For the month of March, I set out to do a bit of solo-exploration. When I lived in Atlanta, I went out and found things to do by myself all the time, but somehow, moving back home changed that. So this month, I vowed to venture out alone to do things I liked, things I wanted to explore, even things other people just weren’t interested in.
My old roommates will tell you, clothes have never particularly been my cup of tea, but somehow I’d backtracked into always being covered up (mostly because I live with my parents again). However, going to a nude beach is still on my list of things to do, so I had to get with the program. Enter Spa World…
It was a Korean Spa that many people visited for relaxation, exercise, and massage therapy. I was only going because it was a gift my brother had gotten me for Christmas. He warned me that it was all nude, but advised me that I could avoid it by going to the saunas. I, however, had no such plans.
I entered the spa nervously, partly because it was in a shopping center and I had imagined it being in some oasis of a location in the middle of Virginia. At the same time, there were many mixed reviews online about the condition of the facilities (anyone that knows me knows I’m an uber-googler), so I was a little concerned about hygiene.
I told the young man at the front desk that it was my first time visiting and I wasn’t quite sure where to go. He showed me the locker “for my shoes ONLY,” handed me a uniform, then pointed me to the women’s changing room. I got there pretty early in the morning and it was Daylight Savings Day, so I didn’t expect there to be many people. To my delight, there were not.
The changing area only had two people aside from me—an attendant and a naked woman. I shuffled to my locker, which just so happened to be directly next to the naked woman’s. My heart started to pace and my mind began to race frantically. Do I put on the uniform or do I go naked? I thought too many times to count. In the end, nudity prevailed.
So, I strip. Simple enough, right? Wait, where do I put my phone? Can I take it with me? I decided I had to take it. I walked towards the spa with nothing but my phone and earbuds, but then I froze. I stood at the glass door and saw all of the naked people, and my feet wouldn’t let me go any further. I hurried back to my locker to put the uniform on and scurried to the bathroom like a preteen with no friends at lunch.
I immediately texted my brother. HE got me into this mess, and he was going to help get me out.
Of course, he didn’t respond; it was much too early on a Sunday for him to respond in a timely fashion.
I walked out of the bathroom, looking for the entrance to the clothed section of this place- and couldn’t find it! I’m trapped! What was I supposed to do??? Well, Sydney, you came here to be naked. So, again I stripped. I was going to do this! However, my nerves were so worked up at this point that I had to go to the restroom and actually use it this time.
When I walked out to wash my hands, I ran into a pack of at least 20 WOMEN IN UNIFORMS! …Okay, maybe it was five. But still, where had they come from??? The first woman I saw had eyes that pierced my body with judgment. I immediately retreated from my boldness. I couldn’t do this.
I disappeared to my locker AGAIN. The woman in the locker next to me had to have thought I was crazy at this point. I threw on the uniform as fast as I could and ran towards the door the uniformed women had come from. Ahhh, the saunas. I’d found my escape.
I spent the next four hours relaxing in saunas of different degrees, sleeping more comfortably than ever, and meditating to the highest of vibrations. I had found my peace. At one point I had a sauna all to myself and was so elated to stretch out across the floor. But, after only five minutes of solitude, a woman entered by herself. Ok, I can share with ONE person, I guess.
WAIT A MINUTE, IT WAS HER! The woman that had stared at my body like an alien with three heads. Great, just ruined my sauna. That’s what I got for sharing. She saw me peek at her and decided to make small talk. She asked me how often I came to Spa World; it was her first time because she too received the trip as a Christmas gift. I informed her it was my first visit as well; she seemed surprised. She said I had seemed so comfortable that she thought I had a membership. Hmm…maybe what I saw wasn’t judgment?
After my phone had died and I got another nap in, I decided it was time to head home. As I walked out, I realized that there were many more people around than when I had first entered; seemed like I’d picked a good time. But then I walked into the changing room and I saw…
There were naked women EVERYWHERE. Lumpy, bumpy, saggy, jiggly. Women of every height, shape, and size. It was pure beauty. They were all imperfect and unwaveringly preparing to enter or leave the spa. It was like nothing I had seen before. Is what that woman saw in me, what I’m seeing in them?
It. Was. Amazing.
It. Was. Beautiful.
I will be the same.
I will be back.