Around the age of 11, my mom got me a purple and white electric razor. This was something that I had begged her to get me for a while. All my friends had started shaving their legs and I felt like it was time for me to do the same, but because I was only 11 she was hesitant. I cherished that razor and the effort it took to shave my short, pale legs.

The new fascination only lasted about three months until I got tired of jumping out of the shower and putting on my t-shirt and underwear and standing in the bathtub to shave my legs; because for some reason, I had to do that instead of doing it in the shower. After the three months, I gave up and switched to a regular razor.

I distinctly remember my mom telling me I wasn't allowed to shave my legs until I had hair under my arms, yet when I was allowed to shave my legs she wouldn't let me shave my armpits. I guess I didn't have enough of it or she just gave in. Either way, I felt like shaving was a big step because all of my friends had been doing it for a while and I was the kid that always wore basketball shorts and a t-shirt so you could definitely see my leg hair even though it was blonde.

Several of my "friends" teased me because I was 11 and hadn't started shaving. They told me I was a freak because I started wearing a bra before all of them but I didn't shave my legs and boys wouldn't like me. Well, hate to inform them but I didn't want the boys to like me. I wanted to shave my legs so that all of my female friends would like me as much as I liked them, and hopefully in the same way.

Once I finally started shaving, all I heard was that I had to keep it up. Every female above the age of 30 in my life told me that I had to constantly shave or the hair on my body would grow back thicker and darker. Between school, homework, basketball practice, and life in general; I didn't have time to shave every single day. Any time my legs were prickly I worried that someone would say something to me about me needing to shave.

Standing in the crowded lunch line at school I was worried my leg would bump up against someone else, I was worried that my family would see me in my shorts after basketball practice and say that I need to shave. My legs that used to be the strongest thing on my body became my biggest downfall because of a stupid razor.

Unfortunately, I kept this shit up for seven more years. During the winter I didn't shave my legs because I would be wearing pants, but god forbid I go a day without shaving my armpits. Anytime I knew I would be around my family and be in shorts (because that's usually what I sleep in), I'd shave my legs. Even in the cold months, I would shave my ankles in case my socks didn't cover the hair on my legs. Do you know how much of a giant waste of time this is? In case you don't, it's the biggest waste of time ever.

I'm 19 now and I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs or my armpits. Why don't I shave? I don't care anymore. Some people in my life see this as a sign of me not caring about myself and me not taking care of myself. In fact, it's just the opposite. All throughout my 18th year of life I tried not to shave and would give up and shave because I thought about what I was told as a child. Getting to the point I'm at now was really hard for me, it has taken a lot of time and self-confidence. I'm so proud to have gotten to this point. I don't shave because I don't care about the hair on my body.

In my mind, it is unnatural to shave. The hair is on my body and it grows naturally, removing it is what isn't natural. Plus, I like having hair on my legs and under my arms. It makes me confident and happy. I don't know a single cis-woman in my life that could do it. All the men in my life don't shave their legs or their armpits, so why should I?

My new "body-posi" moment was almost taken away from me when someone in my life tried to put me down for it. Notice, I said almost taken away from me. I was asked if I was trying to "become a man" and why "I'm not happy with myself". In that moment, I've never been calmer and more at peace. I have spent the past year becoming myself while growing out my body hair, so yes I am becoming myself. If becoming myself means that to you I'm "becoming a man", then sure I guess I am.

As for me being happy with myself, I'm so damn happy that one person trying to take that away from me is so insignificant and irrelevant in my life. I still have some things in my life that I need to work on in order to be happy with my whole self, but having body hair is one of the things I'm doing to be happy with myself.

Basically, I've said all this to say that I was born a female. A female that was destined to grow hair in places that society expects women to remove. I am not going to remove that hair anymore, for society or the people in my life that think it's "gross", "wrong", "manly", or "unladylike". I'll remove the hair if I want to do so, but I don't want to.