Naked Philadelphia Bike Ride

I am writing in a coffee shop on a Sunday morning. Penn undergrads are about to start classes. Noah Schnapp is the sensation on campus.

As soon as I start to write, my brain realizes that a state of mind is imminent and immediately wants to optimize the environment at the detriment of getting started. Odd behavior.

Yesterday was such a rich day. In the morning, I went to the Farmer’s Market on Clark Park and had a delightful time appreciating the warm colors and textures of arugula, kale, sesame seed bread, and peaches. Watching and interacting with people refreshes my mind.

Later that afternoon, I went to the Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride, an annual event celebrating body-positivity and cycling. I felt so many things. I first biked to Lemon Hill and joined a mass of naked Philadelphians of all walks of life socializing, drinking beer, smoking weed, painting their bodies, and getting busy with their bikes. When the race started, I did not anticipate the cheerfulness and jubilation of the crowds. It was a constant state of being of wholesomeness and joy. A celebration of life.

The experience was a metaphor for many things. I did not feel comfortable with fully-clothed individuals taking pics of the mass. This reminded me that it is much better to be in the arena than to be a spectator. I saw a lady in her 60s who projected so much confidence, depth, and character. I got a sense she has seen it all, and done it all. An acquisition of a character through great courage in life. She reminded me of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I can only aspire to live a life as hers: rich and ultimately rewarding.

Being comfortable with your skin is not only an exercise in acceptance and self-love, but also a radical honesty of who we are. There is nowhere to hide. I learned so much about myself in observing my reactions to an entirely new context. So refreshing. I think I’m getting addicted to new experiences.

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