Our appearance

Sadly, I’m gonna go ahead and assume we all have a part of our appearance we do not like. I am writing this post because after doing some research I couldn’t find much about it- not in the way I wanted put it across anyway.

Like my other blogs, I write about topics that interest me, topics that I am passionate about and things that I want to make people think about. I want to ‘start a conversation’ as they say!

My topic is going to be about body hair, more specifically, a woman’s body hair. However, I hope there will be an element of this post that we can all relate to.

This isn’t going to be about women not shaving their armpits, or their legs, toes, fanny’s(!!). It isn’t going to be about how I agree or disagree with people doing shaving or not shaving. Whatever someone wishes to do with their own body is completely up to them. This should never ripple into anyone else’s lives other than their own – I guess this is kind of getting onto my point.

This topic is about my arm hair, and what I choose to do with it.

We do not choose what or bodies do. If our bodies want to react to pollen by sneezing and letting our eyes stream – it will. If our body wants to give us the flu, it’ll go ahead and do it! Sometimes our bodies allow us to be tall, others short. Some people wide, others slim. Sure enough, if we smoke too many cigarettes, eat too much junk food, take drugs – there may be health complications and physical differences. My point is though, like heights and illnesses, the choice of where hair grows on our bodies isn’t down to us. Whether we are a boy or a girl, that stuff grows (or doesn’t grow) wherever the hell it wants to.

I have hairy arms, (despite my mum and best friend’s protests through the years, it’s OK, I got this) they are pretty damn hairy.

I remember the first time I had acknowledged my arms were hairy. I was in year 6, and in my school we were required to go swimming with the class weekly. I remember looking at my classmates, and wondering why the hairs on their arms didn’t look even longer because they were wet from the pool. At the young age of 10 or 11, I had begun to despise my body. This continued for so, so many years. Growing up, this wasn’t a part of me I could accept. Summers were painful, particularly at school. “Why are you still in your jumper, aren’t you hot?” P.E in the summer was my biggest fear. I knew if I had a jumper on people would question it, I knew I would sweat profusely. I also knew that if I were to take it off, the nasty comments would start. In the end, 14 year old me picked up a razor and shaved it all off (much to my own mother’s horror). I couldn’t take it anymore, I couldn’t handle the shame I felt. I couldn’t handle the comments I’d experienced from those who had seen my arms (Chewbacca is a personal favourite now I am older.) I gave into others expectations of how we ‘should’ look.

It was an incredibly dumb decision, don’t shave your arms kids.

How did I get to this point? I was so ashamed with the body I was given. People couldn’t comprehend that a girl could have hairy arms. Like I had said before, we do not choose what our bodies do. If hair wants to sprout somewhere, then it will, there isn’t much we can do about it.

Now… I always like to end a blog on a happy note! The truth is, there is always going to be a part of our appearance we don’t particularly like. There are always going to be certain times in our lives where this shame feels more intense than others. I no longer like to use the word ‘hate’ with regards to my arm hair, it isn’t useful in my mental attitude towards it. It has taken me so, so many years to get over the fact that I have more hairs on my arms than all of the other girls I know. At the age of 23 I am finally buying clothes that I like, not summer clothes that are a thin material so that I don’t sweat, but are long enough to cover my arms. The days of cardigans in the summer are gone for this one!

This doesn’t make it any less of a problem for me, but I have finally reached a point in my life where I am aware that this cannot be changed (permanently, anyway) If someone were to make fun of me, I have reached the point where I can say “I don’t care” (even if there may be a few tears after). A person who wishes to put others down due to their appearance really isn’t worth having around, are they? I could shave them. That’d leave me with prickly arms. I could pay for wax strips – but quite frankly I’d rather spend my cash on something worth-while that I enjoy.

We may look at others with jealousy, desiring their bodies and appearance. Unfortunately though, they probably have their own demons, they just haven’t necessarily said it out loud. We’re all unique, and for every one thing we hate about ourselves, let’s try and think of five things that we love. In the end, those dreadful thoughts we have will be pushed right into the corners of our mind, and hopefully never thought of again.

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