A Kid Called Me Chewbacca Once

Skirts are shorter, lines for ice cream are getting longer, and school’s out — SUMMER16 is finally here.

With summer’s arrival we find ourselves, in the words of Aubrey Graham, “wearing less and going out more.” The wearing less part has always been a bit of an issue for me, however, because I’ve always been a hairy girl.

I’ve had to overcome a lot of barriers to finally see my dark, thick and curly hair as a blessing because my whole life I was told otherwise — my desire to be a blonde, blue eyed dreamboat comes from unrealistic beauty standards that are constantly perpetuated as the ultimate aspiration.

But that’s for a later blog post

Growing up, I was always bullied by mean kids who would call me “changa” or monkey, because I had more leg hair as an eight year old than most grown men. This caused me to want to start shaving and alter myself in order for kids to leave me alone. But naturally, the older I grew and the more woke I became about body politics, I realized that this bullying was just another shitty product of the patriarchy. I came to accept my leg hair, and accepting my leg hair accommodated my lazy demeanor, because honestly, shaving is such a waste of energy and time.

Mind you, I’ve only recently come to accept my leg hair. The problem with mainstream feminism (aka White feminism) is that it excludes other people’s experiences. For example, rarely does anyone talk about mustache hair (which I have by the way), chin hair, happy trails, or the fact that POC pubic hair tends to be a lot more abundant and noticeable than anyone else’s. My hair looks like black thread compared to the peach fuzz you see on most White feminists. And not that their experience is any less valid, my bone to pick is that mine isn’t included in the convo.

Thus, you can imagine how refreshing it was for me to see this Refinery29 article on body hair. It’s nice to see good art celebrating a natural part of life — hair.

So it’s summer, and I have yet to buy a 2 piece bathing suit due to my secret (not so secret now I guess) shame about my nontraditional hair. It’s a paradox because on the one hand, I’m very proud of it to where I’ll refuse to shave it, but on the other, I don’t want anyone to see it.

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself because I’m sure we all have toxic things we’ve internalized that we need to overcome. I’m sure that in the near future, you’ll catch me at the beach, chillin’ in a two piece.

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Jacky.

Jacky Linares lives in Long Beach and likes long walks in the school supply section of Target.

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