BUTT NAKED AND ALL ALONE

I have been saying this phrase for several years now. I cannot remember where the phrase originated, or when I started. 

I tried looking up the phrase online, to see if it was attributed to anyone in the past. Bad idea.   I should not have been surprised, I guess. Looking up ‘butt’ and ‘naked’ online was not helpful, AT ALL.

I think that it may have popped into my head back in the days when I was delivering babies. Butt naked and all alone is how babies show up on the planet. Tiny strangers, born into a cold world, surrounded by strangers. I was honored to have been the first of those strangers for a few hundred of those tiny naked babies. We dried them off, wrapped them tiny blankets, and passed them off to other strangers, including their parents.

Over the next year, they each would learn a language, learn to speak it, learn to move around on their own, and feed themselves, and insert themselves into family life. Universally recognized as a series of absolute miracles, to be sure.

But, alas, I digress.  

‘Butt naked and all alone’ is how we come into this world.

 It is also how we each leave this world.  

Between the starting line and the finish line, our species has developed or implemented many mechanisms for make ourselves feel otherwise – that we are not naked, nor are we alone. Occasionally, these mechanisms are severely weakened or even disappear.   Puberty, coming of age, marriage, divorce, changing jobs – the list goes on and on. I have not even mentioned poverty, war, racial divisions, gender identity, etc. That list goes on and on, and my male, white, married, heterosexual, educated, employed self cannot even begin to appreciate those other factors – or even recognize them. When I finally can see and appreciate some of these other factors, I am embarrassed, discouraged, and somewhat disheartened.

Reminding myself that I am indeed, ‘butt naked and all alone’ helps bring me back to the ground. In the words of the old hymn, ‘I’ve got to walk that lonesome valley, I’ve got to walk it by myself.’

I, and I alone, can decide which trail or path I take. I may have to backtrack from time to time, I may have to change paths. There is no magic map available, only some general guidelines. For me to accept and use someone else’s map is not a solution that will work for me. For someone else to share their guidelines with me is helpful, but I alone can decide.  

Did I ever tell you the story about how I was born to Aliens? Maybe another time

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