The last month I have been traveling in Morocco and by spending 2 weeks in Marrakesh, I was burned out by the non-stop following eyes, catcalling and approaches by men. Even though I always dressed modestly in loose-fitting clothes, covering shoulders and legs, I received a lot of unwanted and sometimes inappropriate attention. I’ve learned that my curves that have been shamed upon in Europe, are very desirable here.
But then here it comes, while in Islamic culture women are typically covered from head to toe in public, they’re fully naked every week at hammams. That’s something I wanted to experience! Yesterday we headed off with a few girls from the coworking space to the local hammam place of the small coastal village I’m staying.
Once we stripped off our clothes, they led us into the steamy room. Without explanation or introduction, a woman poured buckets of warm water over our heads and started to wash our body with different soaps and oils.
One by one, we laid on a table to be scrubbed and received a clay mask. Except for my young childhood, hospitals or a romantic playful moment with a partner in the shower, I don't think I have been washed by someone else. After the first few awkward giggles, it had something enjoyable and intimate, sharing that time with other women. I felt a strong sense of sisterhood. Something that is healthy and welcome in the individualistic society I come from.
Growing up I’ve always had a lot of insecurities about how I looked, but funny enough it wasn’t much different if I was with clothes or naked. I wouldn’t like myself anyway. Growing immensely in self-love the last few years, I started to appreciate my nudity more and more. Heck, I might even feel the most confident about myself when I’m that vulnerable and pure. Whenever there is a safe environment for it, I swim, sleep or walk around naked, … and it feels great! It makes me feel present, connected, feminine and sensual. It makes me aware of my body because I often feel detached to the skin and flesh that’s surrounding my soul. Which is such a sad idea…
For me being naked doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with eroticism or sex. It’s more of a liberating, sometimes healing experience or it’s connecting, like in the hammam. So when I’m alone or with good friends in nature… I’ll strip, plant my bare feet in the earth, touch the leaves and trees with my hands, allow the water of the river to stream on my skin, breathing in deeply the air without awkwardness or shame. Just enjoying myself in the purest form, wearing only my birth suit.