I started shaving my legs in 5th grade.
Not because the hair was dark or bothersome, but because my friends were doing it.
That means before I even entered into my teens I was conforming to societies standards of beauty and womanly upkeep.
In middle school, I joined in with a bunch of my friends as we made fun of our language arts teacher for having hairy legs and body odor.
I vividly remember noticing her hair without judgment though I continued to carry on with our bullying tendencies.
At the end of the year, a couple of boys placed a bag on her desk with some deodorant and a razor and I was horrified.
To this day I live with the guilt of possibly making our teacher feel bad or less than.
I often wonder if she took it to heart and allowed our immature behaviors to affect her.
But then I throw my legs up the wall and see my unshaved legs and realize that Mrs. Jones was a badass.
She didn’t care about the social norm and most likely laughed or shrugged at our prepubescent insecurities.
She broke free of what she was supposed to look like probably long before we stepped foot into her classroom.
And then I thank her, wherever she is, because she paved the way for me to ask questions and shake up the standards.
Why do my legs have to be soft and shiny?
Why do we fear body odor?
Why do so many of us allow our bodies to be sexualized and mindlessly controlled to look, smell, feel, or move a certain way?
Why don’t we start early education for our children about the natural body instead of allowing this idea of perfection?
And why can’t we feel beautiful all the time, no matter what?
Break free, my friends.
Your body is so much more than they’ve allowed you to believe.
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