I have always been hairy.
From the time of my birth, when I met the world with a fine dark down that covered my body and my mother exclaimed “It looks like I gave birth to a monkey!” I have always struggled with being a hairy little gremlin.
Up until the age of 6, I didn’t mind much. I barely even registered that I was different from any other girl my age. But sometime around the age of 7, as I prayed for a Barbie dream house and the ability to run faster than the grade four’s, The Hairy Fairy paid me a visit.
This is him.
I was already fairly hairy, but the Fairy thought I needed a little more. For warmth? For fun? I will never truly understand his motives.
All I know is that one day I woke up, looked down at my arms and realized they were filled with cotton candy textured dark brown hair. I swear to you, looking back, they looked like little clouds on my arms.
My mother assured me this was normal. Every girl looked like this. I didn’t really mind all that much. Who really cared? Not me. I dug me. I thought I was a fairly fun kid and didn’t really worry about outside influences.
Until catechism class.
I sat next to a boy that had behavioral issues. He had no boundaries, he was not limited by social convention or manners. And I remember sitting there, paying attention to my catechism teacher and seeing movement out of the corner of my eye.
It was the boy. And he was reaching over to my desk.
At first I thought he was reaching for a pencil and went to object when his hands rested lightly on my seven-year-old forearm. More precisely – upon the hair that sat there.
I remember how suddenly silent the room got. The teacher seemed to stop teaching, the students all watching at the horror unfolding before them. The entire thing was so painfully intimately embarrassing. I couldn’t even speak, I could only watch as he delicately began to rub my arm, playing with the hair as I would brushing the hair of my dolls.
It was horrendous. And I recall the only thing I could do was catch the boy’s eye and shake my head in silent, “No. You can’t do stuff like that.”
Finally the teacher said something, but not before the giggles and whispers began to sound out around me. I felt my face go a shade of red before ducking my head into my book.
Shame. I had never felt it like this. I felt shaken, vulnerable.
I was different.
And it seemed to only go on from there. At school, I could suddenly hear snatches of conversation about me.
Stuff that I would have ignored suddenly cut me to the core and I went home from the third grade with tear stained cheeks, rushing up to the bathroom and locking the door behind me.
And so in the third grade, I found my mother’s pink plastic razor and decided to shave my body. My legs and my arms and even the little bit that grew on the upper part of my knuckles. Get that awful, disgusting hair off of me. I was a monster.And so I did… except with the lack of dexterity and experience my legs ended up looking like a carved Thanksgiving ham.
I wept, finally dragging myself from the bath and getting dressed.
Being hairy didn’t stop then however. The Hairy Fairy paid me another visit around the age of eleven. I remember sporting a pretty brutal pale yellow upper lip mustache. Why was it pale yellow? Because I bleached it. I remember the horrible acrid smell and the burn.
Then there was the time I got my mom to wax my upper lip for me because I was too chicken. I’m telling you right now, unless your mother works at a salon for a living, do NOT go this route. Because mothers are loving and want to help even when they lack the necessary skills.
Bottom line: When my Mom pulled the wax y strip from above my lip, part of my lip went with it. Yep. It pulled off a bunch of skin, leaving me (inexplicably still hairy) and with a gash in my mouth that would appear to be a cold sore for weeks.
I’m older now, and I wish I could tell you that I’m hairy and fancy free, but I’m not. I still like the feeling of smooth arms and upper lip. I love shaving my legs and slipping in between bed sheets at night. The fundamental difference is that I do those things now because I like to do them. I like how I feel. I don’t do them because of others expectations. And some days I don’t shave and guess what? That’s cool.
Because you can be hairy, smooth, bumpy, lumpy whatever- it doesn’t make you less of a woman. And I wish I would have known that how other’s perceive me is not how I should EVER define myself. I wish I could go back to that grade three girl and tell her, “Chill dude. It’s hair. There are so many things you’re going to have to worry and fret about as you grow up. Just enjoy being you. Go back to loving yourself.”
Girls, woman, for the love of God, please just love yourselves. I implore you. Woman teach your daughters, nieces, friends, loved ones that being a woman is more than appearance. And to all the kids out there- BE KIDS. Stop worrying about looking like the women in magazines – the women in the magazines don’t even look like that!
And if there are young man, middle aged men, any men who fear the same things and read this blog – who want to shave their chests to look like the men in movies – its your choice. Do what you want. Not what the media says is cool. I know for me personally, a man with chest hair is more than delightful to behold.
Life is so beautiful and we are on this earth such a short time. Doesn’t it make worrying about a trivial thing like hair seem so silly?
3 thoughts on “The Hairy Fairy”
Thanks for the encouragement to love ourselves!! Love Carla
I have to to tell you, this was me, as well in school. Only, I caved. I shaved my arms after being coined ‘The Woolly Mammoth’ (I was rail thin, tell me how this works?) Funny thing about shaving your arms too much- IT NEVER GOES BACK TO NORMAL. So I am doomed to shave my arms or else be cursed with dark prickly hairs that never full grow in. Just long enough to be noticeable, not long enough to be normal. You chose well 😛 Good on you!
I like that now if I do it, I do it by choice – not because I feel pressured to! AND YOU’RE RIGHT IT NEVER GROWS BACK THE SAME. If I’d left it, very likely it would have fallen out at puberty and I’d have lovely hairless arms like my mom. 😦
p.s. In the winter, I grow it long and wax it – SO MUCH EASIER and less time consuming, but BOY can it hurt!