This Metaphor Revolves Around Leg Hair

I don’t shave my legs. It’s not that I have translucent leg hair that serves only to give my calves an extra glow. I have loads of dark brown hair. But in the last couple years I’ve cared less and less about shaving, even during the summer. That’s not to say I’m giving up on myself or letting myself go or throwing in the towel or whatever people say. I’m quite fashionable. Here I am in bespoke Jeff Boothe jeans. 

Evelyn sits on a blue couch looking at the camera with her legs in the air to show off jeans that have wild paint splatters and print and brush strokes all over them. She holds a pillow that says "LOVE," and wears reading glasses. A painting by artist Jeff Boothe that is an abstract deep blue, teal, and black whale head kind of shape is on her left.
Jeff Boothe pants and painting: double bonus points.

Shaving and level-of-fashion-sense and sexiness are not tied together. I have lots of other things I want to do besides shave my legs. Plus I want to save that extra shower water for the hot bath I take almost every night that does much more for my well being. 

But the other night I felt like I wanted to start fresh in 2021 and shave my legs. So I got out my husband’s electric razor. Is that what it’s called? Let’s call it the Fuzz Remover. It makes a satisfying ZHUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ noise. Right leg, ZHUZZZZZZZZZZ, done. Left leg, going great. Then ZHUZZ UZZZ UZZ… It started slowing down. The Fuzz Remover was like, “Lady, this is toooo much for me! You have so much leg hair. I just. UZZ. can’t. UZ. handle. Z. it.” 

And it died. 

And I was left with a dark brown mohawk and some ankle patches down my left leg. I really willed the Fuzz Remover to keep going and it gave a valiant effort. But it died. And now I’m left with a really weird coronavirus leg styling. 

And it got me thinking. This is very much like my parenting. 

I’m a very good parent. I also (and in a not mutually exclusive kind of way) have a LOT of parenting challenges, because parenting is quite difficult. And I find myself very broken up about it sometimes. Many times. 

As a writer I focus a lot on the part of parenting where the energy runs out and it’s a mess. That’s what I share with you. It’s like we’re friends walking down the street and I pull up my pant leg in public and show you my weird mohawk leg hair. 

A lot of people like to stay covered in public in winter. They like to wear clothes that make them look good, and even add makeup. (As do I, but we’re in a metaphor about leg hair here.) It makes a lot of sense to put on mostly the great stuff and share the socially acceptable stuff.  

Sort of early on in parenting I realized I was a real mixed bag. And I also now realize that sometimes people think I’m a mess, kind of like it’s a static thing. Like the original Voodoo Donut is on 2nd and Ash. It’s a thing. Google will tell you. But unlike that fun and obvious fact about donuts, I’m more of a dynamic ball of neon, glittery slime that’s rarely in the same place. 

So I guess this is a manifest eleven years down the road. I post a lot of look-behind-the-curtain content because not everyone feels comfortable sharing the most anxiety-producing and personal and embarrassing parts of parenting, but a lot of people feel solidarity. The parenting anger and the exhaustion and the screaming into the void or in the house, the need to get help and deal with your mental health like it’s about to knock you out cold if you don’t. I don’t write about everything. I protect myself in some places. But I do lift up my pant leg quite a bit.

I very seldom desire advice. I want to be seen and I want you to feel comfort and companionship because of it. I realize that the highlight reels of social media aren’t the full picture of anyone’s parenting, but that it’s important to be able to put out the beautiful and proud moments because we need those badges of honor because the work is so hard. So I (and plenty of other writers, too) am here to overshare, possibly so that you don’t have to, and often so that I can be heard.

And I apologize if I’ve not reacted great when you’ve shared something delightful that happened in your parenting. Sometimes I haven’t seen your challenges so it makes it hard for me to be rah-rah about your awesomeness. But that’s me and my deal.

For those of you whom I’ve interacted with over DMs, I love you, and I treasure our conversations. To my commenters, I adore you. You fill me with warm fuzzies. And to all of you who share about your own struggles in ways that are somewhat public and very vulnerable, you kick some serious ass.

Jeff Boothe is an amazing Portland artist. I am in love with how he is so joyful with color and movement and I’m so lucky to have two pairs of his pants (although you have GOT to see his paintings). Follow him on Instagram. DM him about paintings and clothes that cover up your leg hair. xoxo

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