This is a post I wrote early summer, 2018:
For years, I have secretly fought with myself in the shower. I would pick up my razor and ask myself when the day would come that I would stop. When would I stop trying to change who I naturally was to please others? This was the year I finally stopped...sort of.
A week ago I shaved my armpits after having let them go natural for about three or four months. I knew I wasn't going to feel good about doing it, I knew I was shaving for the wrong reason, and yet, I did it anyway.
Most women (at least the ones I know) usually don't shave on regular basis during the winter, because we don't feel there's a reason to if no one can see that area of our body. It's so ridiculous that we only feel we can be natural if no one is looking. I'll be honest, I shaved because it was 80 degrees that day and I had an art opening I was working/attending, and I felt it wasn't the right environment in which to expose my armpit hair…which is the opposite reason of why I stopped in the first place.
I'm getting upset with myself all over again for this decision, but I have years of conditioning to undo, so I also forgive myself. I also shaved my legs for the first time in a long while that day.
*At the time I wrote this, I was still adjusting to a new habit, and I allowed myself to care what other people might think. Today, eight months later, I no longer remember the hair is even there until I catch someone’s eyes darting to my armpits. I will still shave on occasion, but it is no longer for the benefit of others. *
Here's what truly terrifies me...
My hairy legs reminded me of men's legs, and I felt less feminine. WHAT?! HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT?! Body hair does NOT equal masculinity. We are ALL hairy animals. Body hair is not a masculine/feminine thing, it's a human thing. It's one thing to not care about what other people think, but what am I supposed to do when I'm the one offended? And I've only mentioned my struggle with shaving. What about the rest of my body hair? What about the fact I'm already growing an Italian grandmother mustache? And I could go without shaving, but I'm not about to stop trimming my nose hairs anytime soon. And therein lies the problem; I'm not comfortable with how my body acts on its own, and I feel the need to interject or risk being grossed out...and I'm only grossed out because society tells me it's gross or weird. It is a vicious cycle that I can't seem to escape.
I know (hope) I will get there eventually. I stopped coloring my hair a year ago and have fully embraced my wiry gray hairs. I stopped wearing makeup years ago (I still use natural mascara from time to time, and I fill in my brows). I said, "Fuck You" to bras four years ago, and I stopped worrying about my body odor eons ago when I decided to stop toxifying my body with antiperspirant. None of these things has stopped me from being loved unconditionally, including the times I don't shave. So why do I still care?
Is it really because we have spent our entire lives being conditioned by the media to feel we need to change ourselves in order to be accepted by society? I know a lot of women feel that beautifying and pampering themselves feels good and like an act of self-care, but are we really digging to the root of this? Are we REALLY doing it for ourselves? Let's face it, if we were stranded alone on a desert island, we probably wouldn't give a fuck about mani/pedis. I'm not judging anyone or saying it's wrong to do these things, in fact, I love dressing up and getting sparkly, but I'm genuinely trying to get to the root of things, and I can't seem to find an answer other than the greed of corporations trying to keep us down.
In summation, I find it incredibly strange that we have become so far removed with who we naturally are. We try so hard to change our outer appearance, but are we working as hard on our insides? I can't help but feel that if we worked on ourselves and learned to love ourselves unconditionally, we would accept ourselves just the way we are. I am a work in progress and I'm looking forward to evolving as much as I can in this lifetime. And to all the women out there (I only personally know of one) who don't give a shit and let ALL of their body hair go free, you are my heroes; keep being your wonderful selves.
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