Next week I'm heading to LA (!) to visit a great friend from my past that I haven't seen in many, many years. It's the first time I've been on a cross country flight in years and it reminded me of my first long flight—a class trip to London and Paris, when I was 14 (thanks mom and dad). Being an adolescent who didn't talk to anyone about anything related to my body, I thought this would be a great time to shave my legs. For the first time. The morning of my flight I remember sitting on the edge of my bathtub, with one of my mom's pink razors, and the show attachment unhooked so I could rinse off the debris. I didn't know I was supposed to use shaving cream, or soap, or moisturizer when I was done. I shaved bare, wet skin with a virgin razor and then put on a pair of never born worn Levis.
That plane ride was on of the most excruciating experiences of my life. My legs were rubbed raw, stiff denim chafing against every inch, from knee to ankle. I went to the bathroom and doused them with cold water, I tried gently rubbing in some soap, as if it would magically turn into shea butter (not that there was shea butter back then). The plane ride alone was six plus hours cycling from discomfort through outright agony. By the time we got our backs, made it to the airport, and I was able to ever so slowly ease my pants down, my legs looked like they had been severely sunburnt. Small blisters were forming all over and that first night I could barely sleep. I never told anyone—I was too embarrassed by my lack of knowledge at something that should have been so basic.
Reminds me of how I felt about my period, back then, and for many, many years. Like I should have just known things (like how to use a tampons, how often to change a pad, what to do when there was a leak) but was too ashamed to ask anyone.