Steve White maintains one of the most body-positive Facebook pages and Twitter feeds you will find anywhere. Follow him, and his inspirational messages and images will remind you every day how important you are, how beautiful you are, and how much you should love yourself first and foremost.
①. Steve, how did you become interested in naturism? Was there a particular day or event that sparked the interest in you, or was it there from as long as you can remember, even before knowing what “naturism” meant?
SW: Technically speaking, my initial involvement with naturism and the positive concepts it promotes is actually posted via the Internet upon my local naturist club website (Tallahassee Naturally). It’s an unique sporting event called the Greek Athletic Meet. My name is posted there on a side link of victors who have won that competition in past. It was back in 2000 and I’m listed as Steve.
As someone who has been involved with many sports throughout my school years and recreational sporting activities even today, this particular event back then really peaked my interest due to competing with this type of track and field which has the dress code of nudity and was very intriguing to me. However being involved with that particular naturist event for the first time really opened my eyes to a whole new world – something that immediately took me by surprise. The nudity that day was nothing more then a tool, the result of using the tool was the concept of body acceptance, basically the byproduct of naturism anyway. I was there to just compete, but I found that due to everyone being nude (expressing and exposing) all different body types, there was an appreciation of the human body form and all of its uniqueness. Which in return for individuals to love their own bodies by appreciating and accepting others while others are appreciating and accepting of theirs. That’s a very powerful concept.
②. Living in Florida, you have many options for naturist clubs and resorts. Tell me about your experiences there and your participation in Tallahassee Naturally.
SW: As a Floridian – someone who’s basically born and raised in the Sunshine State, my involvement with this particular lifestyle is truly a blessing due to the geographic location of Florida itself. Naturism can almost be enjoyed all year-round, and there’s only two or three months out of the year where clothes are necessary as being practical. Other then that the weather here in Florida is absolutely fabulous for outdoor nude activities. Even with my own local naturist club Tallahassee Naturally (TN), which is in North Florida, it’s still enjoyable to spend the majority of the year clothes-free. And with that said, I have spent more time in the last few years with Tallahassee Naturally in starting new events as well as being a part of our board – you know, being part of the politics in keeping our club running strong. Hey, you never know that maybe in the future I can start working on doing thing such as workshops, lectures and seminars at TN on body acceptance through the means of naturism.
③. You must do a lot of writing, just to guess from your many Facebook posts! How do you find time or make time to write, and what do you like to read? Do you have favorite writers on topics like love, self-worth, body acceptance?
SW: Do I do a lot of writing…?
HaHa… That’s a good one.Let me phrase it as I “USED TO” do a lot of writing the old fashion way, but now there’s new technology out there (even via your cell phone) where you can talk out and record your words into sentences, phrases, paragraphs etc. etc. etc. something that I see is very valuable for an individual like me who has dyslexia. Before technology such as this, I used to have to spellcheck, proofread and fight through my dyslexia to get what I wanted to convey to others by repeatedly checking over and over to get what I wanted to express. Now I can just let the words completely flow for how I feel on things that interest me such as my motto of “Body acceptance through the means of naturism”, a catchphrase that I use a lot. So when something is a good idea that pops up in my head, I immediately record my own voice to type it into clear readable words to share with others. Very useful tool for people who love to write, but struggle with writing itself. I may not be the next James Baldwin or great poet like Maya Angelou, writers who I highly admire, but if any of my words can touch the heart, spirit and soul of another person – isn’t that what writing is all about?
④. Your Facebook page and tweets are full of good advice for people who would like to convince their loved ones to try naturism. Is there anything else you would like to add here, or any stories from your own experience, about attracting newbies to naturism?
SW: Well, I don’t consider that I’m using a Facebook page when I post what I do there. I use my own personal profile like everybody else (which is not actually open to the public), but to my friends and acquaintances that are a part of my Facebook profile friends list, they are the ones who reap the benefits of what I post there. To which it’s more personal with my fellow naturists and non-naturist friends alike to see me posting things like everybody else on Facebook (event status of my day-to-day life) and some promotion of the lifestyle. However, due to having non-naturist friends there on FB – of course it’s only reasonable to post to them the benefits and tips on giving it a try. Hey, why not promote something that will honestly change their lives for the better – something that would give them self-love, self-confidence, a better self-esteem and improving their body image tremendously. So if I do receive a personal message or a reply comment from some non-naturist interested with naturism or even to help out other fellow naturists to introducing someone else to social naturism – I would tell them that I honestly believe that the best way is to invite them to a very active social naturist event. Something to occupy the mind of that person from the anxiety/stress of the initial nudity factor due to once they’re caught up doing certain activities anyone new to the lifestyle can easily forget that they’re nude – it becomes totally natural to them being that way and seeing others in that way.
Now as for me using Twitter (@AfroMandinka), well that’s open to the public. Little short tweets to provide information on gaining a better self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love and of course my motto of body acceptance through the means of naturism. And even there my Facebook profile is attached as a link on my Twitter account, just in case for anybody who wants to read more than just short tweets on Twitter.
⑤. One of the many awesome things about naturism is that it’s universal – good for anybody of any age, color, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc. But sometimes writers about naturism differentiate advice for women from advice for men, advice for young people or strategies for attracting young people to naturism, etc. As an African-American, do you think there is any particular advice to offer for people of color?
SW: In my humble opinion, naturism is universal or at least it’s supposed to be universal. There isn’t one particular way to help one group of individuals from the next – either it’s by age, gender, race/ethnic background to what have you, body acceptance is universal because all of us have one of those – a body. When a person has a negative body image in return they end up having a low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence etc. etc. etc… all of which can fall upon any individual – no matter who they are. But how can someone find a means to recover from this type of thinking, feeling and depression? Well that’s where naturism can come to the rescue. I am not saying that it will actually cure someone from negative body image, but I will say that social naturism is an escape or sanctuary from our society pressure to achieve a perfect body.
If the promotion and advertisement of naturism can be focused on this point of view (the body acceptance aspect) a whole lot more than what it is, I’m pretty sure it will be appealing to all different types of individuals – no matter what their race, color, sex, age to what have you is. If negative body image is universal and any person can be affected by it, then on the flipside of that, body acceptance is universal too and naturism is a powerful tool in achieving this goal. So how do I talk to people of my same ethnic origin, the same way I talk to everyone else – by using my motto again “Body acceptance through the means of naturism.”
Many thanks again, Steve, for your words of wisdom and encouragement supported by your years of experience and your unflagging optimism.