I don’t have any sisters. I’m sandwiched between two brothers.
But I always wanted a sister growing up. My parents say that when I was really young, I said I wanted a sister and was going to name her Jif (my brothers and I are all named with J’s).
In lieu of sisters, I had several female cousins that I grew up with. This is probably why I wanted a sister so bad. I saw their bond and it didn’t seem to be anything like what I had with my brothers. I was envious.
And so, my introduction to the world of female things didn’t come from my mom (who decided not to talk to me about these things anyway), but from my cousins. This included talk of bras, periods, and, you guessed it, shaving.
I don’t remember thinking much about shaving besides feeling pressured to do it once my cousins started doing it. I don’t remember specifically at what age I started—probably 11 or 12, but I began shaving my legs, underarms, and pubic area.
When I was 13, I decided shaving was stupid and that I didn’t want to do it anymore. And so I stopped shaving my legs.
This went on for a few months while friends argued with me about it. It’s hygienic! One of them declared. Eventually, after someone whispered to me that my current middle-school boyfriend had gotten wind that I didn’t shave my legs, I started shaving again.
This went on for a couple years until, in high school at the age of 15, I decided to stop shaving my legs again, this time for good.
That was almost 15 years ago (God, HOW am I going to be 30 this year?????).
My not-shaving progressed to other areas of my body as I entered adulthood, despite having several boyfriends over the years. At the age of 22 and in college—and dating my long-term boyfriend (now husband)—I decided to stop shaving my armpits. And, in the couple of years after that, I abandoned shaving what’s probably considered the most embarrassing area of all for women to have hair—my pubic area.
Today, I fully embrace my body hair and I love it. Not shaving (I literally don’t own a razor) has made my life blissfully simple and empowering at the same time. My husband loves my hair and couldn’t care less about whether or not I have body hair. Not that his opinion of it would matter to me, anyway. The only opinion that matters is mine.
I keep the hair on my head shaved for the same reasons I don’t shave anything else—it’s easier and I love it.
So without further ado, here’s why I don’t shave my body hair and never will again.
Shaving Is a Waste of My Precious Air-Breathing Seconds
Shaving felt like such a huge waste of time when I did it. It made my shower routine longer, and that damn hair was always growing back. It felt like I was constantly shaving to have my legs look “perfect” and have that smooth, hairless look.
It got old.
There were so many things I’d rather be doing than shaving my legs and wasting a bunch of shaving soap and water. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to be spending time with my family. Most of all, I didn’t want to have to worry about my body hair anymore.
It got to the point where I realized that I was shaving when I didn’t really want to and didn’t know why. And, for me, doing something and not knowing why you’re doing it is a pretty frightening feeling.
I realized that I didn’t have to shave. Some people might think I was gross, but their opinions didn’t matter, and their negative reactions were a small price to pay for my personal happiness. Shaving was a waste of my life and didn’t make me happy. And so I stopped.
I Cannot Pick and Choose the Parts of My Body That I Love
My body is this crazy, imperfect vessel through which I experience life. Growing up, my mom made me feel pretty crappy about my body, and the parts that she chose to focus on were the parts that I soon came to hate about myself, namely my stomach and my breasts.
At the age of 25, I went through a personal renaissance where I realized that I had been wearing a bra since I was 11 for only one reason—because I was ashamed of my breasts. And why was I ashamed of my breasts? Because my mom made me feel like they were something to hide, something to be ashamed of.
I realized that, just like shaving, I didn’t have to do it. I didn’t have to wear a bra. And so I stopped wearing one even though it was out of my comfort zone, even though it felt totally alien and challenged every single thought or perception I’ve ever had about myself. But that was exactly why I had to do it.
Today, almost five years later, I haven’t worn a bra except for a sports bra when exercising since that November day. And it’s not to spite my mom or challenge my beliefs—it’s because I truly feel more comfortable without one, and not wearing one has empowered me to love my breasts, something I was never able to do before.
The truth is that my body isn’t separate from anything, not from the world that I live in or, physically, my mind. I cannot pick and choose the parts of my body that I accept and love, just as I cannot pick and choose the parts of my husband that I accept and love. If I don’t love and accept my body (or my husband, ha) for what it is in this moment, for all its perfections and imperfections, then I don’t truly love any of it.
My body hair is just another part of my body, and getting rid of it through shaving was not serving me in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it caused me to draw further into my self-loathing, body shame, and past conditioning.
I love my body hair, and I have never wished it wasn’t there since I stopped shaving. It’s part of me, and I love it.
The single most defining reason why I don’t shave anything except my head is this: I don’t want to.
There are some things people think we have to do in life. I’ve challenged so many of those ideas, and today, I recognize that my life is for me, and it’s the only one I’ve got. So I live it in a way that’s acceptable to me and that makes me happy. And that is the beginning and the end of it for me.
I may not have a 9-5 job with benefits and I may have too many rescued animals and people sometimes mistake me for a cancer patient or a boy, but none of those things matter. I’m happy, and that’s what matters. Shaving just didn’t fit into my definition of personal happiness and for that, I had to let it go.