I Used to be Modest

A significant aspect of my culture and upbringing has been the stress on modesty. This resulted in an extremely modest person who never wore short shorts and never bore any cleavage whatsoever. In fact, the only time I’d ever gone out in public in a bathing suit (post-puberty) was during a trip to Hawaii after high school, and that was because all were strangers to me except for my two best friends and Nene.

I remember the first time I had to take my shirt off for a doctor. I was embarrassed, uncomfortable, and very awkward. I would squirm around and try to find ways to keep myself covered up…which probably didn’t help the poor doctor who was trying to examine me for my own benefit.

As time passed and I had to show 10, 20, 30 doctors, the awkward feeling slowly dissolved. I eventually would just strip off my shirt and bra without even thinking twice about it. I got used to doctors feeling me up to check for swelling/cysts/abscesses.

It got to the point to where I would periodically start taking my shirt off without being asked. My house, movie theatres, restaurants, grocery stores, the bank–there was no limit to my shirt-removing tendencies. I had developed a habit and could no longer tell the difference between doctor and civilian; I just assumed everyone wanted to help me get better.

And then things got even worse when I had to have surgery on my inner upper thighs. I got so accustomed to spreading my legs (literally) for any doctor or nurse who walked into my hospital room (we’re talking 20-25 people total) so they could examine the surgery site, that I forgot how to interact with people in a socially acceptable way.

I thought it would be okay to walk around without pants on (no one in the hospital seemed to mind), and couldn’t understand why my family members kept insisting that I wore pants. Each person with whom I’d interacted had been a doctor, so everyone was a doctor, right? That’s what I had experienced, and that’s what I believed. In a world full of doctors, surely I could walk around pantsless without attracting any disapproving stares.

Eventually, my mom got fed up with my pantslessness and top-stripping habits and forced me to wear a burlap sack with a security belt around the waist to prevent me from undressing in public. The belt could be unlocked only with a key that my mom kept in her safe in a bank at an undisclosed location. I had no way out.

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Unfortunately, the insistence that I wear clothes at all times pushed me to exhibit compulsive behavior. I started loving clothes. I LOVED THEM. It was like seeing in color for the first time. I could wear them all the time and never frown! I slowly realized that I was afraid to live without clothes…I couldn’t even shower sans clothing. My fate became similar to that of Arrested Development’s Tobias Fünke–that’s right, I had become a Never Nude.

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After consulting a support group and spending 30 hours/week with my psychiatrist, I am now finally able to begin living a normal life again. To my fellow Never Nudes out there: You can too.

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