It’s not a fancy trip to the spa, but providing some tender love and care to my skin with an array of lotions from the comfort of my home has made a difference in the way I feel about myself these days.
Long before the pandemic, my body was put through a lot of change. From 2014 to now, I’ve lost a lot of weight, gained some of it back, struggled with fibroids, gone through an exhaustive journey to conceive, miscarried, found out I had endometriosis, had a myomectomy, gone through my first full-term pregnancy, dealt with cystic acne, had a C-section, learned I have seborrheic dermatitis and tried to adapt to everything from a new pudge and scar combination, to a complete change in my pH leading to allergic reactions on my skin. My body became a vessel for one thing or another and was altered so much that it no longer felt like mine. Add to that the reality that I’ve been remote since March 2020, and inevitably, I began to neglect it. Showers were still an absolute must (I told you about that pH change of mine, sis) as well as a few face products to hold back my hormonal acne, but everything else fell by the wayside. My nails grew long, as did body hair. I left the house to go for walks with my son in the sun and completely ignored sunscreen. I wore more hats and left my hair in plaits. I adorned myself in sweatpants and baggy shirts (I also told you about that new pudge of mine, sis) and I completely stopped moisturizing. What was the point?
I was reminded of said point during a Clubhouse conversation I was invited to last week from Dove. They recently released a Body Love collection designed to encourage self-care and sent the line to try. They marked the release with a panel called ‘Giving our Bodies the Love they Deserve.’ It featured women like cultural expert Jess Weiner, photographer and energy healer Nikki Gomez, dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara and makeup artist Jalessa Jaikaran. The conversation was all about ending body judgment and the lengths we should go to spread more body love, both in the world and for ourselves.
The transparency of the women on the panel and those listening allowed a number of major issues to be addressed: the ways in which social media leads us to “compare and despair”; the importance of being conscious about the way we talk about our bodies and speak to ourselves in order to shift our mindset, and how the things our bodies experience, from autoimmune disease to skin issues and abuse, change the way we feel about it. I’d expected to listen to a very fluffy hour-long chat about self-love and the need to use these new products to feel your best, but left the room with something much more profound — a better respect for my body, and all bodies.
Yes, mine has gone through the wringer, as mentioned, but it’s done some pretty amazing things and maintained through some complex experiences. So, it deserves some love. With that said, every night since the Clubhouse conversation, I’ve gotten back to pampering it. When I get out of the shower now, I use the Body Love products, as well as masks and more, to coat my body. The Body Love range of lotions and cream oils have a great consistency that moisturizes without being too heavy, which is great during these last warm days of summer. And the scents are quite pleasing, but still manage to be soft — not overpowering or too fruity.
In addition to that, I forced myself to take things further, making the time to go get a stress-relieving mani-pedi and eyebrow wax. I set up a consultation with a new hairstylist to help deal with my scalp issues and to try a new style. I’ve returned to shaving and been more proactive in finding the right products for my pH changes (currently testing three new deodorants, with and without aluminum, scent and baking soda). I still love sweats, but get dressed up, including fun eye makeup, to go out with my husband. It’s all a way to show deserved appreciation to my body and to my overall self.
As we talk about body shaming, it’s important that we also acknowledge the ways we can sometimes mistreat our own physical form. When we can see such missteps, we can then do better, and I, for one, plan to do much better by my body moving forward.