Gradually, slowly, I’m reclaiming my body in its natural form, the way it was originally designed and intended.
I stopped wearing make up about 2 years ago, I wore it so rarely anyway and it messes with my skin. I never dyed my hair and never intend to – I’m salt & pepper at the moment. I don’t use beauty products, except an organic moisturising cream for my face and some cheap cream for my body. I stopped shaving at some point in the last few months.
It occurred to me the other day that I’ve never seen my own underarm hair, because I started shaving when I barely had any. I’m 42 and I couldn’t even tell you if I’m very hairy or just a bit fluffy under the arms. At the moment it looks fluffy like a baby penguin.
I’m #sorrytotallynotsorry if this offends people, because in 2020 I cannot believe it’s still a stigma for women to talk about – or shock horror – be seen with body hair or just generally au natural. I considered whether this is oversharing to actually show a photo of my underarm hair and ordinarily I would not see any need for anyone to show you this. But why should it ok for people to post photos of women with their bottoms and stupid poses and perpetuate the image of woman as object, yet underarm hair – one of the realities of being a real woman – is seen as taboo? So that’s why I’m sharing it. I too, want to feel more comfortable about seeing it. It’s still weird and slightly awkward and it shouldn’t be so.
Don’t ever feel ashamed of your body.
We are blossoming until the day we leave this earth.
I remember how excited I was as a young girl about finding signs of my own womanhood. I was so excited and impatient for the day I would start to grow hairs in new places like my mum had. I looked forward to getting my first period too. It was like it the day couldn’t come too soon. Yet, the moment the signs arrived, I immediately started getting rid of them and hiding traces of everything in shame. My parents didn’t want me to, I started shaving because I understood that’s what women are supposed to do according to the magazines of my time – Dolly and Cosmopolitan mainly. We only spoke about our period in whispers because it seemed somehow embarrassing to talk about it.
I think it’s so sad that young women of today don’t get to know and love their bodies as they are. I’m sad partly also for the younger me, why on earth did I not see how beautiful my body was as it was made? I wasn’t aware of how I was so caught up in body image issues, I thought I just had the stereotypical weight issues. It shouldn’t have to take getting old, eccentric and facing covid lockdown to have this realisation, but there you go, it has.
This is not about going feral or being unhygienic. It’s also not about being a hippy. This is about not buying into other people’s expectations of how we should look. John and I were having an interesting conversation about grooming as a way to feel good about yourself. There is absolutely some truth in this. Grooming is part of personal style for some. We met a guy with an amazing moustache yesterday, he is clearly dedicated to this strong sense of style and it’s awesome for him.
In my case, I don’t have that. For a while I used to say I shave/epilate because it makes me feel better about myself, but I don’t think that’s true. Hair removal was just a way to ensure no-one would judge me for it, mostly men, but women too. I was aware of the judgement in magazines, media and world around me before I was even a teenager.
I have eczema and several other skin conditions that means my skin looks and sheds like a snake. It’s highly embarrassing and annoying. It has been a source of regular comment all my life. I know none of it is maliciously intended, but it’s no wonder more and more of us have skin and other health issues when we strip our bodies of the very things they need to remain healthy and then cover them with artificial cosmetics and products.
But here’s the thing, I sweat less now I don’t shave. My hair is less oily since I stopped washing it every day (more like once a week now).
I’ve just started reading “Clean” by Dr James Hamlin, who suggests that our habits of cleanliness have less to do with hygiene than we think. I am going on a bit of a tangent here, let me get back to my point.
I’m not shaving/waxing anymore. I am growing wild and white and wrinkly with grace. Like the young girl I was excited to become a woman, I am excited about aging. I cannot wait to be the fabulous, wise (?), old woman with amazing white hair and many great stories to tell.
I feel amazing inside as I get older. Young women ought to know that getting older is exciting, feels wonderful and the way our body changes is part of that journey. No man or partner or any human being has the right to make you change your looks for them. There are men/partners who love women as they are. Those are the ones worth seeking out.
Don’t ever feel ashamed of your body. We are blossoming all the way to the day we leave this earth.