Ever since I was a child, I could never really understand the blissfulness of drenching one’s body in hot, steamy water. My mom said it relaxed her even though she always came out of the bathroom all red and more tired than before. My dad would take a shower every morning because he claimed his hair would get greasy over night. But why not simply wash the hair then without getting into the bathtub or shower? I could not fathom it even though my zodiac sign was set to be associated with the element of water.
Then came the adulthood, college and dorm life. My morning or pre-night routine would never last for more than 10 minutes, while other girls could take a shower every single time no matter if it was 7am or 10pm. All I needed to do was brush my teeth and maybe freshen up a little. I would not even take a shower to wash my hair if we had a removable showerhead or a decent-size sink. It had to be a very special occasion for me to chose to get all soaked wet.
And so I got frustrated at times. Because I felt cheated, and others made me constantly postpone my sleep for half an hour or be late for my usual bus to go to school. This was not just one girl, and it was not just about one particular environment.
Situations repeated themselves with different people, in different cities, under most diverse circumstances. And we are not talking about my dorm life anymore, but adulthood already. This looked like a strangle club of shower-loving people that I was not a part of, yet everyone else seemed to have a lifetime membership.
And so I became even more puzzled. Am I missing out on something? Why do I hate showers and cannot seem to get the same pleasure as others? Is there something wrong with me for not wanting to bath every day and every night?
And then one day it hit me. I was in Queens, New York. I had agreed to volunteer during the NYC marathon and decided to come to the Big Apple from D.C. the evening before the race to get some rest and prepare for the important event. I had been traveling all day and sweating through some parts of it. I was also feeling a bit cold from the sudden change of weather. So I decided to do something I would never do before — take a hot shower before going to bed.
At that moment, my only goal was to cleanse myself before the night, thus combining some of my usual procedures in one. I did not hold any deeper intentions when it came to showering. I was still at a stranger’s house (Airbnb), thus I wanted to get over with everything as quickly as possible. I stepped into the bathtub that was too tiny to sit in and only served as a collector of water coming out of the showerhead and feet warmer. I turned the knob in the direction of H and waited a minute before actually stepping under the water. AND THEN I FELT IT.
I felt the uncontrollable sensation running through my body. The feeling of complete relaxation as if I was kneeling on the ground and letting the world run its course all by itself. My muscles became weak, yet still able to do their job. For a few minutes, I just stood there having the steamy water run down my body. I felt paralyzed. Paralyzed from the amount of relief I was receiving. It seemed like all my previous tiredness just went away and rejuvenation came instead. And I was more ready to go to sleep than ever before.
It was at that particular time that I understood why so many people would never skip a shower in the evening or just after getting out of bed in the morning. Showering heals. It helps you prepare yourself for what’s to come. It lets you gather your thoughts or vice versa — sets your mind free.
I would lie if I said that I have become a shower lover. Not at all. I have actually only taken a few evening showers ever since. Running is my showering if you compare the effects of both of these activities. I simply can get a similar satisfaction from active rather than passive rest. But I do see where other people come from now and why it is necessary for them. I do not judge and do not ask questions anymore. Because it is all about that feeling. As if all the weight in the world has been lifted off of your shoulders. And you would never want to skip that.