Friday, May 19, 2017

Autism Answer: A Life Lesson About Being A Little Bit Stinky

Multitasking: Dancing, making coffee, sniffing armpit.

It doesn't feel good to be overly stinky. I don't really like it.

When stinky body odor first started to happen to me I happily reached for the grown-up feeling deodorant. Yes, at first I often forgot and would catch myself sweating with embarrassment around my peers. But soon, with motivation easily found - I was a teenager wanting to be discovered in certain ways by all the boys - it became a simple habit. Deodorant donned every morning without thought.

Many years later I began to pay closer attention to the buzzing and whispers I heard about the unhealthy ingredients in most deodorants. I wasn't anywhere near willing to quit it, but I heard myself explaining it to my sons and when buying them deodorants I would suggest minimal use.

Yes, I tried chemical free deodorants a bit. No, they didn't work for me. Although, I still sometimes used them.

A few years later I learned more about motivations, money, and health. Applying those learning's to deodorant I couldn't help but feel complicit and cruel. Where is the motivation for companies to create effective healthy deodorants that will help keep our entire society healthier (including my sons!) if consumers are easily buying the toxic stuff already available? The toxic buildup from deodorant is actually, really, truly affecting me and my family. It's not just a thing to say and know; it's a thing that's happening.

So, I went searching in earnest for sustainable, healthy, fair-trade type deodorants. I started sometimes making my own.

This is what I learned:
Sometimes I stink a little. And that's okay. Most of the time I either smell fine thanks to a natural substance that I'm using and my healthy diet, or because that day I just happen to smell fine. Sometimes I even use good-ol-fashioned-not-good-for-me deodorant. There are events I go to (school concerts) where I decide to be certain of not stinking at all.

But sometimes, I stink a little. And that's okay. Seriously, what's so horrible about stinking a little? It's just my smell, my naturally occurring smell. Now, I don't think it's awesome to be absolutely stinky. That's often (though certainly not always) a sign of something unhealthy going on - stress, lack of self-care, poor butt-wiping skills, etc - but stinking a little bit some of the time is what I am. A living animal with scents and sounds and chin hair.

Here's my life lesson: 
Too often we cover up the truth of things with fancy smells regardless of the harm we're doing. If something doesn't stink, it's not so much offending us. But, that's proven itself to be a dangerous attitude! Sometimes the beautiful true nature of a thing will surprise, challenge, and even slightly offend us. Not because it's offensive but because we've been taught to be offended. And other times we avoid helping ourselves and others by dousing them in nice poisonous artificial smells. This is, again, our way of not being offended by something. But this time, maybe we should be offended. And we should do the work of making changes.

So, to sum up, covering ourselves and our issues in fancy smells regardless of who we may be hurting in the process is an all too socially accepted habit. One we might want to discontinue.

Also, when you and I meet for coffee, you might notice that I'm a little bit stinky. Lucky you! What a wonderful excuse to deeply inhale the delightful smell of your gorgeous scented beverage!! tee hee!

Happy Friday, friends!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)