It was in the summer of 2012 that I saw my body change, I saw it in the bathroom, where I’d undress and step into the shower.
And then I’d squeeze some shower on my hands and run them across my body, to lather and to clean, and that is when I felt something alien on my body.
Why on my on my armpits and down there I thought
The colour of the curtains had changed from nothing all, to blackish brown hair.
I was then given a razor and asked to shave it off because I am a girl and girls do that.
I have shaved my body hair over four hundred and fifteen times in several showers.
I started shaving when I was in the seventh grade.
A girl told me that I should and I didn’t want to but she was only the first.
The second one I laughed, the third almost convinced me to wax my entire body. And the fourth didn’t even have to speak, she just looked at me with a sigh of disgust like I was some dirty, uncouth, barbarian.
I started shaving even before I knew how to drive.
I’ve shaved my body hair over four hundred and fifteen times till today and not once have I done it for myself.
My legs and hands yes, to feel silky smooth when I touch them but my pubic hair- never.
Always to impress, always because of the fear of swimming and getting mocked and because of the fear of ending up without a husband and dying alone.
But I stopped shaving when I was in the ninth grade and it wasn’t the boys who smirked, who bothered me, but my feminist friends laughed and teased me every time I wore tank tops, and the other women who sighed in disgust every time I lifted my arms although I’d spent so many years trimming myself to be sexy, to be someone else and this made me wonder what about my hairy body was so disgusting which had made all these women’s hands want to wax me.
Was it because I wasn’t being a woman the right way?
Was it because the word woman signified a hairless being?
I was twelve when my mother told me that I was now a woman.
That was when the colour of the curtains turned red and I didn’t know what to do. I was scared and terrified. Blood was flowing out of my body.
My heart was racing. My stomach hurt like it was being punched my little fists within. My head hurt.
I wanted to cry.
And I didn’t know what periods meant because until then periods were only every teacher’s class in school.
Periods now meant blood and not the duration of a class.
Was I too young for this pain?
Has pain ever seen age?
I didn’t know.
But there I was a woman.
And to think of myself as a woman has been the most terrifying thing.
It took me more than just sometime to recognise it for the medal of honour that it is.
Because it meant that I had survived.
That everything that had tried to kill me had failed.
It signified strength.
But then why aren’t we all called women from the very beginning because to be born with an XX chromosome is itself an achievement?