How a Turkish bath house visit exfoliated my self-doubt

How a Turkish bath house visit exfoliated my self-doubt

Warning: This post contains lots of talk about nudity and all kinds of vulnerable stuff. Can you handle it? Hope so…

Let’s GO!

SO.

As I was digging through emails for a draft I wrote about Europeans and how comfy they are in their own skin, I stumbled upon these words below. Sent ’em to my dear pal + collaborator Diana on Jan. 3:

the biggest thing on my bucket list for 2016 is to go to a bath house or just get naked at the local gym locker room. 🙂 there’s so much to this…acceptance, self-love, letting go of insecurities, etc…and i want others to experience this deeper meaning in some way shape or form…through skinny dipping…tanning topless…doing a boudoir shoot…standing naked in front of the mirror and ACCEPTING everything…having sex with the lights on….whatever works for THEM.”

Since moving over here, this whole idea of being unabashedly, mindlessly naked FASCINATES me, and I’ve got the ballsy (pun intended!) Europeans to thank for that.

I’ve seen more bits than I’ve bargained for at beaches, in locker rooms and, well, lurking in the grass of German parks. It’s undoubtedly uncomfortable, but refreshingly admirable.

To me, it symbolizes being REAL, confident and free from self-consciousness. There’s much to be said for this mindset and someone who can be one with their flesh.

How can this not trickle into our work and day-to-day lives?

How can this not influence how we think, feel and talk about sex in our relationships, friendships and parenting?

Thanks to an invite from a friend,

I finally sacked up and checked the ‘ol Turkish bath house box yesterday.

It was a women-only time and bikinis were actually required, so that made for an easy YES. And even though my end goal was to actually get NAKED, my fear was very pleased to keep my teets + hoo-ha covered.

The whole experience of attending a traditional Turkish hammam was going to be foreign enough, right?

After rinsing off, we entered the most powerful steam room I’ve ever been in.

It felt like Vegas and New Orleans collaborated on the thickest, wettest, hottest room possible with some Vicks VapoRub all up in there. Just kidding RE: Vicks. I think it was Eucalyptus and lavender.

After we steamed, we spread Moroccan Beldi soap on our skin like butta. We let it sit. We rinsed again. We steamed again.

THEN…the REAL adventure began: the scrubbing.

Not scrubbing yourself, no.
But another woman doing the scrubbing for you.

When I laid down, she said, “aus sein.”

In English, that’s “be off.” 

OH BOY…

I had to take my top off.

And so I did. (And I survived!)

What happened next?

Well, imagine getting a pedicure and during the exfoliation part, they decide to scrub EVERYTHING but your vajayjay…your fun hatch…your love box…your vagina.

(I’m an adult. I promise.)

She didn’t use an emory board, but man…she used FORCE with that peeling glove and went to places I didn’t even *know* could be exfoliated.

I was hoping there’d be T-shirts in the lobby that said:

“I got my nipples exfoliated at the hammam.” or “My hammam butt is softer than your baby’s butt.”

They didn’t have ’em. Weird. 😉

But in all seriousness, during this scrub-down, all I could think about was,

“This is me. This is ALL of me…the REAL me. There’s nothing I can do right now but BE ME.”

I went from frightened to embarrassed to FREED in about 30 seconds.

My bikini top soon became a soggy symbol of all the things that’ve been getting in the way of pure, genuine joy in my life. Had I kept that thing on, oooof, the experience would’ve been SO watered down.

Reflection: What’s YOUR soggy swimsuit right now? How GOOD would it feel to toss it to the side?

Then, as the dead skin was being peeled from my body, all I could think about was how I was shedding old layers and fictional stories. It was as if all the things that were weighing me down were let GO.

Thoughts like:

  • You’re a fraud.
  • You’re too sensitive.
  • You’re not good enough.
  • You’re crazy.
  • Maybe you should quit it ALL.
  • How dare you think you’re making an impact on people.
  • Who do you think you are? You don’t deserve that.
  • Who do you think you are? You can’t do that.
  • You’re invisible.
  • Just let others do the talking. You don’t make sense.

BUT…

In that moment, I was brand new.

And here’s the even cooler thing: 

In that moment, I chose to be brand new. 

It wasn’t about the skin. It was about what was happening inside.
It was about how I was talking to myself.

My thoughts shifted to:

  • This is me. ALL of me. It’s beautiful.
  • You know what? I am enough.
  • I CAN do hard things.
  • I can break the RULES.
  • I can BE myself.
  • I CAN let the “soggy swimsuit” go.
  • I CAN let people’s opinions roll off my shoulders.
  • Brit, just DO the things.
  • Stop playing small.
  • Keep being YOU.
  • Keep learning.
  • You CAN do this stuff.
  • You WILL do this stuff.
  • You ARE doing the stuff.

It was a NEW way of talking to myself.

Because, let’s face it, if we talked to others the way we self-talk, holy moly…it’d get ugly REAL fast.

Then, came the bubbles.
OH MY GOODNESS…the ultimate foam from above.

It was as if 20 angels scraped ALL the fancy froth from their most heavenly bubble bath and gifted it to ME. And in that moment, I actually felt like I DESERVED it. Whaaat?

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, my girl proceeded to massage all my skin and lather my hair. She asked me to sit up and rinsed my locks like I was a child in a bathtub again. It was a comforting, nostalgic moment.

Then, she filled up a sink with ice cold water and pebbles for me to soak my feet in. I sat there (still sans bikini) while my friend was getting the BUBBLE bath and giggling like no other.

I was BEYOND comfortable in my own skin.
I was BEYOND relaxed.

Yesterday was a GOOD day.

SO.

NOW.

What’s showing up for you as you read all this?

I know some of you are mega comfy with the nudity thing already, and some of you are like HECK NO, that kind of experience is NOT on MY list…

But it’s not about showing SKIN. It’s about finding that THING that strips you of your comforts and brings you back home…back into who you really are. That thing that makes you say:

“This is me. This is ALL of me…the REAL me. There’s nothing I can do right now but BE ME.”

What’s that thing for you?
What will hold you accountable to partaking?

Chew on that and remember this:

We DESERVE the bubbles.
We DESERVE to be ourselves.
The world NEEDS our ripples.
The world NEEDS exfoliated nipples. (Hahaha…just making sure you’re still reading.)

How is this stuff landing for you? I’d love to know. Comment below or drop me a line.

This post is part of the PLAYlist series.

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1 Comment

  • Kara October 29, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Oh Brit, your words are power. I’m sharing this ALL OVER THE PLACE.

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