The reason why I wanted to stop wearing makeup, to stop shaving the parts of my body where women are "not supposed to" have hair, was because I felt these things - that makeup and being "smooth" - had a power over me that I did not want them to have; the power of how I felt about myself. What I would wear, how I would act, how I would interact, my mood, how I would express myself, what I felt like or didn't feel like doing, were basically all dependent on how I felt my face looked and where I did or did not have hair.
So in an effort to get rid of this, to regain my power, I decided to stop wearing makeup and to stop shaving. To learn to love myself, see myself, feel, be, behave and do everything I would do with makeup and shiny shaved legs. I told myself that in doing this I was fighting inequality, rebelling against a warped norm, determined to love myself - no matter what, and no matter how uncomfortable it made me. And yes, I did reach a point where I now look at my makeup free face differently, where my hairy, haaairy legs are not as frightening to look at as they used to be - and I am truly happy about this. However though, what I was looking for - a sense a freedom - was still nowhere to be found.
So one day, as I once again stood there with a head full of thoughts about how I should be feeling about myself, questioning myself, wondering why it was so hard, why I still felt so uncomfortable, why I even was doing this (to myself) - I asked myself: What was my actual goal in this? What was my intention? And it hit me. What I was looking for, what I was striving to do, was to start feeling good about myself. To free myself from the prison of allowing how I looked to determine how I felt. To rise above all that, to become more aware, more at peace, more present, feel more joy and more love. But all I was doing was - again - spending all my time obsessing over my (now hairy) body.
I had changed one prison for another. Swapped one boyfriend for another. But I still felt the same, because I had not changed. I still thought the key to self love, the key to feeling good on the inside, would come from how I viewed the outside. But it is not so. It simply is not so. Just gain a kilo or two or ten, lose some hair, find some wrinkles or get some scars - and you'll realise: You thought you loved yourself, but it was only you liking what you saw.