The Body Love Reflex

I think it’s about time that I share another vaguely embarrassing story with you!

Last week, I took a moment to indulge in my latest self care obsession — mani/pedis. There’s something so lovely and pleasantly mindless about picking out a nail polish color, dunking your feet in warm water, and watching the Food Network out of the corner of your eye with a bunch of your neighbors.

Image From A 1936 Issue of Cosmo (Seriously!)

The woman who usually does my nails, Anne, is Korean and doesn’t speak all that much English, so most of our exchanges are of the “nice color!” and “it’s hot out” variety. But the last time I went, as she was massaging lotion into my hands, some of the lotion got on my arm, accentuating my arm hair. So she pointed at my arms and asked, “Wax arms?”

Now admittedly, even in my worst moments of negative body image, the hair on my arms wasn’t really a focus. Though I distinctly remember a time in my teens when I was worried about my arm hair. I even remember being a 14-year-old camp counselor, sitting in a circle with other female camp counselors and distractedly noticing the color and volume of their arm hair. I determined in that moment that while I had more arm hair than most girls, that it wasn’t enough to really be noticeable. Back then, I had bigger body hatred fish to fry, like my overall fatness. If I could just get thinner, I thought back then, body hair stuff would be less important.

Even so, twenty years later, I was rather excited and a little surprised by the words that rolled out of my mouth when Anne threw out the “wax arms?” question. I simply said, “No, thanks. I know my arms are a little hairy, but they’re mine and like them.”

They’re mine and I like them? It was amazing to hear myself say that.

Most of the time body acceptance is such an internal game, a practice of dealing with your inner critic, changing your inner dialogue, working through painful thoughts and feelings. It takes a lot of work to go from the reflex of body hatred and criticism to body love and acceptance. So it felt so good to realize that body love is a reflex for me, and one that I can really express and share with the outside world.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had your body love reflexes kick into gear?

Here are just a few blog posts to get your body love muscles flexing.

And, if you want support to strengthen your body love reflexes, amp up your attraction factor, and practice love and dating from a place of self love? If this sounds like fun, check out my new 21-day Body Love Makeover Attraction Program and I’ll see you in class!

4 replies on “The Body Love Reflex”

I knew a girl in high school and another girl in college who removed their arm hair using various depilatory methods. To be honest, it never really occurred to me that this was something many people did, and now that I think about it, I can’t remember a time when I’ve even noticed another woman’s arm hair. I guess it just goes to show the extent to which our body image issues are usually based far more on what we perceive others to be thinking about us, rather than what they’re actually thinking.

For me, body image is an on-going struggle. There are some things that I love and accept about my body, and there are others that cause me no end of difficulty on a regular basis. I wonder what it feels like to be entirely comfortable in your skin, and if I’ll ever get to that point.

I think I am pretty good at the body acceptance thing, but body hair is my one issue that is so deeply ingrained I don’t think I will ever come to terms with it. My biological father has a full back of hair and my mom is super hairy, too, so there was no hope for me, genetics-wise. I am really, really hairy. All the nicknames my brothers gave me as a kid managed to work “hairy” in somehow, as well. I have become a pro at waxing myself, and I do my arms, legs, eyebrows, etc., on my own. Seriously though, I look like Wolverine if I don’t do this.

However, body acceptance-wise, I have gained a substantial amount of weight and 2-3 clothing sizes over the past few years, and while it has taken a little time to adjust, my new ass is so phenomenal that I am now stoked with the overall effect. I could seriously stare at my booty for hours.

I always knew I was hairy (I vividly remember starting to grow armpit hair at age eight and being really pissed about it), and I was on the bus in fifth or sixth grade when some boy tapped my shoulder and told me that another boy said to tell me that my forearms were really hairy. I said, “Okay,” and was really pleased to find that I didn’t give a shit. I went on to have and still have lots of body images issues and struggles, but I’m still kind of impressed with twelve-year-old me for genuinely not caring that some boy felt the need to tell me that my arms were hairy.

I have hairy arms as well. The hair used to be much darker, but as I am getting older it is starting to lighten. It is luxurious and soft, so it isn’t terrible. It used to bug the hell out of me, but then I accidentally Naired half of one arm. That was way worse than having hair. It looked weird and felt even weirder.

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