I realized quickly this afternoon, that while I may have been the only non-Korean woman in the entire women's spa area of the jimjilbang, I had definitely found myself in familiar company.
This was absolutely a Sunday afternoon family affair and there were small groups of grandmothers with their grandchildren, mothers with their babies, girlfriends gossiping as they soaked and relaxed in all the various mineral pools and saunas and steam rooms. I almost felt as if I was intruding on a party without an invitation. Almost. Except that being naked, soaking in warm waters, having the sing song of laughter dance over my ears, and taking a cozy nap next to an ajummas while we both lay together on the cedar planks of the sauna just felt like the most natural thing I could possibly do on any day, but especially today.
Whole families come to the jimjilbang. The men going one way, the women another, later meeting in the common rooms where they all can even sing karaoke, share in wellness classes, gym classes, more massage, more saunas and detox rooms and eat a delicious meal or grab a sleeping spot, get cozy and stay the night. All I kept thinking as my body and soul relaxed and renewed was, "We could use a whole lot more of this in America."
I mean that. Sincerely.
Let's put down our worries. Let's get naked and have a laugh, tell some gossip and have a soak. Let's rub off all our dirt and all of our dead skin and let it all wash down the drain. Let's take a nap together and share all our dreams.
Dave Winer said that. Dave has said a lot of wise things to me over the years that I've been very blessed and lucky enough to love him. I mean that sincerely. I have Grace Davis to thank for introducing us properly even though Keith Teare, my boss at one of my previous companies, had actually sent me to Dave's original BloggerCon to try and interest him in what our company was developing at the time. Dave was working on Podcasting at the time and what we were doing was video chat and hosting with all the bells and whistles (think Google Hangouts!) that you could actually record and save and we really thought it might be a good marriage for the podcasting world.
Anyway, I went to BloggerCon and introduced myself to Dave (and we both really do not remember THAT), but what did happen is that I went to many of the sessions on BLOGGING and I was inspired beyond belief and my own little blog was launched that very weekend. NAKEDJEN happened because of BloggerCon, because of Dave Winer and this blog you're reading now actually would not even exist without his loving heart, his generosity, and the really wonderful tools that he has created.
Yes, this sounds like a love letter. I suppose it really is. The thing is, sometimes we have to just sit down and write it all out and say thank you out loud to the people in our lives who have made a real difference. Who matter. Who show up in our lives, whose hearts crash into ours and we have that recognition, who make us laugh just a little bit louder than the rest, who get our jokes, who actually listen when we're talking to them, who call when no one else wants to pick up the phone, who create things that might seem like just small little things, but actually are big important things, and who, well, make a big fucking difference in your own little life on this blue ball that is spinning around the sun.
Sometimes you just have to actually sit down and write a thank you letter. Or a blog post.
I write a lot of words and say a lot of things and am noisy and naked and disruptive and really appreciate that I have the freedom to do this without fear that someone might come and lock me up. That's the beauty of blogging and the gift that we have been given by those who stepped up and gave us the freedom to hit the publish key and say exactly what we wanted to say, just as boldly as we wished to say it.
I can't imagine how different my life may have been if I had not been naked for the last twelve years. Yes. Twelve years.
Dave has been at this for twenty years. It's been a gift of letting me stand naked on the corner and shout at all of you for twelve.
I thank him for not asking me to ever put my clothes back on.
He's truly a man who stands up for all of us. Especially those of us who have a lot to say.