Intimacy and Insecurity: How to Get Physical Without Going Mental

My friends are goddesses. On good days, bad days, fun days, and stress crying days, no matter what they look like to themselves, I can always see all the beauty that just radiates from inside and out. However, this kind of unwavering support seems to die right as I step up to the mirror. Unfortunately, we all can be overly critical of ourselves from time to time. Sometimes, it’s all the time. Whether it’s untamable hair, a new break out, or ingrown hairs from shaving, we’ve all had that small panic attack at that flaw we’re sure everyone is staring at. While it might be something minor that you hardly notice after a while or something major that you’ve learned to try and accept, all the things that we perceive as flaws are what help make up who we are. Despite that fact, when opportunity for someone else to get really up close and personal with us arises, the thought of them seeing what you see can be paralyzing. 

I cannot tell you how much time I have wasted looking in the mirror inspecting my pores and acne. All the creams I’ve tried for ingrown hairs sit in the graveyard of failed products under my sink. My hair has been twisted, tied, pulled up, and brushed down every which way in an attempt to fight the frizz. Somehow, I know these efforts for someone else are a waste of time. Again and again, I find myself terrified that I might scare them off⁠—scare them off by just existing naturally. Everybody talks about acne and stretch marks, but let’s talk about the ingrown hairs, the cellulite, the body acne, the facial hair, the scars, and all the little things that get airbrushed and photoshopped away to create this idol that literally does not exist in nature. Ones we cannot possibly live up to.

Skincare morning routine

Is that really what men expect from us? More importantly, is that really what we expect from ourselves? We are thankfully coming into an age where society is starting to drop that veil of perfection and actually show what real women look like. But as always, cutting ourselves some slack is always the hardest. After far too many agonizing attempts to hide my “flaws” before being intimate with someone, whether a long term boyfriend or the first time with a new flame, I’ve determined that I feel my best, my most beautiful, my sexiest, when I make myself look and feel the way I want. Sometimes, I will cover up a particularly big acne spot if I know it’s all I’ll be able to think about while I’m with them. Because that really is the worst feeling while you’re trying to relax, but you can’t stop distracting yourself with worry over all the little things they might see. However, I have a rule that if it doesn’t bother me on a daily basis and I’m only concerned about it because of what they might think, then I leave it alone. First and foremost, you have to be attracted to you. You are brilliant and beautiful. Most importantly, you are human.

Although getting out of one’s head is much easier said than done, you have to try and respect the fact that this person has seen you before this intimate situation and was attracted to you. Now I know you’re thinking, "but when they saw me I had makeup on or my scars were covered by my shirt or my hair looked great that day." While these may be true, it is also true that the way you dress does not make you any more or less beautiful of a person. The amount of clothing you have on should not determine how you see yourself because you are nothing less than stunning. And of course, as the very old but very true saying goes, if he leaves you because you have acne or scars or hair, then he wasn’t worth being with in the first place. You deserve to be appreciated from the second you wake up to the second you end the day, no matter the makeup, clothes, or hair, and the first person to do that should be you.

Molly Peach-Dancing In Flower Fields