Being naked is good for you.


I entered the hamam with a racing heart and self-conscious posture. As we all undressed I was filled with major skepticism and quickly averted my eyes. Scrubber and bucket in hand, I could no longer cover myself. I was naked. I entered the blue tiled room to find women bathing at every corner. I walked to the spout that would begin this questionable process. Be the baby. Be the baby. Be the baby. These words uttered from my lips were paired with nervous giggles. The middle aged Moroccan woman began scrubbing my body with full force. The room echoed and laughter filled every corner of the space. My own laughter bounced around the steam filled room and seemed to hit me in the face. Why am I embarrassed? I began to relax as I realized how normal this was for the woman scrubbing me down. She carried an elegance about her; confidence that seemed unable to be broken. Negative thoughts fell away like the dead skin on my body. My posture changed as I began to relax. This is no longer “weird”.


 My mind wandered to when I was a little girl. I used to run around the house with nothing but a cape on, screaming, “I’m NAKED girl!” It was my super power. I proclaimed that title with boldness and authority. I was unashamed and unapologetic. At what point did I begin to believe my hips were a too wide? My shoulders were too prominent? My torso was too short? My nose was too big? When did that free spirited little girl begin to believe she wasn’t beautiful?

“There’s a mirror over here if you want to look at yourself” our friend Fatema casually told us. She had been coming to this hamam ever since she was little. She graciously led the way. I looked in the mirror and loved every part of my body for the first time in a long time. I raised my arms in celebration and giggled yet again. But this time I giggled out of relief. I felt undeniably free.


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