• Mickie Woods

I Went To The Beach Without Shaving And This Is What It Felt Like

Updated: Mar 22

Photo by Alexandra Kacha of Bella Mae

“Women do it all the time,” I told myself. “Grow up.”

But I didn’t think I was bold enough… courageous enough.

Because those women weren’t me. And for me to actually go spend a day at the beach without shaving or waxing a single hair on my body was beyond frightening. It was something I’d never done before.

I’ve always been a very hairy person – having thick, black hair grow in unwanted places all over my body. I used to remove every single one of these hairs on my body – doing my own at-home waxes and even my own Brazilians (I know, I’m wild). But that all changed for me last winter when I tried a 90-day challenge where I didn’t shave at all for 3 whole months. It was enlightening for sure, but it was the hardest thing I’d ever done – up until now.

So here I am. I’ve found myself on vacation in Bali, one of the most beautiful and accepting places on Earth, and still I am feeling extremely insecure. While I’m getting ready for a solo day trip to the beach, I hover in front of the sink gripping a razor and contemplating this alteration of my body. As I’m standing there at war with myself, I hear the voices of other women in my head telling me about how inspiring my body confidence is to them.

I think about how seeing a woman at the beach with fully grown hair on her body might feel to a young girl navigating the social pressures of being accepted by her peers. I think about how my beauty and desirability shouldn’t be defined by the hair or lack thereof on my body.

So then I’m forced to ask myself: Am I doing this for her or me? I am pushing my own boundaries for the sake of growth and self-love? Or am I striving to be an example to other women and girls to accept their body as is? Whether the former or later, I knew this minuscule action was important.

So I throw the razor away.

Because there is nothing unsightly about a person’s natural hair growth patterns. I refuse to believe that something so insignificant as body hair will make me less worthy.

I pack my bag and I go – spending half of my time by the pool and the other half by the beach. (The pool was definitely harder because it feels like everyone is so close to you and everyone is judging your body.) I found myself holding my bag just in front of my crotch when walking. I found myself intentionally keeping my legs closer than usual, so not to expose the forest between them.

I approach an empty spot in the sand, next to a woman who appears to be inspecting my body as I get closer. After she performs her routine, conditioned body scan, we meet eyes and her eyes speak to me. But instead of sending a judgmental message, they say thank you.

Thank you for your confidence.

Thank you for defying traditional beauty standards.

Thank you for loving yourself and showing others that it is ok to love themselves.

And although I am not in the same place as you are with my own body hair, thank you for showing me the option.