Comfortable Skin

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Have you ever been drawn to someone because they just seem comfortable in their own skin? They seem to resonate calm, contented, happiness. People like this: don’t you just want to be near them, to hug and touch them, to be in their light?

I’m not talking about people who LOOK good in their skin. I know plenty of people who look really nice in their skin but who seem to be itching to get out, desperate for different skin.

This phrase “comfortable in your own skin” has been noodling around in my mind for quite a long time.  Why is it that some days I am so completely comfortable in my own skin and other days it feels like it may be trying to choke me to death?

Well, I have a scientific theory as to why it’s so hard for some of us to be comfortable in our own skin.

This theory goes beyond the obvious reasons for discomfort: not drinking enough water; denying your skin plenty of moisturizer; wearing uncomfortable clothing; or forgetting to breathe so that all the yummy oxygen gets into your cells and makes you feel good.

My theory has more to do with what someone said to me a few years ago when I was ranting about my inconsistent personality. I was longing for level, calm consistency.

“Celebrate your inconsistencies H. Use them to your advantage.”

It’s interesting when you mull something over how you will be presented with similar ideas from different sources. I was re-reading my favorite book “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland and came across this phrase:

“And do not try to be consistent, for what is true to you today my not be true at all tomorrow, because you see a better truth.”

What does any of this have to do with skin? Or being comfortable in it?

Well. I have done some research.

About skin.

We all know that the skin is the largest organ in the human body. It’s role: to protect the rest of your parts from pathogens, to keep your body temperature where it needs to be and to be a receptor for pain and pressure which are warning signs that something is wrong.

Well I know this NOW…you probably knew this before…I wish I would have taken more science classes in college, I’d be so much smarter. At least I have the internet. IT knows everything. Come to find out the average person sheds 50,000 cells of skin every single minute which computes to 72 MILLION cells a day.

Now, because I am me, I am going to turn this information into gross thinking:

According to the internet, dead skin cells account for a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. Right now, you could be inhaling the dead skin of a stranger living in Peru or Timbucktoo! That dirty rain everyone is talking about? Yeah. Dead skin cell rain is more like it. The average person sheds 1.5 pounds of skin cells every year. I have lived with a total of eight people in my house for almost 10 years. (My children “all got here” when Mitchel was born ten years ago.) This means that during this time I have (mostly) cleaned up 120 pounds of dead skin. That doesn’t even count the dogs’ and cat’s dead skin. I understand now why it’s always so f’ing dusty in my house! In ten years I have dusted and vacuumed up the equivalent of whole person. That’s just so creepy. Plus fifteen pounds of that was from ME. I have cleaned fifteen pounds of DEAD ME up. Uck. I think I feel sick.

ALSO,  WHY THE HELL AM I NOT FIFTEEN POUNDS LIGHTER?

Here’s why: skin regenerates. Every twenty seven days you get new outer skin. In an average lifetime, a person will get 1000 new skins!  NO WONDER so many of us have such a hard time being comfortable in our skin. Just when we start thinking: “Okay, I’m soooo good with this skin. It’s nice. It feels good on me” it sheds and changes.

And as we get older and our epidermis begins to thin a bit, I think we must FEEL the shedding more profoundly, experience the constant change more deeply, in the dermis and the subcutaneous layers where our blood flows in our veins and our nerves are grounded more solidly than in the outer layer.

The people who seem comfortable in their own skin? They are the ones who shed their skin with grace and acceptance. They don’t fight the inevitable: that we are NOT consistent. We can’t be (on account of all that dust making) and the more we fight it the more uncomfortable we will be.

Celebrating inconsistencies, being in awe of the mysteries of constant change, taking delight in the absolute truth that we become different people every minute: 50,000 cells at a time, knowing that there is opportunity for renewal each and every minute of our ever changing lives, this is what people with comfortable skin see, accept and relish in.

That’s my scientific theory. Though it’s more like an epiphany based on very scientific internet facts.

Celebrate your always new skin that contains your spectacular beauty my friends!

P.S. I need to show off a little bit of my new found knowledge about the skin. Did you KNOW that the only four places on your skin that don’t sweat are your nail beds, the margins of your lips, your eardrums and if you are a male, the tip of your boy part. WHO KNEW?!?! Ha!!