"So many times in life I have come across people (usually females) who feel themselves so lacking in confidence about their looks and personality that they fail to see their own beauty which they spend their whole lives hiding away from the world. They are in effect hiding their light under a bushel as the saying from the bible goes.
In biblical terms, a bushel was a bowl and not some evergreen shrub, but nevertheless the message remains the same. Until we are able to show ourselves to the world, warts and all, and like ourselves, it is most unlikely that the world will be able to see and accept us for the good person we are.
For most of my life I have held some curiosity for the wide variations of opinion that different men and women, different parts of society and different countries have held towards dress and nudity. I have always believed that nudity of itself is most natural and that it is mankind that is capable of making it unnatural, immoral, indecent or improper. Indeed, part of me is instantly annoyed when the public seeks to make a big issue out of a mother breast feeding her baby outside her home, especially when the feeding is done discreetly within public gaze.
As for 'getting an eyeful', seeing a woman naked as opposed to one partly clothed has never sexually aroused me; neither has any natural part of human functioning offended my sensibilities. While half the world is starving and a large chunk of it is at war, homeless or without gainful work, my time spent worrying about polite manners, proper speech and political correctness is never going to command centre stage of my attention.
While I readily recognise that I am not a perfect replica of many men and women, I do have a healthy respect for the mind and body of myself and those of all others. Where does this come from, you might ask? I have not the faintest of doubt in my own mind; it is from my own background and upbringing.
I was born the eldest into a large family of seven children, where room space was always at a premium and at a time when where there was nowhere to hide and nothing unusual to think twice about if you occasioned to see the naked or partially dressed bodies of your brothers and sisters; or even mum or dad as they bathed in the tin tub in front of the lounge fire. In fact I was born, not in hospital, but the spare bedroom of my grandparents house in County Waterford, Ireland. Later conversations with my mother led me to discover that two female neighbours present at my home birth observed my nakedness as soon as I entered the world. Naturally, they kept quiet about all they saw until I was 18 years old, when they assessed my embarrassment to have reached its highest and a few bottles of stout too many had been imbibed and a laugh at my expense desired.
During my childhood years it was usual for many rural families of the time to rear hens and other animals to help feed the family and therefore I knew all about the birds and the bees long before my contemporaries at school and all those other children who'd been born in towns had been stung by aging curiosity. I recall as a growing child never being afraid to ask my mother any question under the sun, however personal, along with her not being fearful to provide me with an honest and unvarnished answer. I know now that such an honest relationship between mother and son to be extremely rare, but it was one from which I always valued and have always benefited from.
Today, there is no issue or question that I would duck if the need presented itself with either children, siblings, family members or friends and though my body be broken, bent and battered by years of accidents, life encounters and personal abuse, I have never been ashamed of it, nor ever will be." William Forde: January 13th, 2016.