Washington Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C. Summer 2015.
Shame is a feeling of social rejection and isolation, and almost nothing in human emotion can rival its power.
We are social creatures, we feel secure in groups, and when a group sets us outside its boundaries we feel vulnerable and exposed and terrified.
Lone zebras get eaten.
I walk bare-chested because I enjoy the feeling of freedom it gives me. I started quietly walking bare-chested publicly two years ago. The vast majority of my interactions with passersby were and remain neutral or positive, but there was a learning curve in those early walks. A Washington D.C. police officer once stopped me and said, “It may be legal [to be bare-chested], but we’re going to arrest you anyway, because it’s unreasonable.”
He did not arrest me. I had broken no law. He was just trying to use his perceived power to shame…
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