September 3, 2008

Take a bow.

I'm 22 years old, and I've been living with undiagnosed hirsutism for about eight years.

I've had an online presence for all that time, but decided I needed a separate place to talk about the challenges of being a woman with a beard. And not so much because I needed to talk about it, as much as I'm sure it will help in the long run. But in all my wanderings, nothing has helped so much as hearing from other women struggling with the same things.

I'm also hoping that, now and then, someone who stumbles across this blog and automatically thinks, "Ew, gross," might pause and come to see that we're still perfectly normal human beings. (Okay, I have to pause and chuckle about using the word "normal." I've just never met a "normal" person in my life.)

For years I've contemplated opening a blog detailing my struggles, both to educate, and to show other women with hirsutism that, dudettes, you are not alone. In fact, I even thought about writing an essay/short story/article/book. But a blog just publishes thoughts faster. And besides, I've only been alive for two decades. That's not going to fill up a book.

What finally spurred me to begin was watching the season premiere of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 11. For those of you who don't follow the show, there's a contestant this year who was an extra in a photo shoot from last season. I think it's safe to say Isis is the underdog of the season, because she was born male. During her first photo shoot, some of the other girls whispered derogatory things at her, such as "You need a shave!" Now my dears, I am 100% female so I can't say I fathom that kind of inner conflict, but I do know what it's like to feel so painfully unfeminine without having other people hissing in your ear. That kind of cruelty is uncalled for and unacceptable. Even if some will be repulsed by this blog, I'm beginning to believe the honesty may help those who truly need it.

So, I encourage others to post comments, ask questions, share their own stories. Just please be aware that I will be monitoring all comments, and will not permit anything of a malicious nature. I may be able to handle it, but others reading this blog may not.

I'm hoping to update this blog once a week, but perhaps that's just a pipe dream. Once I finish talking about my life story as a bearded lady, treatments I've personally tried, and the particular hardships of trying to conceal the truth on my skin every day, I may run out of things to talk about until, and if, I finally find my solution. My affliction, for now, remains pretty consistent. The biggest challenge in living with hirsutism is living with hirsutism. Every day, one day at a time.

But we'll give this a try. In the next few days I'll be looking for other web logs by women who have the strength and courage to talk about similar issues. I know there are one or two out there. Maybe, with time, there'll be a few more.

It's just time to be up front.

I probably won't be discussing trans gender issues here much. I'm hardly qualified. But for a little extra information about Isis Tsunami on the show, try this link: [link]

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