I’m not guaranteeing that I’m going to do this yet. At least not on a permanent, no exceptions basis.
You see, I happen to have a not-hippie-at-all wedding (which will be attended by some very fashion-forward old friends of mine) coming up in a few days and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be brave enough to show up with hairy legs and underarms.
I’ve faced my fear of going makeup free (including mascara) in my day to day life, and have now accepted it. It’s become mostly normal and comfortable to me despite the initial squirmishness about it – and it feels awesome to not have to worry about being done up every day if I don’t want to be. If I want to put some on, fine. If I don’t (which seems to be about 80% of the time), then I don’t.
After facing that fear, my mind has inevitably wandered to the topic of shaving – a generally annoying practice that I upkeep so that I can be accepted by society’s standard of beauty (and the conditioned standard of beauty that I have for myself).
Why do I do it?
Inevitably, I’ve been putting off taking the plunge on the issue because the idea of going against social norms and not shaving is particularly scary – especially because the state of women’s body hair seems to be one of the things that is most acceptable by society to share its explicit opinion on. And that opinion seems to be almost unanimous that the natural body hair on women is gross and offensive.
Therefore, you rarely see anyone out there who goes against that norm. But when I see a woman who does, I think “Wow. That is awesome. She is so brave and strong”. Some of the most beautiful, inspiring women I know do not shave.
Yet, when I look at my own body hair, it freaks me out. I too have been so conditioned that when I see it on myself, I find it a bit revolting. And it scares me that I may be rejected by many people as not being “beautiful” because of a choice to challenge that conditioning in myself and accept and embrace every part of my natural body.
I know the reason I don’t want to stop doing it is because I am terrified of what others think. I’m terrified of strangers calling me a typical disgusting hippie behind my back.
But why does it really matter what other people think – especially if they aren’t really people that I particularly care about? This is the lesson I’m trying to learn – to let go of what other people think of me, and focus more on what I think of me (which is a lesson that can irretrievably be transferred over to dealing with the emotional pain of acne).
All in all, I see this little experiment as a challenge in personal growth. If it scares the s#^* out of you, facing it is probably the thing that will make you grow the most. Hear my thoughts:
What are your thoughts on this topic?
— Note: Click on the link below to see how my no-shaving experiment turned out —