Tag Archives: mindfulness

Wordless Wednesday–  Untucked 

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I’m a Feminist AND I Shave– Get Over It

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Lately I’ve been subjected to a glut of posts on social media about the social convention of shaving for women, and why it is holding us back as feminists.

If you haven’t seen these posts, Google it.  It is a thing.

There seems to be a general consensus that if you are a woman AND you shave, then you are allowing “the Man” to hold you hostage to misogynistic standards of beauty to which we have been systematically and habitually brain washed since childhood.

Apparently, because there are not any more important things going on in the world, like whether or not a flaming narcissist with a general disregard for human rights takes the throne of the free world, a conversation about the bodily hair of women has been started.  Feminists have been called to arms over the fact that the beauty industry has duped us lady folk into believing it is more esthetically pleasing to have shiny, hair free flesh.

My Hairy Feminist Sisters, I salute you, but. . .

Here’s the thing:

People need to shut the eff up about the fact that women shave their arm pits, legs, and/or lady bits.  I respect your right to be hairy, but my preference for a sleek physique does not make me less of a woman, feminist, or a crunchy-tree-hugging-hippie.

I get that people are just trying to stick up for women’s rights, and I am seriously not mocking anyone who choses not to shave.  I also understand that there are biological reasons we have fur, yadda, yadda, yadda.  But as with everything else directed at us women (probably including this post), this advocacy for pubic hair comes across as judgmental, at least to me.

I espouse this rant as someone who has done both- been hairy and clean shaven.  At one point in my life I chose not to shave, not because of any political agenda, but because I was curious about how it would feel and what it would look like.  It was cool.

Actually it wasn’t cool, it was warm, cuz you know, extra hair.  But you get what I’m saying.

My body hair at one point prompted my brother to tell me he could lose his car keys in my leg fur.  Others made jokes about having Jerry Garcia in a headlock.  One guy I dated at the time told me he loved it and found my arm pit hair incredibly arousing because it resembled two additional vaginas.  (???  Men.  AmIright?)

I took all of this feedback with a grain of proverbial salt because I was content with myself, in my own bushy skin.

Over the years, I’ve just realized I prefer to be clean shaven.  I don’t spend a great deal of time shaving, and don’t spend a lot of money on shaving products.  My hair is light and fair and does not need frequent pruning to begin with, not that I should even feel compelled to justify any of this to anyone.

But lately in the shower, when I reach for my pink lady razor, I’ve been feeling a twinge of discomfort, like I’m doing something wrong or embarrassing to womenkind.

Well, no more shall I feel less than for shaving.

Look, I’m still a granola and animal-right’s loving hippie peace freak.  I still do all sorts of crunchy things.  I wash my face with organic jojoba oil.  I practice meditation and take daily walks to “ground myself.” I try to be mindful. I voted for Bernie in the primary.  I purchase cruelty free beauty supplies.  I breastfed my daughter until she was four years old.

I am also a feminist who stands staunchly for women’s right to choice, freedom, and equality.

And yeah, I shave.  I buy pink razors and shaving cream that smells like raspberries.  I do.

I don’t do it for my husband or society (although 20 years ago when I graduated from college and dutifully read “What Color is Your Parachute” it was the general recommendation to shave up before an interview and so far this advice has worked pretty well for me).

I shave because I find it pleasing to my own esthetic, and because it is my right and my choice to do so, just as it is someone else’s right to grow their armpit hair and dye it rainbow colors (I kid you not.  Google it.  It’s a thing.)

Again, I have no problem whatsoever with women who feel more comfortable al natural. What I take issue with is the judgement that comes along with these posts that if we do shave we are not as good at being women and feminists.

Don’t we face enough judgement and vitriol for our every move as women and mother’s?  I know, as a working mom, I never feel like I am doing anything right, let alone living up to the grand and splendid tenet of feminism that Yes! We can have it ALL.

Please.  I beg of you.  Let me shave in peace.

I’d like to leave you with some lyrics from my OG feminist troubadour, Ani Difranco’s song “Little Plastic Castle”:

People talk about my image like I come in two dimensions

Like lipstick is a sign of my declining mind,

Like what I happen to be wearing the day that someone takes a picture

Is my new statement for all of womankind.

I wish they cold see us now, in rubber bras and leather shorts

Like some ridiculous new team uniform

For some ridiculous new sport

Quick someone call the girl police

And file a report.  

I dunno if Ms. Difranco shaves, or not.  But she got that one right on the nose.

Momaste to all of you women and moms out there who are working hard at whatever it is you do.  Take a minute to accept, appreciate and love yourself just the way you are.  You’re fabulous and I’m so happy you’re here.  The mom and woman in me bows to the mom and woman in you.

The Life On His Back

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He hunches down the city street,
bent over in the sumer heat
by the weight of a green, ripstop bag, about the size and weight of my
nine year old child.
Gait awkward, hair gray,
skin creased and clothes unclean.
I gaze at him from the haven of my car, where I am stopped in traffic,
and realize that’s his life
on his back.

A light changes, and
I drive on, annoyed that
I feel but do not feel
that weight.

Why Does Your Birthday Make Me Want to Cry?

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 Dearest Jack,


Tomorrow you turn nine.

I’ve often described your birthday as a national holiday in the country of motherhood, because it feels huge and spectacular.

The story of your birth is like a legend to me. I tell it often, and although it may bore others after the 47th time, it is always magical to me. I remember how it felt to walk the neighborhood with amniotic fluid dripping down my legs, surprised at how it didn’t stop flowing. It was the first of many surprises motherhood would bring my way.

Tonight, on the eve of your birthday, I told you about how when a mama is pregnant, the baby floats in a sack of waters, and how sometimes when the waters break, it means baby is on the way.

“That’s so weird sounding,” you said.  “Water breaking.” You walked off to play legos, unimpressed.

I labored for 22 hours with you. Most of it was very peaceful. Since my contractions didn’t start on their own after my water broke (an expression which forever after will sound weird to me), I had to be induced. The artificial chemicals caused me a lot of pain. I was tired and I could tell people started to worry that I would end up with a C-Section (that’s another lesson for another day).  I begged for an epidural, and within an hour of getting it, was fully dilated and ready to push you out.

I pushed for a little over two hours. It was two of the most focused, intense hours of my life.  It seemed like just minutes.  It seemed like I was deep inside of my own body, with you, helping you to find your way out of me.

You came out squished, with your head elongated and cone-shaped from being in my birth canal for so long, but as I grabbed you, snatched you to my chest, I sobbed, “He’s so beautiful,” over and over and over.

I couldn’t imagine ever feeling anything other than mystical love and adoration of you.

I couldn’t imagine that I would be so tired and so hopelessly depressed with post partum hormones that I would want to leave you on the steps of the church across the street, or sell you on the internet.  I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to leave you at daycare when I went back to work, how I cried until my face looked deformed, how I felt like an incomplete person to be apart from you.

I couldn’t imagine how you would test every nerve in my psyche with your strong will and fierce independence.  I couldn’t imagine how you would make me swell with laughter and pride when you made your first smile, took your first steps, or made your first jokes.

Nothing could have prepared me for your otherworldly wisdom, your past life regressions, and your fiery temper.  No one could have warned me how scary it would be and how much I would worry about your heart and soul.

I had no clue you would become so tall so quickly.  That you would be a brown belt in karate.  That you would be fascinated by science.  That you would be such a picky eater.  That you would be so incredibly sensitive.

I had no clue how much you would be like me, and how much that would challenge and frighten me every day.

I had not an inkling how hard it would be to be a mom, to be YOUR mom, to juggle everything we would both need and want.

You came to the bare skin of my chest that August night wired with your own personality, your unique intensity, your distinct weight and volume in the universe.  I’ve tried to shape and help you, and I always will.  But I have also learned to respect that you are your own.  For as much as I will always love you, you do not belong to me.  And maybe that is the scariest part of being a mom.

Before bed tonight, I hugged you close, felt the solidity of you in my arms.  I didn’t tell you that a part of me wanted to cry, wanted to go out and shake all the bats from the trees in the summer night with my wailing.  I just held you and patted you and felt how different and new you feel in my arms as you grow.

And I think that’s the thing.

I think that’s the part that makes me want to cry–  every time I embrace you, you are a new person and it is like the first time I ever clutched you to my breast, weeping for your beauty.  It’s a mixture of joy and sorrow that is every bit as strange and individual as you are, my son.

So here’s to your ninth birthday.  The last year you will spend in single digits.  Here’s to hugs and legos, starbursts and peanut butter sandwiches.  Here’s to Doritos and learning to canoe, swimming with friends and Harry Potter.

Here’s to you.  Here’s to you and me, even on days when it is kind of hard and when we both feel frustrated and scared.

Happy birthday, Sunny Boy.

I love you,

Mama.