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(In Sarah’s words)

I drew this piece for my friend Colleen because of a conversation we had on her blog some time ago.  She had mentioned that a friend had told her that she smelled nice and wondered what perfume she was wearing.  Colleen told her friend that she was in fact not wearing any products whatsoever.  I joked that she should bottle her smell and sell it as “Eau de Colleen”.

I almost deleted this piece and started on a different design because I thought people might be repulsed by the idea of celebrating Colleen’s natural smell.  Then I thought maybe that’s something we need to tackle.  Why might we feel disgusted by a person’s natural smell?  Is it because we’ve been trained to think that people only smell nice when they’re wearing artificial fragrance?  The perfume companies like to persuade us that beautiful people wear their products.  Laundry product companies like us to believe that things aren’t clean unless they smell of artificial fragrance.

Some people buy all the fragranced products they are pushed and they end up smelling like a tart’s boudoir, as my mother would put it. When I encounter someone like that I automatically blow out of my nose then hold my breath until they’ve gone by, just like I would for a person with bad B.O. or bad breath.  To my nose they fall into the same category – people who stink.

Since I came across Colleen’s blog I’ve made a few changes.  I’ve stopped using so many fragranced products, I check labels and I’ve started making a few homemade products.  For example, I’ve switched to homemade deodorant made from equal parts coconut oil, corn starch and baking soda.  I also make liquid soap for the family from unfragranced soap flakes and I use vinegar as a hair conditioner.  Now that I’ve got up the initial learning curve it’s no big deal.  In fact, it’s made my trip around the supermarket a lot quicker.

(Colleen’s two cents worth)

I did not realize today’s date until after Sarah emailed me her international — do no harm — love everybody — friendship — beautiful artistically expressed — toxic free guest post. I love that Sarah has pointed out how going toxic free simplifies our lives. Yesterday, my dad called from the supermarket to check if a hair product for my mom would be okay with my MCS. He read the front label — this product is made with organic ingredients. This made me laugh. I thought so we have what two organic ingredients and the rest are toxic synthetic ingredients. No they were more cunning than that in their labeling. My dad then read the ingredients list which mostly he spelled because the chemical names were so complicated — until he read “butane”. Yes — butane — as in stuff used to make lighter fluid. Most people hear organic and think free of pesticides. Organic also means in chemistry class that the compound has both carbon and hydrogen atoms in it. And yes, you guessed it — this is the “organic” they were referring to on the label. Even if we only had electric cars on the road and heated our homes by solar power and ran our factories by wind turbines and hydroelectric power — I think most people would be amazed how many petrochemicals are in our everyday lives. Linda has a great post listing some of these items.What better day than September 11th to pledge to do no harm — to ourselves — our families — our neighbors — the global community. This starts with our own personal space and choices.I am truly blessed to have Sarah as a friend. I hope you have been inspired as much as I have by her amazing doodles (as she calls them) and the wisdom of her words.Love,Sarah and Colleen