I stopped shaving my legs sometime last year. I probably haven’t shaved my armpits for two. It wasn’t a big deal at the time—-I was lazy and didn’t want to take the time out of the day to take a razor to my body. Even before then, I wasn’t exactly a regular shaver—I’d go without during the winter and only sporadically shaved during the warm months. It was something I thought I had to do before going to the beach, wearing a summer dress, or being intimate with a partner. I spent a lot of time being anxious about what other people thought of me instead of choosing what would make me happiest. Soon my legs were a point of contention. I still didn’t want to shave, so I spent a long time hiding them in pants, long skirts, and leggings. Swimming at the Rec Center became another thing that I barred myself from.
The weather a few weekends ago changed everything. Friday and Saturday were spent in pants. In my mind, my legs were a monstrous thick blonde forest. Exposing them beyond capris wasn’t even an option before the 80-degree weather decided to step in. The exact moment happened at Buffalo Exchange. I wasn’t going to buy anything because of my limited budget, but then I saw it: an 8-dollar summer dress. I immediately purchased it.
Maybe I’d been oppressing myself for so long that I became numb to my own anxiety. Maybe I realized after two years that I lived in Portland and hairy legs are not uncommon. I’m still not sure the cause. But I do know that my legs were finally free to wave their hairs in the sunny weather; to relax out at the waterfront; to sigh a breath of relief. That was the goal the whole time— comfort. Now I wonder why I was so worried in the first place. Even if someone verbally expressed distaste at my choice, why is it any of their business? It’s not. It’s just mine.