This blog post is very personal in nature. It's something that has been in the works for several days now. The contents of this blog post will, for some people, be gross or unpleasant to read.
Topics such as sweating, body hair (primarily underarm hair), as well as gender dysphoria and social anxiety will be discussed heavily. If any of those topics make you uncomfortable, grossed out, or you otherwise don't want to read a blog post where those are the primary things being discussed, then I encourage you to stop reading here and go do something else.
You have been warned – if what I say here grosses you out, that’s on you.
Additionally, I ask that any replies/comments NOT be shitpost-y in nature. This is a fairly personal blog post that covers issues that have caused me an excessive amount of anxiety, awkwardness, and other negative feelings. I’m only just now comfortable enough to write them down, and even still I'm not exactly confident in posting this – so I ask that you give a basic level of respect to that and not just reply with memes or shitposts (or if you do, at least have something else with it).
So, uh, yeah. This is gonna be a fairly personal blog post. This isn’t a rant, or me bitching about something or anything like that. No – this is something else. There are a number of things that I’ve been uncomfortable as all hell even acknowledging or accepting about myself. Things that I feel are all linked to a more general issue I’ve had – and without sounding like a hippie, things that I’m starting to accept, embrace, and love about myself.
I guess we’ll start with where my realizations of things started – when I decided to get an Oculus Rift. VR seemed like a pretty cool thing – and I figured it’d give me a good excuse to both play games and at least try to be more active. Something that I realized pretty early on is that my experience was very hindered by the fact that, at the time, I had next to no room to actually move around in. I had basically enough room to stand up and take a very small step in any direction – but that’s it. As a result, I couldn’t exactly get immersed in most experiences. That being said, I had quite a fun time with a few games – Skyrim VR (sort of), Beat Saber, and Minecraft (via Vivecraft). Skyrim VR was fun, but I was limited both by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to carry over my progression, as well as the fact that my main Windows 7 wouldn’t actually be able to run it due to some obscure issue that I’ve yet to resolve. It also was rendered harder to get fully immersed into due to the space limitations. Minecraft and Beat Saber on the other hand were much more enjoyable as they didn’t demand nearly as much extended movement (though Beat Saber had a few moments where more space would’ve been nice).
The first moment that really kicked things off though was something that happened in Minecraft. I was trying out Vivecraft and enjoying it quite well – and one thing Vivecraft offers that the official Minecraft VR offering (which is on Bedrock/Windows 10 edition only where Vivecraft is on Java Edition) is a wide array of room-scale interaction options. Things like using a boat, swimming, and breaking blocks is something that can be done either with a button – or by physically hitting the blocks. Another thing you can do is actually break blocks faster by using both hands. After breaking a couple blocks of stone this way and getting a bit out of breath as a result (imagine someone wildly slamming their fists into a point in the air as fast as possible), Wind decided to put down a piece of obsidian. At first I opted to be like “no way in hell you’re crazy”, but then I decided, nah – why not? Let’s do it and see what happens. After spending a good 10-15 minutes (or however long) going to town on this piece of Obsidian, I’d worked up a bit of a sweat – hardly realizing until I’d finished. My back was noticeably wet, armpits slightly damp, and my forehead had put a bit of sweat into the foam pad that goes on your face on the headset (as well as leaving a bit on the strap that goes above your head). I’d actually caused the lenses to fog up a bit – just from sweating. I felt out of breath, yet I also felt good in a way.
Shortly after that experience, I sought out a copy of Beat Saber and gave it a whirl – looking to get an even better workout. Sure breaking obsidian is a bit of one, but it’s a very repetitive and uninteresting exercise consisting of a single movement on repeat. First trying a couple of the built-in songs, later installing a bunch of custom ones via a custom utility. Beat Saber proved to, on harder difficulties, get me sweating a bit more than those obsidian blocks did – particularly during long play sessions. One in particular had actually managed to leave sweat marks on my shirt – something that up until this point had never happened before. Eventually, though, I got bored of it – and stopped.
The experience however led to me starting to embark on walks in the great outdoors, originally only walking on train tracks – looking to spend as little time as possible in front of other people. My goal was to get to the tracks and stay there for a bit, only going off of them to go to/from my house. These also were (sort of) a brief period of time that led to another hiatus for a while. Eventually, as it started to get hotter, I decided to embark on one – on a day where the heat index/real feel was 102 degrees. I came home with sweat running down my back and face – and I felt incredible. After a couple of those, I finally decided that I was tired of hiding and forced to go at such a slow pace on the train tracks. I was going to walk out in public – along the street, where a potentially large amount of cars passing by could see me.
Now, you might be wondering – why such a big focus on sweat? Isn’t the point of exercise to get fit and healthy, not to sweat? Yes. Yes it is. And for most people the sweating is just an annoying side effect; a necessary evil. It was those initial exercises within VR that got me sweating that made me realize I didn’t hate sweating. I was sweaty, but hardly bothered by it. This is what led me to start doing some of those outdoor walks on the tracks. And again – even in the blazing heat, I was unbothered. The part that always terrified me was the idea of other people seeing me sweat. As silly as it sounds – the idea of people seeing me walking along the road with a sweaty shirt and face mortified me. After sharing some thoughts on Discord, I – with the encouragement of several others – decided to try and face this internal anxiety head-on. I was tired of walking at such a slow pace, having to watch every single step, and feeling to scared to explore more interesting scenery. So, I set out to start walking around town a bit. Every day, I would do some amount of walking. Not in the secluded train tracks, but out in the open.
After doing this for a couple weeks, I finally loosened up. And it was around this point I realized something – I really, really enjoyed those walks. They felt incredible. I wasn’t exhausted or tired – the walks actually had the opposite effect – I had more energy than I’d had in a long time. Along with that, I realized something else – about the sweat.
You see, I’ve had a fairly interesting relationship with sweat. For most of my early/middle childhood I was neutral (or rather just didn’t know any better) towards it. I hardly even noticed it was a thing that existed. As I grew older, I’d more or less linked it to P.E. class – a class that I’d always hated. I hated it in Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. I did as little movement as possible – both out of laziness and, by High School, to avoid sweating. High School was particularly rough as P.E. was the first class of the day – so if I ever did happen to get sweaty, I’d be sweating through the next class, which obviously wasn’t ideal. Any time I felt my forehead get slightly damp, I’d wipe it. Most of my body didn’t really sweat at all – except for one time during the dreaded mile run (or for me, the mile walk and jog) where I was basically dry – except for my back. I’d soaked the back of my shirt a bit and didn’t even realize until changing back into my regular clothes afterward. Other than that, I avoided sweating at all costs. Which seems absolutely insane because, well, literally every other person there was sweating and were all going to another class afterwards. Though granted, part of it was laziness as I was still quite out of shape at this point (even more so than I am now).
So for a while, I didn’t like to sweat. Which is made easier by the fact that I rarely, if ever did anything that made me sweat. If I ever did sweat, it was a very small amount and was only for a brief amount of time. I never went outside – I lived in my house and did nothing outside really. It was that experience in VR that made me realize, “hey this isn’t so bad”. That’s where I was with it for a while. If I was alone, in private, then sweating wouldn’t bother me at all. It was around other people where I became a ball of anxiety. Heaven forbid I walk down to the dollar store or somewhere else, or otherwise be out in public and people see me sweat.
However, after keeping up the daily walks, and once I finally got over the feeling of a million imaginary eyes staring me down as I sweated like crazy on a walk (as if people have nothing better to do than watch a slightly overweight man sweat), I realized something – I liked it. No – I loved it. Feeling the sweat running down my back, dripping down my face, and progressively soaking my clothes – it felt amazing. I wasn’t just okay with it, I genuinely loved every moment of it. The feeling of my clothes sticking to my body didn’t annoy me at all – it felt wonderful. My favorite walks are when it’s really hot outside – when I sweat the most. I don’t know why I love it so much, when so many other people are grossed out, embarrassed, or otherwise see it in such a negative light. All I know is that I’m in love with it. As I continued doing those walks, I’d also noticed that I was sweating more and more. The earlier walks left my back, face, and armpits wet – but that was basically it. Currently, my walks leave my back slick with sweat, armpits soaked, face dripping, and a small (but still noticeable) amount of sweat on the entire rest of my body. Whereas before I’d only have some wet spots on my shirt, now the entire top half of my back is soaked, the armpits and the area just below soaked, and sometimes I’ll even manage to sweat through my underwear into my pants. Hey – I warned you that it might get a bit gross or uncomfortable to read. But realizing this got me excited. The idea of going outside, walking or perhaps running, and coming back home completely soaked from head to toe makes me excited. Along with sweating more on the walks, I’ve noticed that other activities that normally wouldn’t evoke sweat now do get me sweating. Not a lot, but just enough to where I notice. I realize that I’m probably gonna end up being one of those people who sweats at the drop of a hat – and I’m thrilled. As I said before – I don’t know why, but regardless of what I’m doing, if I’m sweating, I’ll be happier as a result. I don’t hate sweating, I’m not just okay with sweating, I don’t even just like sweating – I love sweating. Something about it just pushes all the right buttons in my head. There’s no upper limit either. There’s no point where if I sweat too much then I’d be annoyed. The sweatier I am, the better. The thought of sweating so much that all my clothes are completely soaked to the point where sweat is dripping off of them, that my hair is thoroughly soaked, to where sweat is flowing down my back and chest, and dripping from my face – the thought of getting that sweaty sounds downright incredible.
The only people I’m not comfortable being sweaty around are my family. Which I know – it sounds ridiculous as if anyone would be okay with it, it’d be them. But alas, I avoid sweating around dad like the plague. I time my walks to only take place after he’s come over (or until I’ve confirmed he isn’t coming over at all). Sweating in front of strangers has little to no significance in my mind now.
However, it’s not just sweat that I’ve had a complicated relationship with. The other major thing that I’ve had a (relatively) tough time with is body hair. More specifically, armpit hair. Yes, I know – of all the body hair to be embarrassed about, armpit hair just seems like the dumbest one considering most people (guys especially) never give it a second thought. And I’d have to agree. And it followed a similar route as sweating did, though with not the same exact time frame.
Now, as a guy, this might sound stupid – but from the time I realized I was growing hair under my arms, I’d located a razor that had sat unused in a box in the closet and shaved it. I did this for years. Lord forbid that my family or friends (not that I exactly had any outside of Xbox LIVE or CU) saw that I had hair in my armpits. I kept this up for quite a while. Beyond that, I don’t know why I entirely did it. Perhaps it was sort of like, an “I’m not ready to be a man yet” type of thing? I think this may have been at least part of it – as just a few days before my 18th birthday I decided to put the razor down. I decided that for my Senior year of High School, I’d do it as a man, hairy armpits and all. I’ve never shaved since, and I don’t think I ever will again. I’d never let the hair even fully grow in originally, as soon as I noticed it was starting to be a thing I shaved it to get rid of it. But now, after I’ve had it left alone for a while, I find that I greatly prefer my armpits hairy rather than clean shaven. Even so, I was (and still mostly am) afraid to raise my arms around other people, and of course especially family for fear of the hair poking out and revealing its existence.
Now granted, I don’t have super long or thick armpit hair. Most of my shirts cover it just fine. I do have a couple that have shorter sleeves, and on those the armpit hair will poke out to some degree or another pretty much no matter what. Most of my shirts will let it poke out slightly if I raise my arms however. I’ve also never had odor issues either, some people claim that having hairy armpits makes you smell worse or smell worse faster, but I’ve never noticed any issue with this. I was clean shaven for probably 4-5 years, give or take and had no less body odor issues than I do now with fully natural and untrimmed armpit hair. Though I’ve never had odor issues to begin with – I can apply deodorant and be fine for a couple days, even after sweating a lot. Supposedly some people have issues applying deodorant/antiperspirant as more of it gets on the skin, but I’ve never had issues here really either. It’s not overly thick so with some minor attention I can ensure plenty gets on the skin. To ensure I don’t yellow or otherwise discolor/screw up my shirts I’ll use a towel or something to get any excess off of the hair. Takes all of a minute or two in total, from applying to removing excess, and I’ve never had any odor or shirt issues, or any of those suspended deodorant clumps or anything like that. The only issue I’ve had with deodorant and armpit hair is if I’ve applied some recently, then go for one of my walks or do anything else that gets me sweating a lot, instead of the hair just getting wet and behaving as any other wet hair would, it sticks together and feels sort of...gooey? Sticky? I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s not the same as if I’ve waited an adequate amount of time, where the hair would just get wet and just, well, that’s it. It’d just be wet armpit hair and nothing else. I might switch to another kind of deodorant to try and stop this as it is slightly annoying, either a spray or a roll-on. Though as a side note, I will probably regardless switch away from antiperspirant entirely – both because I don’t mind having my armpit hair soaked in sweat, and also because I’ve heard that the aluminum in antiperspirant does some bad things (including cancer potentially). I don’t entirely buy the cancer thing, but even so I figure I might as well seeing as I’m more than okay with getting all sweaty. Some people even think that having body hair at all is somehow unhygienic, which I just find strange. I keep my armpit hair clean, and as you’d know from checking out this status, I even go as far as to shampoo it.
To digress, however, that’s an area that I’m still fairly uncomfortable with in terms of other people seeing it. Oddly though, it’s only armpit hair that I feel this way with. Any other body hair – leg hair, chest hair, or anything else has never caused me any amount of uneasiness. But armpit hair? No we gotta keep that a deeply locked up secret and never reveal it to anyone. If I’m by myself though, or if it’s otherwise out of sight, then it’s the opposite. I like having hairy armpits and there’s not a chance in hell I’d ever trim or shave them again. I suppose to get over that part of my fears I’ll start wearing tank tops for my walks sometimes.
Alright Mr. Halo, you’ve talked a lot about your love of sweat and your hairy armpits – but what’s the point in all this? Why are you telling us this? Are you just trying to gross us out?
Well, there’s two parts to this. One is that talking about it in a public fashion like this is sort of therapeutic. Before I had the courage to go outside and sweat in front of others, I would talk about it on Discord. I know, it seems gross – but in my defense I recently gave everyone a fair shot to get me to shut up about it, but nobody really cared. Thing is, talking about it helped me get comfortable enough with it to be able to go outside and fully embrace it – and eventually realize I absolutely adored getting soaked in sweat. Likewise, talking about both the sweat and my armpit hair on this blog post is in itself helping me become more comfortable with both. Now obviously I’m not gonna go outside, walk or run around and make a big deal about being sweaty or having hairy armpits. I’m just trying to get a point where, if people happen to see it, I’m not all anxious and whatnot.
The other part of it is something that I realized that both of these issues have in common. Something that goes far deeper than just sweating or hairy armpits or anything like that. No, this goes far deeper than I originally knew, and those are simply surface-level manifestations of that deeper problem.
I’ve struggled with social anxiety for a long time. I have an exceedingly difficult time getting to know new people. Once I’m comfortable with someone, it’s no issue at all. In a sense, these two issues are connected to it. Rather, they share something in common with it. They all stem from me being uncomfortable and embarrassed to just be me.
Some of you who were around here between 2014 to 2015 might remember when I went under the name halogirl30. As you hopefully know by now, I’m a dude. If this is your first revelation of the fact, well, there you go. No, I’m not a girl who sweats a ton and has hairy armpits – I’m a dude. In fact, I’m a 20 year old man at the time of writing this. Likewise if you weren’t around for that, let me give you a quick rundown.
For reasons that I don’t entirely know, I decided that I wanted to pretend to be the opposite sex. I kept this up for a good while. I had this entire alter ego and everything. I’m not gonna go into great detail as I did some of what I consider to be pretty shitty things under that alter ego. I actually purchased an entire second MC account for that whole thing, as I wasn’t about to change my main account name and end up losing it as a result. Eventually, I got tired of it and swapped back to haloman30, and I’ve presented as myself ever since.
However, that wasn’t quite the end of that side of me. It still stayed buried within me, and recently I began to, albeit briefly, consider if I potentially might have had gender dysphoria. This is something that I had previously only shared with a select few people, and originally I was going to keep it that way - until I realized what those thoughts and feelings really were. It was all part of an alter ego. I wanted to hide myself and some of the things I liked behind a mask, out of fear that some people might judge, ridicule, or otherwise look down upon me for liking or doing. Yes, I know - it's generally more acceptable for a guy to have armpit hair or be super sweaty than it is for a girl. But it wasn't so much about being a girl, it just so happened that being the opposite gender was as far from myself as I could go - I was already a dude, so it made more sense to create an alter ego that was as far removed from myself as possible. I don't have gender dysphoria. I don't want to be a girl. I'm a man - and I'm happy to be one. And I don't need to try to change that in order to be allowed to like certain things.
But to me, that’s what it all comes down to. The social anxiety, the sweating, everything – I was, and in some cases still am, embarrassed to just be myself. What made me realize that the “dysphoric” thoughts were another piece of that puzzle was how quickly they outright disappeared as I started to do those walks. Becoming comfortable with sweating around others, talking about it on Discord, and so on – and realizing that I wasn’t being ridiculed or judged or anything of that sort, even some people throwing encouragement my way to keep doing my thing and that it was good – helped silence the idea in my head that I needed an alter ego to hide behind. I’m allowed to like sweating, I’m allowed to have armpit hair, I’m allowed to do, like, or say all these things – and nobody will ever give a single damn. The sky won’t magically fall if I say these things, or like that thing, or sometimes do this. I’m allowed to be myself, and it’s stupid to be embarrassed about liking something, or having certain features on your body, or anything else. Why should I, or anyone for that matter be embarrassed to sweat? I can’t decide to not sweat. If I’m outside in the summer sun, in an important job interview, in a stuffy building, or if I just happen to sweat easily, I'm gonna sweat and there's nothing I can do about it - so what difference does it make? And what if I actually really like to get drenched in sweat? I'm allowed to like or dislike whatever I want. Just because most people don't like sweating, that doesn't mean I have to also dislike it too. Or what if I have hair in my armpits? It’s natural, and it's just hair. It isn't inherently unclean, or unhygenic, or whatever - it's literally just hair - nothing more.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not full on Mr. Confident - I can go for walks and whatnot along the street, but I can't drop by the dollar store for a quick item or two if I've been walking. Which kind of makes it problematic that I have to walk to get there in the first place. Maybe I shouldn't go anywhere if I'm all sweaty, but it's not like I smell bad. I wear deodorant and I make sure to apply it in such a way that it actually works, and I shower regularly. I know for a fact I don't smell but I'm too anxious of people in the store seeing a guy in sweaty clothes, and for that guy to be me. It's something I'm not over yet, and it's something that can only be helped with time and continuing to force myself into some of those situations.
I know it probably seems like I’m making a big deal about all this. Writing paragraphs and paragraphs about sweat and armpit hair – things that most people either hardly think about or just deal with quietly, and nothing more than that. If they sweat then they just deal with it or try to hide it. They either like having armpit hair or don’t, and shave or trim if they don’t. Why am I making it out like these are such huge things for me? It’s because in my mind, they have a lot more presence. These are things that have caused me far more embarrassment than they have any right to. As I mentioned before, that’s half of why this blog post even exists. Talking about it, going into detail, while maybe gross or unpleasant for others to read (hence the disclaimer at the start), help me get better with dealing with it. It helps me get over my silly fears. Maybe you think that perhaps it’s perfectly logical and I should be self conscious about other people seeing me sweat or seeing my armpit hair, because most people consider those things disgusting. And maybe you’re right. But I’m on the camp of neither of those things being inherently gross. Body hair, armpit hair included, is just hair. Sweat can be gross if you’ve not showered – but if you’re clean, it’s not gross at all. It’s literally just water and salt. As long as you’re clean there’s nothing that gross about it at all.
And, well, I guess this is where I throw in a message of encouragement to anyone reading this far in. If you like doing things but you’re to afraid to do them for fear of judgment, don’t let that irrational fear stop you. Any decent person won’t give a damn either way. If someone looks down on you for liking something, or partaking in some activity, or doing (or not doing) something with your body, they’re the kind of person you don’t want around to begin with. As cheesy as it sounds, just be yourself. Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve had your share of struggles of a similar nature to what I’ve described. Maybe you’re reading and you’ve never felt ashamed of anything you or your body does. Whichever camp you fall under, I encourage you to do what I’m trying to do – break the shell, embrace and love who you are. Don’t hide yourself or wear a fake face to try to please others – because really, that’s not what life is about. Be yourself – if what makes you happy is to please others, then by all means – go on ahead. But if you’re avoiding certain things you like, avoiding saying certain things purely to please others, and wearing a fake face, then I encourage you to take the mask off. Don’t be embarrassed to be you.
So, comments! Did you actually read the entire thing? Do you think I’m slightly (or extremely) insane for genuinely enjoying sweating? Do you think that armpit hair is disgusting and that I should go back to shaving it? Do you perhaps also enjoy getting a good sweat on or am I alone in that realm of thought? Did I gross you out too badly with some of my descriptions? Do you think this entire blog post was a mistake and I shouldn't have posted it and should remove it immediately? Or do you think that me posting it is a good thing? Either way - if you have any questions or comments of your own, feel free to throw them down below! I’ll gladly answer any questions you might have.