Confident Vulnerability.

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If you would have asked me about my upcoming trip to Morocco in July or August, I would have told you about the camel safari in the Sahara desert that I was so excited for.  I would have told you that I was pumped to try the new and different foods. Or I would have told you about the huge market in Marrakech in which I could not wait to experience and shop in. However, I am one hundred percent sure that I would not have been able to tell you about one of my favorite places of the trip; the hammam. The hammam is a traditional Arab bathhouse in which Muslim women go at least once a week for deep cleansing. Islamic culture was and is huge on personal hygiene and cleanliness. When the Moors took over Spain they actually introduced hygiene, because before two baths a year was the Spaniards definition of cleanliness. The hammam is a tradition and ritual for both men and women. However women use it as a social outlet to communicate and catch up on each other’s lives, some will spend up to three or four hours in the hammam.

There was such a degree of beauty within the hammam. It was a community of women gathering together, relaxing, chatting and taking a break from the outside world. From a western women’s perspective it was so different from anything I was used to. As westerners we are shown through the media that to be skinny and thin is to be beautiful. However the women we see in the magazines are airbrushed and do not truly look like that. In the bath-house, it is what it is. Slender, curvy, plump or skinny each woman in there was declaring that her body in fact was hers. It was a place where all women are on the same playing field. It was place of control and letting go at the same time. Control in a way that you are taking care of your body and you are choosing to be there. Letting go of the insecurities that your clothes usually do a decent job of covering up. It was a reminder that we all are human. We all have the same anatomical make-up give or take a few differences.  The hammam put me into a state of vulnerability that installed into me a sense of trust and confidence with the women who were sharing the experience with me.

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