I have a happy trail that never ends. Mine is a furry complexion that won’t quit. And I’ve come to love it. But from time to time, insecurity surfaces in my vanilla world, which offers harsh commentary for those who don’t fit societal norms. As a result, there are times that I am bashful about going shirtless, or to the beach, or frolicking in a hot tub. So I took this week of self-discovery to reacquaint with my hairier self.

One morning, lying in the grass nude and with closed eyes, I let sun warm my skin. But it was autumn breeze that playfully circled and weaved its way through my body hair, like rows of grain blowing to and fro. It tickled, it chilled, and it aroused.

I carried this over to the bedroom later that night. I explored in pitch blackness, touching only my hair and not the skin below – head to toe and back, and back again. As I caressed my chest hair with my fingertips, I moaned in happiness, as if purring. Those light touches are as intimate to me as kissing, and perhaps more moving. How blessed I am to experience that – a sensation that would not be possible but for my hairy body.

And finally, I explored with a friend who is totally bare. After a week lost in my won forest, it was wonderful to feel such soft and silky skin. That contrast was stark for us both. We allowed one another total freedom to wander and linger. And the merging of the textures created a welcome synergy. I could not get enough.

Thank you Academy C for the gentle nudge. Today I am utterly content. I am more aware of how I feel, and make others feel, than how I appear. And I can laugh where I most recently winced. In that spirit, I celebrate with some photos I shot during the week – a somewhat self-deprecating series that I call “The Never-Ending Happy Trail Maintenance Crew.” And that trail could not be happier.

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