I've been observing some really amazing instinctual reactions within myself lately. One of them I wrote about here, when someone I used to live with screwed over my darling and I, and instead of getting mad at him, I felt sad for him, and decided to send up a prayer. Another one came about a month and a half ago...
It's been more months than I can count since I last shaved my legs. Weird way to start, I know, but just stick with me on this one. The decision to stop shaving, or rather the willingness to just let it grow and be natural, all happened back in 2012. I decided that I wanted to embrace my natural, womanly state, and give the warm-and-fuzzy lifestyle a shot. So, I stopped shaving. It wasn't to make some bold political statement (well, not entirely), nor was it to take myself to the next level of hippie. It wasn't something I did to shock others, nor to try and inspire anyone else. And it definitely wasn't to please anyone else, because as my boyfriend at the time said, "You're not going to shave anymore?I thought you were just being lazy, and that was one thing, but just not doing it ever again, that's disgusting, that is not okay." It was something I decided to do for myself, on my own.
In the last two and a half years, I've probably shaved my legs perhaps 10-15 times. Usually before a big event (my uncles' wedding, which turned out to be a bit of a waste since I was in floor-length dresses and skirts the entire time anyways), or when I feel like checking out life without hairy legs. (Which always leaves me feeling like I just aborted a child or something. Like this huge part of me is suddenly missing, and I feel inexplicably weird and exposed. Until I rub my legs together, then I'm reminded why so many enjoy it..hehe.) And I'll admit, I did cave after my parents' visit last September, in which my dad was hassling me everyday about how gross it looked. And after he showed me a picture, and I at first thought they were a man's legs, I did shave, to my family's great relief. But other than that, the action hasn't happened a lot, and I'm fine with it, maybe even a bit proud. Or so I thought. . .
In late October, I wore a dress one day to the high school where I'm assisting. I had some classes with the 14-16 year olds, and during the class, one of the girls caught sight of my legs. She immediately freaked out, nudged her friend, whispered the news to her, and then followed by spreading it around the room to those near her. Teenage heads were craning this way and that, just trying to catch a glimpse of my unsightly, hairy legs. It made me incredibly uncomfortable, and I was praying thanks for the large teacher's desk that was in front of me, providing an appropriate place to hide. But nonetheless, I was hiding.
Never in my life, not even when I was one, have I had a group of teenagers or people looking at me, pointing at me, whispering about me, and laughing at me, because of my physical appearance (not related to something I'm donning that day). It was such an intense experience for me, and it left me feeling so confused, self-conscious, and then ashamed, for trying to hide.
It only got worse, when, after class, I passed by the group in the hall, and all their eyes went straight down to my lower legs. Eyes bugging out of their heads, they clung to each other, and proceeded to laugh and let out "oh shit"'s that echoed down the hall, and followed me into my next class. I was trying to hard to keep my head up high and walk with confidence, but everything inside me was churning and turning inwards. The whole thing made me feel so embarrassed. When my classes were done, I went home with my shoulders slumping a little, and thankfully, my beauty was here. I told him what had happened, and relaxed in his arms as he held me, speaking consolations and comfort into my soul. Then, I had a big decision to make.
I was supposed to go back to the school for one more class with another group of the same age. I was home and had access to my clothes, which meant I could put tights on before returning, or continue my day the way I'd started it: legs out, hair exposed, statement inadvertently being made. Would I hide further, or face the laughter and looks?
I decided to brave them and not allow them to make me feel embarrassed or ashamed for a decision I'd made to empower myself, and embrace/accept myself as a natural, beautiful woman, the way I hope we all will. So I went back to the school, hair blowing in the breeze, and gave my final class. I'm not sure if anyone noticed my legs, if they did, their reaction was much more discrete than that of their classmates, and when I left, I was glad I hadn't decided to hide.
From there I had to make another choice: I could enter every class with that first group thinking about how they'd made me feel, allow it to cloud my energy and judgement towards them, resulting in misery every time I went into their class, or I could just choose to forget about it, and realize that it wasn't anything personal. They weren't laughing at me nor were they intentionally trying to make me feel that way, they were laughing because what I am is different from what they're told they should be. They were laughing because they didn't know how else to react, and because, let's face it, they're teenagers, and haven't fully matured yet. They laugh at everything, because in situations that make us feel uncomfortable, it's usually the easiest way to respond. So, I decided to delight in the fact the hot weather had passed, leaving me with no interest in wearing leg-exposing clothes, and just move on as if it never happened. And oh my goodness, I am so glad that's what I decided to do!
Since then, I've enjoyed every single class I've had with that group, and only a few times will I stop and realize, "Those were the same girls who were making a huge scene over my legs." They're really sweet people, which makes me so thrilled that I didn't decide to become hostile and hold a grudge, because every time we see each other, we smile, and it's a nice moment. And, when I ran into them in the center of town last Friday, and one of them asked me if I had any friends here, because if I didn't, she'd give me her phone number for Whatsapp so we could hang out and she'd show me good places to eat, I was praying endless prayers of thanks for the way I'd responded. (So sweet, so amazing!)
So in the end, I've spent more time thinking, "I'm so glad I decided to take the high road and react in a conscious way," than, "Screw those girls who made me feel like crap," and that is more encouragement than I need to continue brushing things off in life, not taking them personally, and deciding to love on through it all! I'm a very sensitive person, and only recently have I decided to accept that, but also work on not letting things get to me so much. Because honestly, most of the time people say or do something, it's not because they're really trying to hurt you, it's just a reaction, and our perception of it makes it painful or pleasant. And what would have happened in this year, in our classes, to our relationship, to our energy, to the universal impact of it all, had I decided to take hostility's hand instead of love's? Well, that is something I'm Glad I'll Never Know!
It can be so hard to remember, when someone hurts us deeply or on any level for that matter, it's not going to do any good to take it personally and let it get a rise out of us. And more often than not, it's the other person that has the issue. It's not really in our nature to hurt one another, we only do so because we act out of an unconscious, unidentified, or insecure place within ourselves. Most emotions that we feel are secondary emotions, caused by something else. So it's incredibly important to remember to try to not allow what someone says or does to affect us and cause us to switch and shift from acting out of love, to acting out of revenge and/or hurt. They hurt, because they're hurting. We must love, because that's what they need, and we need as well. Every moment provides us an opportunity to be positive or negative, loving or resentful. And I firmly believe that if we keep accepting and loving ourselves, and choosing to be positive in every situation, because yes, it is a choice, then we will see ourselves go places we've never imagined! :)
I hope that you have a happy, conscious day, and that life is handing you only the most delicious lemons ever, so you can squeeze 'em into some warm water in the morning, and turn 'em into something that has great benefits for your health! :D
And as always,
Blessings, Love & Light
I love you brothers and sisters