I know there is such a thing as "mean girls" in school, but I think there should be a movie about the "nasty boys" who also accompanied my school days... And tormented my life.
These were the boys who, looking back on it, probably didn't feel very good about themselves. Although at the time, all anyone could do was believe the teasing and tormenting they caused. They picked on everyone and everything. They pointed out the obvious - physical features, clothes, social status, academic standings, athletic abilities. It didn't matter what it was, they were going to find it and make fun of it in such a way that you wanted to crawl under your desk and die.
One such "nasty boy" decided I was his target one day in 5th grade. It was beginning to be warm and I had on shorts. And then it happened.
"Ah ha! Carrie doesn't shave her legs! Look everyone, Carrie has hairy legs. Hairy Carrie! HA HA HA" (the class erupts in laughter)
Now surely I don't need to point out that in 5th grade I was maybe 12 years old and I KNOW I wasn't the only girl who had yet to shave her legs. As we've previously discussed, my hair was "dirty dishwater" so it wasn't like I had black hair growing on my legs. It was natural looking. But evenso, I was devastated.
I went home that day and asked my mom if I could shave my legs. She said I was much too young to be concerned about such things and once I started it'd be something I had to keep up. I didn't care. I wanted to be rid of the nasty boys and their name calling. And I knew people would be looking tomorrow. It was either shave or wear pants.
I locked myself in my parents' bathroom and pulled the razor from the shower. I propped my leg up on the sink and began with easy strokes. It was rough and dry. I wasn't smart enough to know I should have water or shaving cream. That's right - a dry razor on my pre-teen legs. I did the best I could to get all the visible hairs below the line of the shorts I was still wearing.
It wasn't long after that when my hairless legs started to burn. Red bumps indicated a severe case of razor burn. No duh, Carrie! You shaved dry. I was obviously a beginner. I rubbed some lotion on my legs which caused the burning to initially intensify but later seemed to soothe.
It was bedtime and I was in my nightgown waiting on the side of the bed for mom to do devotions with us. And that's when she noticed.
"Carrie! What did you do to your legs?"
I was busted. But it wasn't the razor burned hairless legs she was looking at. She grabbed my feet and pulled my ankles closer to inspect them.
You see, not only was I still wearing my shorts but I was also wearing my socks when I shaved. And thus the title of this blog. I had shaved my legs alright, but I had neglected what was beneath my socks leaving me with hairy ankles.
You have to laugh at the thought of it. The sight was even funnier! And thus my solution to take matters into my own hands prompted an emergency lesson on proper shaving.
These are but just a few of the awkward moments of my growing up. I have plenty more to share. For any of those who don't believe me that I was a "gangly" child, stayed tuned for that post.
Now as an adult I'm prompted to laugh at myself and also try to find some life lesson in these childhood experiences. Today I can say that while I care about my appearance, I don't let what people think or say about me define me or how I look. I can also say that sometimes we only get what we can see. Meaning, we only pay attention to that which is right before us. Or we only work for that which seems attainable. But what about the unseen? What about the things beneath the surface that require just as much attention? What about the tendency that runs through much of my life to take matters into my own hands? How often is God having to come behind me and fix the mess I've made?!
I wish I could say I've learned my lesson, but I still take matters into my own hands and I still get caught up with what's before me while sometimes missing that which remains unseen. Oh, but I can report that I've not had hairy ankles since that day! At least that's one lesson learned!