health

"Yes, Mum. People will see my nipples."

Taryn in her swimming gear.

Today I told my Mum that I am participating in the Sydney Skinny (a nude swim).

Her response: “Naked? Without any clothes? PEOPLE WILL SEE YOU! OH, TARYN!” I had to send her home immediately to watch The Bold and the Beautiful and have a quiet cup of tea.

(As an aside: Oh dear God, did she tell my dad? This could get awkward…)

Now I’m not a nudist (not that there is anything wrong with nudists) and taking my clothes off in front of 1000+ other people is going to feel slightly unusual, but I am so excited to do something that is outside of the ordinary. As a friend once told me: “Magic happens when you step outside your comfort zone.”

Even a month away from the event, magic is happening to me and to my mood by just thinking about doing something that I’ve never done, and never thought I would be capable of.  For those of you who read my “I’ve lost my sparkle” column last week, let me give you an update – the sparkle is BACK! (Oh and when I was referring to trimming my beard, I was talking about the fluffy blonde hairs on the side of my face – not downstairs!)

Anyhoo, I digress… back to getting my kit off!

The Sydney Skinny is the brainchild of Nigel Marsh, Co-Founder of Earth Hour (you know, when you turn off your lights) and all-round top bloke. He created the Sydney Skinny because he himself went through a personal transformation and wanted to create an event that helped him (and others) to reconnect with their sense of adventure.

Yes please, sense of adventure, I’m up for it. Pick me, pick me, pick me! Honestly, it can feel like groundhog day out here in Mummy-land: school lunches, get into bed, time to clip your nails, get into bed, eat your dinner, get into bed. Swimming naked in the ocean? Woohoo! Well that’s going to break up the monotony, isn’t it?

From Taryn: “This is Paul, he is 84 years old and swims 30 laps a day. After each lap I rested and watched this old man swim gracefully and with ease. He was inspiring, so I had to meet him.”

Nigel says, “The Sydney Skinny is a safe, loving, fun, fundraising, communal way of safely stepping outside your comfort zone and having a blast in one of the most beautiful places in the world while raising money to keep Sydney Harbour beautiful. There were 1,000 people who did it last year and I guarantee every single one of them felt better about themselves when they came out of the water and the world didn’t stop spinning because they were naked for half a second. Nobody stared, pointed or laughed; it’s just a very liberating experience.”

When I was deliberating whether or not I would go ahead with the swim, it was Nigel’s last comment that impacted me the most.  The L world: liberating. Yes, liberation *fist punch*. There is no greater feeling than the one that comes from not giving a toss. To be free, to be wild, to live with sparkle; to live with liberation.

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This is what participating in the Sydney Skinny is about for me.

For others it is more about drawing a line in the sand and starting fresh with a new venture, or leaving difficult habits behind. Creating meaningful permanent change in one’s life in the real world (our world) is hard. If it were easy we’d all be fit and no one would smoke. People need tangible things to help them draw lines in the sand and commit, like Anthony Robbins’ fire walk, or getting married or joining a gym. An event like the Sydney Skinny is a fabulous milestone to work towards and an even better launch pad to move forward from.

Whether you come out of the water saying, “I will never pick up another cigarette again” or “I will practice a higher level of self-acceptance” it is a wonderful tool to help you put an asterisk in the calendar and raise your game.

Speaking of raising games, I’ve had to raise mine significantly.

Up until 3 days ago I couldn’t swim more than one length of a pool. Tonight I swam 30. Yes, I panted and puffed after each 50 metres. Yes, I swam into someone’s backside. Yes, I swallowed water halfway down the pool and did that regurgitate-panic-loud belch in front of a swim squad. But I am still here to tell the tale! It is truly amazing what your body and your mind is capable of, when given the opportunity to soar.

Here are seven reasons why you should join me and participate in The Sydney Skinny:

1. Reconnect with your sense of adventure (life is so short, when was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone?)

2. Draw a line in the sand and put permanent, meaningful change into your life.

3. As the shortest, flattest and easiest swim on the calendar it is the perfect ‘starter swim’ introduction to the world of ocean swimming.

4. Be part of one of the world’s unique iconic events. Something to tell the grandkids!

5. Raise money to help protect one of the natural wonders of the world – beautiful Sydney Harbour.

6. Strike a blow against destructive body pressure and practice greater self-acceptance.

7. Come and meet me! I always love to meet Body Image Movement followers in person and I will be hanging around all day after the swim. (Just don’t try and start a conversation until I have my sarong back on!!)

Would you ever participate in a nude swim? Have you ever done something to get your “sparkle” back?