Since I am not in the shaving habit, in addition to sweating a lot all summer, I've missed out on swimming with my kids now and again. And the other night while in Pennsylvania visiting family, I was planning to sit on the deck when we all went to the hotel pool with my nieces, who live out East. We only see them once a year, and when we do, the boys have such a blast with them!
As I sat at a table keeping an eye on the kids while they played with Adam, my 10-year-old niece asked me why I wasn't getting in. I explained that I hadn't had time to shave.
She said I should get in anyways.
We chatted just a bit more as I realized that, in her youth, she was so much wiser
Heck yes, I should get in!
For one thing - we were the only people at the pool! But even if there were others later - what was the big deal?! I don't need to care if there's a societal expectation that I have hairless legs to swim. I was letting an incredibly stupid "rule" get in the way of truly enjoying my family - and the hot tub!
But more than any of that, the reason I went up to our room and put on my bathing suit was that I so rarely influence my nieces, and I would be loathe to get it so very wrong with this one chance I had. I didn't want to be an example of opting out of life because someone might think my legs weren't perfect, or because I might feel embarrassed by my lack of attention to maintaining my physical appearance. I didn't want to be another example for her of prioritizing looks - little girls get enough of that crap. I don't imagine donning my suit and climbing into the pool made a huge life-changing impression on her. But at least I minimized the negative, if subtle, impression I'd have made if I'd spent the evening watching the fun in my jeans.
|Days later - still hairy, still picking family fun over vanity.