I caught myself smelling myself the other day when I was talking to my supervisor. To be completely truthful, I willingly lowered my head and sniffed my left arm pit in front of him. He blinked at me and then continued to speak without acknowledging what I was doing.
Most people would probably react with, “Oh, my! I stink today!” My actual reaction was, “Hmm, not bad.”
What you may not know is that, I do not wear deodorant. I’ve stopped wearing it about 8 years ago. It’s been one of the most pleasant changes I’ve made in my life. I got tired of smelling fake and chemically modified. I want to smell like me versus the same streamlined product that is designed to mask our natural body odor and falsely trigger our sexual instincts.
Now before you go “pew pew” on me, I would like to say that there are times when I do stink and outright reek. Catch me after a long run or a night of soccer, I’m the last person you want to be around. Heck, my cat knows my stench that he stays away from me until I shower. But all other times, I just smell like a human being.*
As an adult, I never understood the need to hide one’s natural scent. At least not in today’s time when hygiene isn’t as much of an issue as in ancient times. Though, one can make an exception for teenagers, but then I’m reminded by the cloud of Axe Body Spray in the hallways. That’s a tossup.
Humans are beautiful. And I mean that in all aspects of the word. But we spend so much time hiding who we really are and often create this persona that is far from our true selves. I’m in the same boat as the next person. When I decided to stop wearing deodorant, I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. I began to stop being ashamed of who I am and what I smelled like.
We all have issues of self esteem and doubt. But when I decided to stop wearing deodorant, I felt like it was my first real act of defiance against cultural expectations. I decided to not only smell myself, but smell people for who they are, not the mask they wear. It has come to the point that I prefer the scent of someone after they sweat & work out than someone who is cleaned and dolled up. Because after a workout, we’re the most vulnerable and the most physically human; we’re undoctored.
What I’m trying to say is that as I grow older, I aim to no longer desire what culture and society dictates. I want to be undoctored. I have a long way to go, but not wearing deodorant is the beginning.
* I do own a stick of deodorant just in case I am unable to shower and/or clean up each day.