February 2, 2015

all about legs

Posted by meli on Monday, February 02, 2015 in | No comments
I didn't have any big, politically charged, feminist reasons to stop shaving my legs.
I just wanted to get to know them better. 

Let me back up a little.

I spent a great deal of my life not liking my legs. I cursed them. Cried about them. Hid them. Abused them. To be fair, this disgust and abuse was targeted to most of my body, not just my legs, but we're just focusing on legs here. And these legs of mine have taken a lashing from me. 

So much energy... wasted on picking them apart. 
So much time... wasted on hiding and holding back.

Something shifted in me several years ago. Hitting my 30's, perhaps. I looked down for the first time and thought "Oh hell yea, this body ... these legs ... this is me. All me. Strong. Beautiful. These legs have held me up through it all. They never gave up on me, even when I gave up on them. They supported my body growing 3 amazing children. They gave me the ability to walk those babies to sleep on restless nights. The ability to run around with them when they became mobile. The ability to play soccer and ball and tag. The ability to hike and climb and explore. They're amazing. And dammit, they're pretty sexy, too. Not as sleek and tight as they were when I was younger. When I hated them and wished them different. They have some wiggle and dimple to them now. And stretch marks. Oooh they have stretch marks. And I love every last one of them. Telling my story. A story of strength and courage and life and love. 

My new found love for my legs led me to want to get to know them a bit better. 

I've been shaving since... I can't remember. A long time. 12, maybe. 13. My first shave was quite the experience. I gathered my supplies: razor, cream, water, towel, boombox. You need tunes when you're shaving, ya know. My tune of choice ... Skid Row. Yea, me and my legs were going to do it right! I was all set. I laid out the towel on my bedroom floor; the cup of water sitting next to me. I dipped my fingers in the water, and flicked droplets at my left leg. Uncapping the shaving cream, I lathered up. A lot. I used almost a full can when all was said and done. (insert big bulging eyed emoji here). Dipped the razor (the pink disposable kind) in the cup of water, angled the blade near my ankle, placed the slightest amount pressure onto my leg, and slowly pulled the razor upward against my skin. That was so ... easy. And smooth. And pain-free. What the hell was all the fuss about? Cautions of cuts, rashes, burns all seemed like complete bullshit to me. Like a lie perpetuated to keep young girls from shaving. But why? Why lie about something so silly? The cost of razors I concluded. It's always all about the money, after all. I dipped and wriggled the razor around in the cup of water to clean off the mountain of shaving cream atop it, and I proceeded to shave the hell out of my left leg. And you know what ... every last swipe of the razor was just as smooth as the first. I felt triumphant. I was a woman now. No denying it. And I uncovered a massive widespread lie to all girls everywhere while I was at it. Haa. I was singlehandedly going to change the world with this information! But first, I had to finish the task at hand.

I set my sights on my right leg. I dipped my fingers in the now drenched-with-shaving-cream cup of water, and flicked the droplets at my unshaven leg. I had a thought as I cleaned off the razor again... how often are you supposed to change razors? After each leg? I wasn't sure, so I decided to inspect the blade to see if it was ready to be tossed. Wait. Where was the blade? What the hell was this pink plastic thing? I pulled at it, and POP, off it flew, revealing the shiny metal of razor blade underneath. 

Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously? I shaved an entire leg with the razor cap on? And I didn't notice? 

So much for smooth.
So much for triumphant.
So much for uncovering *Code 76* lies.

oooor maybe not ... 

And then my first REAL swipe of a razor against my skin left me with a cut. 


And so began the long affair with shaving my legs. 
  • I've learned over the years that shaving cream is, in fact, not needed (much less a whole damn bottle). Water alone does just fine. 
  • I've learned that those pink disposable razors suck. They hurt. They don't last long. And they are bad for the environment.
  • I've learned that there is no lie when it comes to cuts, rashes, burns ... even if you haven't nicked yourself in a long long time, you're not invincible to it.  
  • I've learned that sometimes it's nice, the rhythm and ritual of shaving. Meditative, even. But most times it's really just a time consuming pain in the ass that is on constant repeat. 

It was nearing the end of summer this past year. We were in Seattle. The weather was ... ehhh. The beach was too far away. I hadn't shaved in a couple of weeks. Standing in the shower day after day deciding, nah, maybe tomorrow. Days, turned into weeks. And weeks into months. Pretty soon I was so far into this no shaving thing, without even "trying", that I decided I would continue. Purposely. To see what would happen. You know, get to know my legs a little better. How long would the hair get? What color? How thick? Would it have any curl or texture to it? What would it feel like? 

It's been about 6 months now. 
There are many different colors swirling around down there. 
Pretty fine, as far as thickness goes. 
Not too long. Or curly. Or textured. 
Feels soft. 

And... mostly I don't even notice. 

Except when I'm getting out of the shower. 
Standing there after turning the water off,  my legs feel like a Plinko Board as the droplets of water maneuver themselves down my legs. No longer in just a straight line; the drops zig and zag through my hair. It's quite funny, and funny feeling, cracks me up every time. And then the fact that I am cracking up in the shower, alone, cracks me up even more. My showers have now also turned into a great ab workout! 


Feminism and politics weren't my reason for this experiment, but now that I'm all in, bigger energy does play a role in what I do going forward. It always does ;-) There were a few times that I felt the urge to shave, but I held off because I couldn't be sure of my motives. It's not that I'm now against shaving my legs. Totally not. But I do want to make sure that when/if I do decide to shave again it will be because *I* want to shave, for whatever reason; not because I'm feeling self conscious in a culture that puts way too much pressure on women to change themselves in order to "appear more appealing". Nope... won't be a part of that. Not this girl. Not anymore. 


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