I spent countless hall pass breaks in the bathroom of my jr. high and high school with my armpits under the hand dryers or neatly folding toilet paper into origami type shapes to tuck into my bra in a desperate attempt to keep up appearances that I didn’t sweat.

But the truth was (and still is) I sweat. And sometimes I sweat so much that it leaves pit stains.

I will never forget my friend Elisabeth admitting to sweating through her shirt during fifth period. Not only did this wave of comfort come over me that I wasn’t the only teenage girl who sweat so much it showed, but other girls who were sitting around silently nodded in agreement.

There have been countless other confessions from countless other women in my life since that moment and I wish I could kiss them all on the nose for their honesty. One confession was from Camille that warned me she had waited so long to pee that she was going to have a release fart once we finally made it to a restroom. My sister was the first one to admit to chin hairs, I think we all remember the friend who alerted us to the fact you can poop while pushing out a baby and nipple hair? Yeah. Nipple hair.

Then there’s the confession that catches you off guard. Like Lindy’s confession of an ingrown armpit hair so deep and painful that she had to have her husband dig it out with tweezers. Up until that point I had never heard of such a thing and like hell if I was going to let someone I wanted to make out with dig an infected hair OUT OF MY ARMPIT.

I nodded along with her harrowing tale and filed it away in the “LINDY’S CRAZY” file.

Two weeks later I ended up with an ingrown armpit hair so hurty that it made blinking painful.

Suddenly Lindy wasn’t so crazy anymore. Suddenly Lindy was onto something brilliant, she was so in love with someone that she trusted him to help her when things got embarrassing. So THAT’S what true love is! (However in full disclosure I had my mom dig out my armpit hair for me. Cody and I were still too new.)

I’m not saying you should sidle up to your seat mate on the public bus and tell them about the tonsillolith you dug out that morning, but there is extreme value in telling your story, the little quirky parts that make you who you are. (One of you just clicked on that tonsillolith link and went ZOMG I’VE HAD ONE OF THOSE!! The rest of you are just squicked and disgusted.)

I spent so long being someone different to so many different people that I never actually took the time to figure out who I really was. The truth is I am a flawed human being who makes mistakes, a lot of them. But I get up, dust myself off and make a joke about it. There’s no sense in lying or glossing over the ugly parts of my life because they have made me who I am today. However it makes perfect sense to share what I learned from the ugly parts, recycling my pain, anguish and embarrassment for the greater good of someone else.

That “flawless” girl you admire? She gets ingrown armpit hairs and sinus infections too. Those girls in the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition? You know at least one of them had to do a shoot on her period. Hollywood starlets get stinky gas and pap smears too. Hunky leading men get back zits and ear hair. And even more comforting? Taro Gomi was right when he said everyone poops. (Unless they’re me, then they just eat kiwis.)

Are you being you or are you being who you think you should be depending on who’s paying attention?

β€œToday you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” -Dr. Seuss

Comments

  1. @molly, Join the crowd. No one should be embarrassed here.

  2. @Kim, You are soooo not alone. I think we’ve all just become masters at keeping it hidden!

  3. @Anonymous, I would have brought a box of golf pencil tampons to throw at anyone who said something stupid.

  4. @Katie, Sweaty pits got you down Sluiter? πŸ™‚

  5. @Laura, See, you say that, but WHAT IF I’M THE EXCEPTION? The “Oh, girl, you have to hear THIS story.” girl you talk to all your nurse friends about?

    Laura Reply:

    @Casey, I guess if it REALLY were THAT awful, and the nurses talked about you, the only bonus is that you wouldn’t KNOW they talked about you! πŸ™‚ Seriously, your digestion slows down during labor as well, so when you think you’re in labor, or are going to be induced, try to have a good sit-down BEFORE-hand, & you should be fine. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t take castor oil again. It sometimes causes really bad problems with labor. Be safe, & don’t worry!

  6. @Mrs. Wilson, Ingrown nipple hair.
    True story.

    Mrs. Wilson Reply:

    @Casey, OUCH.

  7. @Adventures In Babywearing, We’ll have slumber parties and play grooming monkeys. πŸ™‚

  8. @Ellen Renee, Nope. I figure it’s safe to say that Cody won’t dig this deep into my comments so I can assure you the gas/morning pee phenomenon is hardly a phenomenon at all. πŸ™‚

  9. @Chrysta, We had a tree outside our first apartment that stunk. One day after only a few months of marriage we were walking out to the car and I said “Man, that tree smells like sweaty crotch.” Cody said “Totally.”
    There was a moment of silence.
    Then Cody said “Wait, how do you know what sweaty crotch smells like?”

    Chrysta Reply:

    @Casey, And how did HE know??? I guess men just assume they’re the only ones who know what a locker room smells like…

  10. @designhermomma, amen sister.

  11. @suzanne @ pretty swell, Take a cue from Shrek. Better out than in. Especially when pregnant.

  12. @Amanda (Shamelessly Sassy), It has to be. When the gross bonding stops? So does the love. I’m off to groom Cody’s back hair. πŸ˜‰

  13. @Jill, Oh man, I use the Certain Dri stuff and thankfully it works! Isn’t it great when you can sit in a group and bond over the silliness of imperfections?

  14. @Christine @ Coffees & Commutes, No one should ever have to deal with depression alone, congratulations on your huge step in talking about it, I can promise you that your readers appreciate your honesty more than you’ll ever know.

  15. @Elizabeth Kaylene, You will be my hemorrhoid whisperer if labor brings me to that. Are you so excited?

  16. @inthefastlane, Covered wagons. We know them well. But we pretend they don’t exist. πŸ™‚

  17. @Neeroc, You could kiss me but I may have a tonsillolith. Or maybe I didn’t chew my cheerios well enough. Heh.

  18. @Beth, If I can get Addie to admit to being the sweaty girl? She’ll always have friends.

  19. @punkinmama, Being someone else blows.
    Unless they’re rich and it’s only for a day and you can spend all their money and the real you gets to keep all the stuff. *ehem*

  20. @Julia, Thank you darling.

  21. And so I’ve taken most of my morning and a good portion of my afternoon avoiding the work piling up on my desk in favor of hunting down the blogs of every I met at S52 yesterday…

    And yours makes me both smile and cry in the way that only well-crafted raw honesty can.

    Thank you, sweetpea