scent free at the AMC

recently as i have reconnected with people, several have commented about my distinctive scent as something they missed about, something they really notice.

i feel deeply associated with, and ridiculously proud of, smelling like a combination of nag champa, egyptian musk, lavender, and about 18 other secret spices, hair products, and sacred oils/smokes. i don’t even really notice as i layer scents into my clothes, home, skin. and no one’s ever told me my scent was making it hard for them to participate in anything…

so the recent trend in movement spaces to be fragrant free and chemically sensitive has been very very challenging for me. it’s not that i lack belief, it’s that i LOVE smelling the way i smell.

but – i have seen people having reactions to laundry detergent and deoderant, i have heard people speak about how isolating it is, and how hard it is to raise it as an issue in a public space.

and to be honest – i’m not ready to be scent free all the time, and i may never be ready for that. but, in the spaces where i know i will be in close proximity to those who are negatively impacted by chemicals, such as the allied media conference starting on thursday, i am going to do it. and invite everyone else to really honor the call to do it.

and by it i mean:

– washing my clothes & body in unscented natural detergent/soap
– wearing unscented deodorant
– laying off my oils for the days of the gathering
– finding ways to ground and center myself without sage, incense, or essential oils (working a lot with breath)

it’s not easy, but as i step more deeply into my healing work in communities i love, i need to know that i’m not unintentionally making it impossible for other people to be in space with me.

there are, of course, some powerful pieces written about this stuff already which have grown out of years of communities creating accessible spaces, so i wanted to post a couple of them here, for those coming to the AMC, and for those creating spaces for folks to come together. these two are written by women of color who have made the need to honor scent free spaces real and accessible to me (and been loving and patient with me in my learning process (thanks leah and mia!)).

1. fragrance free femme of colour realness, by leah lakshmi piepzna-samarasinha

2. access intimacy: the missing link, by mia mingus