an electric razor from cvs with pastel-colored flowers on it in one hand. a hot pink bottle of shaving cream that smelled like berries in the other. the 90-degree angle of my leg, propped up on the ledge of my parents’ bathtub. my nine-year old hand shakily trailing the blade around my calves with religious attention, finding something in the shame i couldn’t find in a Christian holiday or prayer in an unknown language. rinsing the bathtub after and using a towel to clean up the blood. mom thought i was too young to start shaving but i begged and pleaded until she gave in, i didn’t give up as easily as an elementary schooler. i told her that my best friend was and that the girls on tv and in magazines were. i wanted to be like them. i wanted to be older. i wanted to be pretty. i thought in order to be either, i had to lose something. this felt like a good place to start.
for nine years after, i performed the same ritual every time i showered—well almost the same. i moved quicker and more carelessly as i grew up, my legs were permanently adorned with bumps and missed spots. when i got to college, i began to forget why i even started in the first place. it didn’t make me feel older or prettier, it just felt like a waste. of time. of money. of effort and energy. so i threw out the razors and shaving cream, stashed them away with the other things i lost in my adolescence. now, i let the hair on my legs grow back and wash shame down the drain instead. i wait for my innocence to return. this feels like a good place to start.
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