No matter what a woman’s appearance may be, it will be used to undermine what she is saying and taken to individualize – as her personal problem – observations she makes about the beauty myth in society. ~Naomi Wolf
If you’re just joining me you might want to start at the beginning of the Adventures Off Grid series.
Appearance and self esteem are two things every woman struggles with at some point in her life. To follow along or be unique. To blend in or stand out. I never knew my friend, Nicole, of Adventures Off Grid, struggled with self-esteem. I always saw her skirt wearing self as a subtle nod to the pioneers that had gone before us or perhaps a religious declaration. One of the questions I asked her was how going off grid has affected her body.
I thought she would talk about how she’s feeling stronger, developing amazing muscle tone due to all the manual labor. But, she began sharing how her self esteem has improved . How she’s become more comfortable with her body because she doesn’t feel the pressure to look a certain way anymore.
I don’t shave. I don’t wax. I may do it once every few years but I’m just not into spending the money, time and plastic waste that comes with all that is shaving. I just don’t feel it supports our goal of leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Plus, I’m lazy. If I have the time to shave I’m either taking a detox bath or reading some paranormal romance novel I’ve downloaded to my kindle. Don’t judge me!
So, I was very surprised to hear Nic share that she’s wearing shorts. Wait…SHORTS?! I always assumed the long skirts were a religious thing. But, she said the reason she wore the skirts was because she wasn’t comfortable with people judging her body hair. She’s learned that her body is HER body. That the people that care about her aren’t judging her based on hairy legs. They’re judging her based on her knowledge and her sharing.
I know Nicole, like me, has hairy legs and arm pits. I don’t care or judge her on that. But, what I do judge Nicole on is how she’s done a great job raising her kids, how big her heart is and how much empathy it has as it breaks when a piglet is rolled on by it’s momma or a goat has a stillborn kid. I and the people that care about another person judge them on how they make one feel. Am I welcomed? Am I wanted?
After all, if you take the razor away from a nasty heifer you’re still left with a nasty heifer.
I think when our worlds are simplified and condensed down to what we need and value or see as a necessity we simply value clean clothes that last versus ones that fall apart after a few washes. And, we’re so focused on our own drive we don’t notice the labels.
I’m glad to see the strength my friend is gaining both in her body and in her own eyes. Hair doesn’t bother me but my weight does. I hope one day to truly learn to love my own body stretch marks, scars and all.
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For more on the Adventures Off Grid Series click on the links below .