Body hair’s lack of space in society

My eyelashes are easily my favorite thing about my physical appearance. They are longer and thicker than some of the fake eyelashes that I’ve seen in drugstores, they never need any mascara, and they require literally zero maintenance to look as gorgeous as they do. However, when anyone expresses any jealousy or desire to have similar lashes, I always remind them that there’s a big trade off: intense body hair. It makes sense logically – if the hair on my eyelids is long and thick, so is the hair everywhere else. While I’ll always be thankful that I can give a great butterfly kiss, the other consequences of having lots of body hair have been nothing less than challenging and often debilitating. 

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My parents both have naturally dark hair, so it was no surprise to anyone when I was born with a full head of hair. I was very subjectively the cutest baby that had ever walked the earth, but when the hair started growing on my arms, legs, and pretty much everywhere else, I was quickly made aware that something was “wrong” with me. 

My elementary school bus bullies tormented me for my body hair, labeling me a gorilla and taunting me with gorilla sounds day in and day out. I knew that there were 2 or 3 other girls in my grade in elementary school that also had a bit of body hair, but they didn’t experience any of the same bullying because they were ~popular~. It was the most isolating experience my little ten-year-old self could fathom. 

My parents saw how much this destroyed me and helped me try to accept this part of myself. This was a difficult feat for them, as I’ve been stubborn and impossible to convince since day one. Plus, if the school bus bullies zeroed in on it so much, it had to matter, right? 

My mom and dad thus looked into the additional approach of helping me find ways to minimize this hair. They invested more money than I can even imagine into monthly laser hair removal treatments. My mom helped me on a biweekly basis to apply bleach to the hair on my arms, stomach, and chest (yes, girls can grow hair there). Lasers and bleaching were extremely painful, and they honestly didn’t help too much in getting rid of the hair long term. 

I tried to wear T-shirts into the ocean because I was insecure about the hair in every bikini area ever. I eventually worked my way up to tankinis and bikinis, but I still spent hours upon hours trying to pluck, shave, Nair, bleach, or laser the hair away before I dared to go to the beach. 

I didn’t go as far as I could have with high school boyfriends because I didn’t want them to see hair in places that girls were supposed to be super smooth in. 

Even years after the bullies subsided and I went to college feeling like the most confident version of myself, I still maintained my weekly hair removal routines, occasional laser appointments, and frequent crying sessions anytime someone mentioned how much arm hair I had. 

While I think I’ve gotten to a point where this insecurity doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to, there are still moments when it drives me absolutely insane. A few days before this past semester ended, I saw someone at my school post on social media about being insecure about their body hair. I didn’t know this person too well, but I still felt like I should reach out and offer the advice they said they were seeking. I later found out that they posted that message during a drinking game as a dare. While I laughed it off in the moment, this made me feel like absolute dog shit. To know that I felt so genuinely bad for this person for feeling the same insecurity that I’ve felt my whole life, only to find out it was all a mindless joke for them, was awful. While I really don’t hold any animosity toward this specific person, I do hold a lot of animosity toward the society that made this person feel like that was okay to post. 

Our society has made immense strides toward body positivity, but this is an area that is falling way behind. Most morally decent people would never make a post like that if it had to do with weight insecurity, but for whatever reason, people still think body hair is okay to joke about. 

There is no room in society for the girl who has PCOS or Hirsutism who has to shave her beard every day to feel like she fits the feminine mold. There is no place in society for the hairy girl who wants to experience her hot girl summer but doesn’t have the time or mental energy to do a full body hair removal routine before going on a date. There is no room for girls who shave their legs because they simply want to but don’t shave their arms because they simply don’t want to. 

If someone has grown out body hair, they’re automatically assumed to be a radical who is trying to fight against the patriarchy. While I completely respect the people who are fighting the fight that way, some of us just want to exist without having our body hair mean anything deep. That group is who I want to dedicate this post to: The girls who have fought for so long to fit the feminine, hairless expectation and are just tired of giving a fuck. The girls who shave where/when they want to. The girls who have worked hard to love, or at the very least, accept, their hairy and simultaneously beautiful selves. You don’t owe the world smooth legs, but you also don’t owe the world a political statement about your unshaved legs. You deserve to exist and not worry about shaving when you’re running late one day solely so that a Karen doesn’t look at you with judgment. 

I hope that one day, body hair is not viewed as something worth loving or hating, but instead something that just exists. There are so many bigger and more consequential issues in the sphere of bodily autonomy right now than what a girl decides to do with her hair follicles, but I nonetheless feel compelled to encourage this conversation. I don’t want another girl to shy away from the ocean in fear of having her tummy hair exposed. You’re meant to feel the ocean waves with every part of your body – a body that is beautiful not in spite of having hair, not because it has hair, but simply in addition to having hair. 

Why Unpaid Internships Shouldn’t be Overlooked

The search for summer internships this year was anything but easy. Last year, I was lucky enough to be hired for the only internship I applied for, and it just so happened that it was my dream position. This year, however, my luck very much shifted. Like many college students, I applied to more positions than I can remember and didn’t hear back from 90% of them. It was extremely frustrating to spend hours and hours researching different organizations, writing countless cover letters, and not knowing when/if there was an end in sight to the search. By the beginning of May, I gave up and became set on working at a fast food restaurant instead to make some extra spending money. It wasn’t the ideal outcome, but I became more content with the idea of it as the days passed by. I was thus very pleasantly surprised when I got an email from the customer service representative at the Pennsylvania Prison Society, explaining that my email somehow went to their spam folder and that they were still looking to fill some internship positions. I very much felt conflicted after reading this email – do I write yet another cover letter that they very likely won’t read? Do I pour a bunch of effort into this application when I’ve already accepted the fact that an internship is likely not in the cards for me this year? Why do I even want an internship so badly – Is it experience that I genuinely want to gain, or is it the toxic work culture that begins building the moment you step into college?  What’s the point of wasting all that time when I could be studying for finals or spending some last-minute quality time with my friends as the semester winds down? At the end of the day though, I decided to bite the bullet and send in that last application. The more I researched the organization and its mission to help the incarcerated and fight for just prison reform, I knew this was a group I would genuinely enjoy volunteering my time to. 

I interviewed with the representative the next day, and the interview went extremely well. When I got hired a few days later, I felt a real sense of peace about the upcoming few months. I knew the once-a-week commute to the Philly office would be a challenge at first, as I had never walked the Philly streets alone before. I also knew I wouldn’t be earning anything, as the organization is a non-profit and cannot offer compensation. Most importantly, I knew that committing to a full-time position for the very first time would require a huge learning curve. Nonetheless, I had a gut feeling that all of those challenges would be worth it, and I was very much correct. 

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No Time to Mull

For weeks now, I have been looking forward to this moment. I am sitting in the window seat on my train home to Pennsylvania, listening to Allen stone, and doing one of my favorite things in the world: writing. Most people would think of a 7-hour trip home as exhausting and boring, but for me, these next 7 hours are going to be extremely therapeutic.

During my past month and a half at William and Mary, I haven’t had much time to write. Any free minute I got was spent either catching up on Dancing with the Stars or playing Heads Up with my hallmates, and I wasn’t able to dedicate a solid chunk of time to writing. I’m happy I was present in those moments, but holy moly, I really missed the feeling of spilling my heart out via keyboard.

While I’d love to outline all the crazy, amazing experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks, I’d rather save those stories for my in-person interactions with everyone from home. The one point I want to focus this post on is a theme that has been really prevalent in my past few weeks, and one that has made me have a bit of a paradigm shift: There isn’t enough time in college to mull over your emotions, and I can’t tell if that’s super healthy or super unhealthy.

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How to Have the Best Senior Year Possible

Seniors, seniors, seniors. You have quite the year ahead of you. Finishing up your SAT’s, sending in those college applications, embarking on that fun senior trip (if your school is lucky enough  to give you one), getting to slack off after AP exams. It’s a crazy year to say the least. Some say it’s the best year of high school, others say it doesn’t live up to the hype. That’s for you to figure out…but as I sit here waiting to move into my college dorm in just 4 short days, I figured I’d let you rising seniors in on some pieces of advice that I wish I heard as I prepared for year 12 of my education.

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My American Girl Doll

Like most girls, I grew out of my American Girl Doll phase at around age 10, and after that, my sweet little Rebecca Rubin had little purpose. However, one summer night a few years ago, I decided I would play with her once more. I began to rummage through her clothes basket and found all the outfits that I was once so obsessed with. I dressed her up in all of these outfits that night. Every single one.  I tried a bunch of different hairstyles on her, and I read her some of the books that I “hand-made” for her back in the day. That night made me feel like a kid again, and now I have one of those nights at least once a year.

It’s a little tradition between Rebecca and I, and it’s usually something I do solely to feel like a kid again. Last night, however, honoring this tradition meant a little more than just jumping back into childhood for the night. Last night I realized how crucial she was to my growth all those years back.

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My Pre-Graduation Ramblings

Image result for the graduate

In 24 hours, it’ll all be over. I will never write a DBQ again. I will never check the Home Access Center again. I will never make my daily walk from the loser lot to Mr. Murphy’s classroom for first period again. It’ll all be over, and I don’t know how I feel.

When I thought about graduation day in the past, I assumed I would be either very thrilled or super upset about leaving high school and moving forward. However, all I feel now is an uneasy feeling in my chest that I cannot fully put into words.

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Thanks, 2018

There’s a song called “This Will Be My Year” by Train. It’s about having hope that the upcoming year will be the year that changes everything for the better. Pat Monahan, the lead singer, explains through song that even after many failed attempts, he still has hope every new year. By the end of the song, Monahan realizes that every year has its own struggles, but with his wife by his side, he can tackle the challenges the years ahead will inevitably throw his way.

Coming into 2018, I was struggling a lot. I was in the midst of my accutane cycle, and even though my skin was slowly starting to get better, I was extremely insecure about it. I was also getting over a really tough breakup. My foot was still injured, so couldn’t run to cope with these struggles, and that was the cherry on top of the very crappy pie. I didn’t have much hope for 2018 because 2017 kicked my butt that badly. All I wanted was a year of healing, but I didn’t think it was possible.

Luckily, 2018 was my year. It was far from perfect, and I definitely didn’t meet my future spouse like the Train singer did, but it was the most transformative year of my life thus far.

 

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Revel in the Stress

For as long as I could remember, the first few weeks of school have been full of pure anxiety. Every year I have an unshakable fear that I’m going to fail all my classes and that I’m not going to have anyone to talk to. Every year, I end up proving myself wrong. My grades end up perfectly fine, and I make some friends in each class. Still, this fear haunts me every time a new school year starts.

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