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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Stop worrying and love your dirty side

I don’t know what kind of dirty you have in mind when reading this, so I can only hope to satisfy your senses and imagination. All I can say is this is one of my all-time favorite topics, and something I’m not embarrassed to discuss freely despite running in the face of social norms. This is about why I’m a dirty girl, and why I want you to get dirty with me.

I’m a dirty girl in the most literal way possible; I’m a girl that really loves her dirt. I don’t mean that gossipy bullshit or whatever filth most people have in mind. I’m talkin’ the dusty brown, littering the ground, full of germs and makes you squirm kind of dirt. You know, the good stuff. Actual dirt.

My partner and I get pretty dirty when we go backpacking. Lately we’ve started bringing some dirty lessons back home. Being out in the wilderness has taught us that cleanliness is highly overrated. But don’t take my word for it, do some research and you’ll see that science agrees.

Here’s a potentially embarrassing truth; I’ve been known to go an entire day without a drop of soap touching my body. Yes, that means my hands, my hair, my feet, and everything inbetween. (Ok, except for toothpaste. Good dental hygiene is always important.) I’m not ashamed, and you shouldn’t be either when you learn to love your dirty side.

It all started when I read an amazing New York Times article about not showering for a month. Can you imagine? Most people balk at the idea, but I think it’s incredible. Just imagine all the time you would save.

Let’s be real, you don’t actually need to shower every single day. It’s a waste of water, dries out your skin, and it washes away a bunch of your microbial friends (more on this momentarily). Natural oils are important for your skin and hair because they’re what keep you supple and moist. You do want to be supple and moist, don’t you?

Be honest, you don’t smell terrible after 24 hours or even 48 hours. Showering daily is a social ritual, not a necessity.

Marcus and I have been showering every few days since becoming “one with nature” and we’re seriously loving the extra time in the mornings. This will come in handy when we begin our life on the road, too. Water will be our most precious and scarce resource, so why not practice our conservation efforts now?

Better yet, I’ve discovered that not washing my hair daily lets me maintain my crazy styles without needing a bunch of product. I’m not joking, my hair is at its most spectacular three days after washing & styling.

I also wash my face once a month at most (My mom is horrified every time I remind her of this). When I was younger, I wore foundation everyday thinking my skin was “too red” or “too blotchy.” Then I started backpacking where I couldn’t “put on my face” everyday. This helped me realize what a social convention it really was. The squirrels didn’t judge me. So I got over being self-conscious, and I’ve actually learned to love my natural, naked skin. It did take a while to get used to my natural complexion, but it was worth it. I haven’t worn foundation in years, and it has been a really freeing experience.

I swear I’m not crazy, and there are good reasons for you to cut back on soaps and antibacterials, too. Society tries so hard to keep everything sterile and “safe,” but we forget that life comes from dirt. Dirty little bacteria and microbes are a real part of who we are, and help us in incredible ways. Awesome Fact: Did you know that antibiotics are derived from bacteria that live in the soil? According to the Smithsonian, “Natural microbial substances from soil bacteria and fungi have been at the root of most antibiotic drug development during the past century.” The more dirty we get, the more we expose ourselves to a variety of bacteria and microorganisms. Granted, not all of these are our friends, but many of them are and it’s good to build up your allies. No matter how hard we try, we can’t live in microbe-free bubbles, so exposing yourself to the world helps you build up immunities.

We pretend like we can rid ourselves of these little buggers, but the reality is we’re more microbe than human! According to NPR, “Trillions of microbes live everywhere in and on our bodies” outnumbering our own cells. We couldn’t even digest and extract nutrients from our food if not for microbes. New research suggests they may even have larger impacts on our health than originally thought.

Being vegan, we don’t bring eggs or meat into our home. This substantially lowers our risk of E. coli contamination, meaning a little warm water is all we really need to clean our cutting boards and dishes. Even if you’re not vegan, just rinsing your utensils right away can mean a little water is all you need.

Long story short, I’m happy to admit I’m a dirty girl, and I hope you’ll consider joining me on the dirty train. Research shows we should all learn to embrace our dirty sides because as it turns out, a little dirt may be good for your health.

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