March 10, 2009

Tastes Like Angst

When I was thinking about starting up a blog in which to try to humanize the idea of women with excessive body hair--as long as a few years before this point--I often wondered what kind of blog it would be. Or rather, what kind of narrator I would be. What kind of voice I would adopt.

Personally, I was most attracted to frankness in blogs, even if it was uncomfortable and offensive at times. Blogs with forceful attitudes that made me sit up and take notice. I also liked humorous blogs, especially those seasoned with sarcastic witticism. The desire to roll my eyes and to laugh with the author made it easier to feel connected with them. I often returned to blogs where I admired or were intimidated by the writer, wanted to have coffee with them, pick their brain, just listen to them ramble on.

But this theme of excess body hair is a tough one. It embarrasses some. I don't want to always be unflinchingly straightforward about it, or turn it into a joke. I like people to be comfortable. I want to be optimistic about the ongoing challenge. A lot of women feel unnecessarily bad enough about their appearance already.

But I get down, too. I get down about my hair a lot. Some of the worst times, for me, are when I start considering trying something new for my hair or skin. I get really excited about the idea. What if this one turns out to be the Best Thing I ever tried? What if after discovering it, hair removal--and my life--become so much easier? But I'm very methodical. I need to analyze. I research the crap out of the method, obsessively, often in one or two nights. I see people batting for the process, and others arguing against it. I begin to wonder if results among women are so different, or if some people are more interested in promoting a product than helping others. I see catty comments and know-it-all rebukes and it begins to disappoint me. Eventually, the negative reviews begin to put things into perspective and I realize I am better off sticking with shaving, which I'm sick of, but which I know very well. And I feel foolish for getting stars in my eyes.

Sometimes it's all I can do to keep from turning this blog into a black-backgrounded cyclone of angst.

And I don't always know what to do when that happens, so I just try to distract myself. The despair fades on its own, and I go back to a zombie-like shave-and-cover ritual every morning, and then go on to face a day that is totally unrelated to its first unglamorous fifteen minutes. A day that 95% of the time gets significantly better. Other times I'm able to remind myself that even if I never find a better way of hiding my hair, I still have my health and abilities, family and friends. Sunsets are still beautiful, chocolate is still delicious, and there are still some people out there who are inherently kind and understanding.

And the despair passes, hopefully without always rubbing off here, in my written voice. I certainly don't want to pull anybody down. But I do want people to fathom, even the tiniest bit, what it's like.

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