Last week in part 1 of this series I discussed women and the challenges we can experience in our society. Specifically I brought to attention how our society can define what is acceptable and not with our body and the impact and ways we can change this. My follow up here is to share my perspective. One woman’s tale that might be very similar to something others have experienced. The more we normalize awakening, remembering, and acting from full choice the more empowered we become. This is my personal journey moving from letting others decide my body image for me to reclaiming my authority and presenting my body in what is most natural and pleasing for me.
In college I started being me in brand new ways with awareness and creative curiosity. I asked myself new questions such as how could I dress, is wearing my hair natural with kinks and coils an option, and what type of body do I desire? For the first time I asked and questioned why I presented my physical body in the way I did. For the first time I asked myself what is natural for ME? What flows effortlessly, and what is an effort for me to do? What of me now is based on OTHERS expectations? Most importantly instead of Googling, asking for advice, seeking approval from my parents or others, looking for answers in a magazine or book, I listened for my internal guidance. I responded from my gut instinct.
Even though this was brand new to me, I always heard my body’s response easily and loudly. I started from that day forward navigating from my gut and body and living from this space of following what I require while still experiencing what my society shares.
My guidance spoke and shared the ‘others expectations’ in my current presentation was shaving my body such as under arms, legs, forearms, toe hair, and sacred space. The belief that I was reacting to and acting from was no self-respecting, attractive, or ‘normal’ woman has body hair of any sort that is visible to others besides their hair on their head. The messages I previously based my reasons for shaving were all handed down from outside instead of inside my desire.
I saw through TV, my world as a child and growing teenager, and adults in my life that women who shaved were unhygienic. Women who do not pay attention to their physical appearance lacked respect for themselves so says my teachers, my parents, and the figures I believed to tell the truth. So my truth was shaped through these other people’s lenses and I saw no one bunking these rules in my life.
Women who had makeovers from ‘less than’ desirable presentations into beautiful desired ladies usually had their bodies waxed or shaved. The average women walking around the street, in the fitness exercise classes, or at concerts even at hippie alternative events would have hairless under arms or legs. The message that was pervasive was if I desired to ‘fit in’, be accepted, loved romantically and/or sexually, and to exude respect I must shave myself. Yet, when I used to shave I put my body in a lot of pain. From scratches to burn to skin peeling off to emotional pain all of this was done to fit in and be OTHER than me.
In 2006 I started to research and grow and question all of this standard behavior. I asked myself what if there was another way. I said yes to my power, my authority, to my desires and what lights me up and stopped shaving my body. For me, this was my best choice for my body and I gave myself permission to be unique and create my own reality. I have been on a journey of being a hairy female in a society that promotes bare hairless skin in subtle and obvious ways as the norm and epitome of femininity. My journey has been amazing and similar to being a surfer riding waves of water. Navigating high and low heights and experiencing bigger and powerful waves as my years and experience grow by. Being the master surfer here is learning how to navigate and balance easily riding these waves.
Some of these waves have been:
*Experiencing self-doubt after making my choice and finding my truth in relation to my body
*Experiencing shaming, pleas and continual demands to change my identity and shave, judgment for sticking to my high agreements, and bullying in hopes to change me from my mom which eventually lead to acceptance of my choice. She even championed me with our extended families reactions to my choice to be a hairy goddess
*Worry of others being able to see my armpits or legs and their rejection of my choice to be me on an intimate level to wearing tank tops and shorts/skirts with pride for me and only me
*Experiencing people of all genders staring at me intently with various looks of disgust and fear when they notice my hair on my body and transforming to reclaiming my security in shinning my light by continuing to honor my highest choice regardless of what my outside world looks like
*Moving from allowing these shaming stares to silence me from doing what I love which is swimming and enjoying the water to regaining and remember my authorship and donning not only a swimsuit but a bikini for the first time in my life taking back my body and confidence and enjoyment of water
*Claiming my role as a role model for other women who are afraid or scared to be their desired hairy selves and occasionally receiving smiles of hope and joy or enjoyment from other women
* Experiencing solidarity in others that initially supported me when becoming hairy whenever I saw the lone other woman with visible underarm, leg, or unique hair on their face
* Receiving questioning from romantic partners about my hair to requests and pressure to shave/trim parts of my body for their ease/security in themselves/physical attraction to relating with romantic and sexual partners who enjoy me and my body the way I am and being an educator in the importance of women choosing what their bodies look like
*Learning a big lesson in empowerment from once eventually giving into consistent pressure and discussion from one romantic partner and shaving my armpits and experiencing a death of my self for allowing someone outside of me to influence who I am
*From this death moving back into life feeling the stubble and nakedness and exploring my comfort ability of hair on my legs and face and sacred space as they and I grow
For more than 5 years this has been a luscious journey that continues to be experienced on newer and deeper levels which all stem from these questions:
What is natural for me and what of me now is based on others expectations?
These are the keys to the door of authority, power, and empowerment.
What is on the other side of your door?
Jessica Crystal Joy is a feminine empowerment educator that has been studying spiritual and self-improvement work since 2001. She provides articles, workshops, and presentations geared towards women being confident in speaking their desires and requirements in their life to their community using their intuition and deep connection with their bodies. She is known for quickly creating an environment of safety and expansion to go beyond a person’s past limited belief systems while explicitly and providing practical ways to be and live from a deeper empowered state of being in her clients day to day lives. She has a B.A. in Psychology and is a Certified Tantra Educator, Certified Intuitive Guide, a member of the Holistic Living Network, Yogi, creative writer for New Earth Media, blogger and social media/website maintainer, professional speaker, essential oils expert, vegan, and incorporates the many tools of Mastery Systems in her work. For more articles and ways to work with her check out her website http://jessicacrystaljoy.com.