CLAP YOUR HANDS EVERYBODY
IF YOU GOT WORKING MITTS
CUZ I’M SARAH C. AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT
THESE ARE MY PITS
If you can’t tell, they’re hairy.
I don’t remember the last time I shaved them, and I have no plans to shave them in the immediate future. I wear a tank top pretty much every day.
It started by accident. I got used to the idea of letting my body hair grow in beauty school, of all places. When you wax, you need at least a 1/4″ of hair, so you can’t shave for a couple weeks. I was able to get over my embarrassment in a room full of girls with other equally hairy body parts.
The summer after beauty school, I had an epiphany while I was in between waxes; if I didn’t care about my hairy pits while I was waiting to be waxed, why was I waxing at all?
BECAUSE OF SOCIETY, RIGHT?
Because supposedly it’s mannish, radical, disgusting, dirty, unladylike, wrong for me to have underarm hair. Because someone actually told me if I loved Jason, I wouldn’t let my underarms get that way.
Am I maybe mannish, radical, disgusting, dirty, unladylike and wrong? Very possibly. I’ve been accused of being any number of those things throughout most of my life. I mean, in elementary school, I found out about Amelia Earhart and decided to start wearing an old leather fighter pilot’s helmet to school.
I had already taken to wearing a black sailor cap around, so probably nobody was surprised by my new hat.
Growing up fat, female, while dealing with depression and anxiety in a sometimes oppressively religious home, there are a lot of ways to question who you are; there are a lot of ways to feel like your body isn’t your own. The diet industry, the patriarchy, the church, everyone lays claim to your body. When you’re 13, with big boobs, and adult men catcall you, it’s your own body you blame. If you live your life desperately trying to change your body while it seems to only do what it wants, you don’t feel like you’re in charge. Hearing from puberty that your body belongs to your future husband. Knowing that just by leaving the house, I’m inviting commentary from the public. I’ve done decades worth of harm to myself mentally, physically and emotionally by letting other people tell me what to do with what’s mine.
I have super sensitive underarms. Regular deodorant+shaving gives me gross pit zits, every natural deodorant I’ve used+shaving ends up burning my skin. These issues hurt, but I shaved anyways until I had the realization that I didn’t have to do anything to my body that was painful just because it was expected. If I didn’t care about the hair, why should I keep hurting myself? For other people? Other people can suck a million.
I took some control by letting my body do what it does naturally.
This is me. This is my body. This is what it does, and it makes me happy.
It scared me more to show you guys my upper arm fat.
I can’t believe how freeing it is. It seems so stupid and small, but seizing that tiny bit of myself back from the world was exhilarating. That FUCK YOU makes me feel good every day. I start a revolution for myself every time I lift my arms over my head in public. I see people look, and it makes me feel proud and defiant. I haven’t felt so punk in years. I’ve started peace talks with myself here in my unshaven underarms. A small piece of neutral territory, where there has never been any before. My pits are Switzerland.
My body is the one thing I had when I came into this world, it’s the one thing I’ll take through my whole life, it’s mine. I share it with my husband, I share it with the world, but ultimately it belongs to me. I’m trying so hard to be beautiful on my own terms. My terms say my eyebrows are perfectly shaped, but my pits grow free. Take it or kick rocks.
Here’s the picture of me they’ll use on my “Monsters of Feminism” postage stamp.