It's Who I Am

I was six years old when I got on the school bus

I wore my purple and white dress with a woven rose

in the middle of my chest. My velcro sandals were newly

white. Mom braided my hair back. I sat across

from a boy who stared at me,

“you have monkey arms,”

he said.

I never knew having that much hair on

my body was different. I cried on the first day of

kindergarten. When I got home I asked my mom,

“Do I look like a monkey?”

It made sense. I was brown and hairy. But

my mom said it was completely normal to have

hair on my body. It didn’t feel normal to me. All of

the other girls had light skin and blonde hair. Almost

none on their arms. I was different. I was abnormal.

In third grade, it was summertime. We were out at

recess. I wore a white tank top with fireworks on it.

A group of boys and girls were playing tag. A boy was

chasing me and grabbed my arm. He snapped away from

me in disgust.

“Your arms are so hairy!

You should just shave them,”

he said.

I cried in the middle of the playground. My teacher asked

me if I was okay.

“I’m ugly because I have hairy arms!”

I said.

My teacher showed me her arms her sunkissed,

white skin. And her few strands of blonde hair that

sat on her arms

“Look I have hair on my arms too! It’s okay,”

she said.

It wasn’t okay though. Her hair was light and

pretty. Mine was dark and unattractive. I stopped

playing with them at recess. And I never wore

short sleeves again.

“Marie, aren’t you hot?”

my teachers would ask.

I would wear sweatshirts in the hot weather and

sweat in my insecurities. I chose to sweat stains into my

clothes so I wouldn’t be picked on for my body.

“I’m fine!”

I panted in reply.

In middle school, I finally gave them what they wanted.

I was 13 when I put Nair on my arms in my mom’s bathroom.

all of the flaws attached to me vanished with one wipe of a

warm washcloth. I felt happier?? I felt normal. I was so

excited that I picked out my outfit for school. A short sleeve

v-neck. It was light blue. My mom saw what I had done,

“Marie you were always beautiful,”

she said.

My mom always told me I was. But now the people who

made fun of me would finally think the same way.

I walked into school with so much pride. It’s not like

anyone noticed right away. But I was eager for someone

to ask. A boy in homeroom who sat behind me called my

name. I turned at him. He and his friends were already

laughing.

“You shaved your arms? You’re like bald,”

he said.

I turned back and covered my arms. I wish I had brought my jacket.

What the hell did people want from me? I got made fun

of for being hairy now for not being hairy? I continued

to shave my arms in high school. When people asked why

I did it I would say,

“It’s for sports. It helps me be aerodynamic.”

Not that it actually did. But it got people to shut up. Then I was

finally leaving the small hell that high school was. I was going

somewhere where no one knew who I was or cared what I looked

like. In fact, there were more girls like me. I met my close friend

who was brown and hairy like me. I grew my hair back on my arms.

It came in beautifully. I no longer cared if people stared at them.

I still get asked why I have so much hair on my arms. But I

just let them know,

“It’s who I am. And if you have a problem with it,

You can kindly fuck off.”

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