I was nine years old when thick black hair sprouted from my underarms.
It formed ringlets, and the down on my arms darkened.
One hand on the barre and one curved gracefully into the air,
My sleeveless leotard bared all.
Bianca, her own peach fuzz shining silver,
Only visible in sunlight, and glowing with Aryan pride,
Covered her mouth and blushed.
“Y-you forgot to shave,” she stammers.
No, I didn’t.
I’m thirteen and snapping on my swim cap,
Practising my backstroke before I dive in.
Why would I remember, now of all times,
To keep my hands glued to my side
When that boy over there
Looks exactly the same
And he doesn’t need to hide?
This poem is about body hair, but I wanted to capture an aspect of my identity within that which is very different from social norms. I’ve never really felt affected by a kind of disgust for my own body that many people (women especially) seem to take for granted as what they ‘should’ feel.
This is a fairly benign example, but sometimes it is more dramatic. I have no shame or feeling of disgust around my period and period blood, or discharge. I’m not disgusted by my sweat – I was working hard. I don’t care when my nipples are visible - I’m cold!
In my experience, this is very unusual and most people tend to feel quite ashamed or out of touch with natural processes their body has. I think this kind of anomaly in my attitude and understanding of myself has shaped my identity with respect to my gender. I feel more comfortable accepting fluctuations and just being at peace with how my body is changing and existing.