive tract. This can give you a leg up on any colds or flus going around the office or school. Studies show that the greater the fluid intake, the lower incidence of bladder cancer and urinary tract infections (UTI), especially when that fluid is water. I’m down for preventing uncomfortable UTI’s!
Your skin is an entire organ! It is made up if skin cells that need water in order to survive and protect you from the outside world. Also, when you drink water it goes to all of your other organs before finally reaching your skin. That’s why drinking water at an even keel throughout the day is the best way to help your skin naturally cleanse itself of toxins, heal, and prevent wrinkles. Because I have eczema, extremely dry skin, it is super important that I am getting my daily dose of H2O!
When your body is hydrated, so is your mind! Dehydration causes shrinkage in brain tissue. Yikes! That means our brains have to work harder and it becomes difficult to stay alert. It’s been shown that students test better when they bring water to exams. It’s the gas that keeps us moving, active, and acing those finals!
Celebrated a little to hard last night? Drinking enough water can help take the edge off hangovers. Feeling crummy after even a few glasses of wine the night before is caused by dehydration that occurs naturally when drinking alcohol. Sipping water steadily as you drink and the day after can ease your post-happy hour headache.
When I think of a gallon of water I think “Whoa Mama! That’s a lot of water”. Actually it’s not that much. And as much as it would strengthen your biceps, you don’t have to carry around a huge gallon container with your everywhere. There are 128oz in 1 gallon. Looking at my own 30oz water bottle, I see that I only have to fill it up about 4 times during the day if I have an 8oz glass when I wake up in the morning. Thinking of it that way this challenge is super do-able.
Don’t get me wrong, water is great, but it’s not the only or best way to stay hydrated. Fresh fruits such as cucumber, watermelon, and strawberries have minerals, and natural sugars needed to hydrate us and can be better that water alone! A friend of mine at work has a huge cup of water she brings in and fills it with fresh fruit to sustain her throughout the day. Some other options are to add cucumber and mint to your water bottle, or even some lemon and lime to refresh yourself throughout the day!
Remember, this is not college and we don’t have to be chugging water like a maniac. Drinking water steadily throughout the day is the best way to maintain your hydration.
This month I ask you to join me in this challenge. A hydrated body is a happy body and I am in full support of this. Not only is the One Gallon Water Challenge easy, it totally FREE! Get creative with your water and try to get some naked dancing in there too this month! Keep me posted on how your challenge is going. And if you every have any questions about this challenge or about A Guide to Dancing Naked just ask me!