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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Underneath the New Growth

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Underneath the New Growth

I remember I was sort of not-really-dating this cutie pie I knew. It hadn’t been that long, maybe a month or so when one night he was over my house and we were in my office room sitting at the computer. He was teaching me some basic techniques on Photoshop CS2 and needed a photo to use as a test dummy. We were scrolling through some of my picture files and stopped on a picture of me that I had taken with my arms up in the air. My hands were holding my hair in a designated placement and I think I was attempting some ill-fated sexy look that just ‘never quite curled right’. Lol.

All may have ended well except for one thing: I had on a sleeveless shirt and I hadn’t shaved underneath my arms. So in raising my arms and snapping this photo, I froze the hair that had grown in over the weeks of secret single behavior, into infinity. And that was the picture he chose to use.

I was so embarrassed that, that photo was there for him to see.

I was mad for taking it, even madder at myself for never deleting it and tried to play off my red face as he photoshopped (in teaching mode nonetheless) ‘ARM PITS’ above my raised arms.

I still have the picture and recalling it is met with much more laughter…now. But in the moment, I was completely embarrassed. I was a single woman who had neglected to shave her armpits for a while and the guy I liked caught a glimpse of it by accident. No woman is SUPPOSED to have hair under her arms! That’s ‘not sexy, boo’. #Splat  

Fast forward many years and as many birthdays later.

I had just stepped into the shower and raised my arms to allow the water to cover me when I realized how much underarm hair I possessed. My immediate thought was to jump out the shower and grab the last razor I had. What better time than the present to get rid of it right?

As quickly as I thought to get out, I also thought of the cold air hitting my body. I forgot to turn on the heat before showering, so I needed only go through this once. I also thought of the razor. It was my last one. Recent changes to my finances have forced me to make some overall lifestyle alterations. Venus Razors are not one of those things. They are a non-negotiable necessary purchase (or at least a strong equivalent). I do not and will not shave anything on my body with the razors that come in packs of 10. * shrug* 

I say all that to say, prolonging the first use of my last razor was a highly supported idea, as I wasn’t really sure when I could replace it.

Third and final reason was the obvious reason, as well as the winning hand.

Duh, I’m single!!!

There is no one to impress with underarms of baby-like skin and clear deodorant. If I were dating someone who I thought might see beneath my arms for whatever reason, I would have without doubt skipped past the cold air to grab the last razor, which would have been replaced as early as the next pay day.

But as a single woman who is not dating anyone, I can honestly say that shaving has not been on my list of things that I simply MUST do. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t grow an excessive amount of hair and I do support shaving. If it were summertime, this would be less likely to happen. But it’s not summer, I am single and my armpits are basically my personal business!

Underarm hair has no direct connection on my winter hygiene, my personality, the way I act, write, work or overall BE. Underarm hair didn’t make me single or mess up ‘what could have been.’ Poor choices, sex and misguided emotions did that…and my underarms stayed on point through it all!

In a perfect world, I would like to lift my arms and see Beyonce’. That’s where I want to be like Beyonce’. I don’t need her body shape, her money or her talent. I just want to lift my arms and it be as smooth-as-eggs and not a hair, root or stub in sight. Just like Beyonce’!! Lol.

But alas, this is not a perfect world, no one is putting a laser to my body with my permission and razors can only do so much. And I love what Venus Razors do which is why I buy them. But money IS tight right now, I AM single and it IS cold outside the shower; shaving is the least of my worries right now, especially in the winter.

Every day after this first happened, I would step into the shower and as soon as the water would hit, I would be reminded that once again I forgot to grab the razor from my bathroom closet. Still, I kept redirecting myself to leave it where it was. No, this is not some defiant act of being single and mad about it. This was actually quite a self-empowering moment. This was me loving and living MY rules and my life and MY body.

I decided one of two things would happen: Either I would remember to grab my razor on the way to the shower or I would shave on New Year’s Eve. After the new year, if and when I forget again, so be it.  

The significance is two parts as well.

Part one: Me: Being single has been especially hard on me this year because my last encounter left me questioning everything over the years of my dating history. I have spent a great deal, if not most, of 2014 questioning myself, my choices and the reasons why I am single. I have looked inward at the ‘common denominating factors (as there is more than one), and prayed for genuine healing. It’s been a struggle to regain my footing but something I have refused to give up on. This shower moment for me was the first time I consciously heard myself be ok with being single. And I was out loud with it. I spoke it; ‘I’m single, I can do this’, and proceeded to take my shower without missing a beat. My smile jovially turned into a giggle and right then I knew I wanted to blog about it. It may seem like small step, perhaps even petty. For me, it was huge. It meant I was no longer fighting my reality (of being single) and when the urge so hit me to naturally rid myself of any unwanted hair growth, I would proceed with pride. And I can do that because I am single!!!! #Cheers

 It meant I was seeing the Light side of things rather than all the dark spaces I had so vividly been living in.  

Part two: Another win for #TeamWomen!! Listen yaw, we don’t have to uphold any rites of passage or stereotypical thoughts about who/what/how a woman should be. As we strut our feet into a new year, let us be defined by our own individual definitions of who we are and how we are presented.

Every day the news and internet is littered with stories about all the people around the world who shun womanhood in endless capacities. Our wombs, rights and bodies are constantly being attacked for political gain and media consumption.

Organized religions try to teach us what God loves and hates about us and depending on who you follow, the rules can be contradictory and confusing. This is an easy world to find yourself unlovable in. Society fails to champion and rally with us or behind us for our causes, yet we find ourselves on the frontlines for every incoming battle from cures for cancer to police brutality to school funding and handgun laws. We are in the chambers, on the boards, in the hospitals and the streets and in the communities, churches and prisons. We, the women, are trying to paint our society with this brush of intense colors and now is the time to stop allowing everyone else to give us significance and characterization and worst of all, our womanhood!

I mean seriously, this world is what exactly WITHOUT women? I’ll wait……………………-

We are the greatest threat and the biggest ally for so many fights at the same time. With THIS much power gifted to who we are by chromosome standards, how can we be lessened from something as miniscule as underarm hair?

Someone may read this and be completely disgusted by this entire blog. I respect that. But that’s her right. Her choice. Her belief and her principle that she gets to apply to her life as she sees fit.

But the second I first made the decision not to hop out and grab my last razor was a moment I took back a little bit more of OUR power!!!!!! If I sound like yelling or at least chanting, it’s because I am!

I’m single dammit! Some things are not that serious anymore. Not underarm hair OR being single; it’s not Not.That.Serious! There is still life to be lived. Some things aren’t that deep even if you aren’t single. We have the right to be human and grow hair and be proud of it or pay to have it waxed off. Or take a selfie despite it being there and still feel embarrassed if someone we like happens to see it!

We might go get the Beyonce’ hair laser treatments or we might opt to just hop out of the shower, grab the 4-blade Venus and become flawless in our body hair.

 In the end, the stuff that really matters about you will probably be the least effected by small stuff such as body hair. None of this means I am about to go on a hair growing quest in order to flaunt my small order of feminism. I am going to shave my underarms as outlined by the above 1 of 2 rules. Whichever comes first, it will be because of me; not because of a man or society.

If I start dating again, I may remember to shave more often. If I don’t (start dating), I may continue to forget to clear the arm forest as much as I forget to shave my legs and paint my toes until the seasons change. And I don’t feel any less smart or womanly when I walk out of the house everyday as a 30 plus year old, fabulous, beautiful, single black woman with underarm hair. In fact, through what others might view as an eyesore, was I able to see how much I have grown.

I guess you can call it underarm hair; I would rather say I got a little #NewGrowth.

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