July 30, 2009

Four months!

I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that I got a call from my doctor's office yesterday. They left a message on my cell while I was at work. Luckily I remembered to check for messages at the end of my lunch hour, because it seemed that every male coworker under the age of thirty was having lunch at the same time, and I wouldn't have suffered them to see how teary-eyed I got when I heard that my GP had decided on a referral at last.

I could barely understand the name of the clinic in the message, but what I could make out sounded very generic. No clues as to whether it was a dermatologist or an endocrinologist. I tried to surreptitiously Google it at work, but as I feared, there were a ton of clinics in the city under that name. For all I could tell, it was a chiropractor.

But I was determined not to have to call the doctor's office back, or wait for the clinic to send me their mail-out to find out just what kind of clinic it was. So when I got home, I rolled up my sleeves and gave it another go, this time cross-referencing the clinic's phone number. Among the links that popped up was one for a paper on PCOS, and my eyes stung anew. Bless my GP! Not only was it a clinic for endocrinology, but it was possible they treated quite a few women with unwanted hair. I felt so grateful. I hadn't realized how much I did not want to see a dermatologist again.

So what's the bad news? My appointment is not until mid-November.

Yup. Another reason to be assertive about your health from the start: appointments are like a rare treasure. You have to quest for them and then guard them with your life.

July 27, 2009

You Can Always Be Kind

I assisted a woman and her friend at work the other day. Her friend I only mention because she stood there and watched the whole time, while the woman was... not the most pleasant person. And I could understand why, to a point. She had left her requirements to the last minute, and on top of which had taken no time to think about what she needed. Urgent and uninformed. Yay.

And to ice the tasty little cake she'd made for herself, I was the only one available to help her, and I have the ageless quality of Amanda Bynes (you know, she looks the same age from her tv show to her movies: twelve). Some people feel an innate distrust of receiving help from someone who looks too young to understand the importance of what they're selling.

Not that these are good enough reasons in my book to be so caustic to another person. If you're in such a rush, why ask for help and then not listen to the answer? If you don't understand your different options and want someone to hand it all to you, why growl and roll your eyes when they ask questions to make sure they'll be handing you the right thing? I felt like she wanted me to be deliberately withholding the best product from her in order to cheat her out of her money, perhaps so she had a real excuse to be nasty. Half an hour after the office had closed I was still trying to help her, enduring her looks of disdain and snapped responses, so she could go home with her mind at ease.... or at least go home.

Then in the last ten minutes of the transaction, I realized she was hirsute. Her skin was dark so it was not quite so stark and noticeable--and to be honest her sour mood made it intimidating to look her in the face very often anyway. The hairs were about half a centimeter long, but dark and coarse and all over her chin, and blunt like they had been trimmed or shaved several days ago. I don't think I'd ever seen another woman in person with obvious hair on her chin. I was all at once excited.

And then she shot me another burning look and my empathy all but evaporated. Hirsute or not, she was, first and only, a person in a very bitter mood who was treating me like the dirt she'd just trod into the office, and I couldn't wait to finish the transaction so she could go and be miserable somewhere else, and I could get home to my family. It was just an unexpected reminder that the person you are overpowers the way you look.

That was the last day I worked. I've been sick most of last week. You know when your joints ache and your skin gets hot and tight as a drum, so every bit of stubble on your body tortures you like a million tiny needles? Yeah, that was me. I now have about four days worth of growth on my face because I've been in bed for that long. I'm not used to it being this long and I keep stroking it like I'm hatching an evil scheme or something. But I'm on the mend. And the next time I shave is going to feel amazing.

July 21, 2009

Don't make me say it.

Allerleirah: "I think I'm going to start walking in the mornings. I'm tired of feeling like crap when I wake up."

Allerleirah's mother: "Oh, do you want some company?"

Allerleirah: "On the treadmill?"

Allerleirah's mother: (After some laughter) "...I thought we could walk outside."

Allerleirah: "I don't want to walk outside. I'd have to shave and I'd rather do that after I shower."

Allerleirah's mother: (Scrunching up her face) "I don't shave when I walk outside."

Allerleirah: (Always loathe to say "beard" out loud) "I don't. Want. To walk outside."

Allerleirah's mother: (Sighs like a kicked puppy)

Ugh. I guess I should feel glad that people who are familiar with me tend to forget my... limitations.

July 14, 2009

Hello again.

In my last poll, I was wondering if I was talking enough about myself and should be looking into making more practical posts that other girls could use. No one voted that way, however, which surprised me. The thing with making more personal posts, though, is that there's a point where anonymity is at risk. I can rant about how body hair shouldn't matter, but I'm still victim to the desire to be normal and I'm embarrassed about what I go through. So there are going to be things I can't disclose, obviously.

But to introduce myself again, this time without the hairy facts, I was born and raised in Canada. I was an only child in a single parent home for most of that time, until college when for a time I lived in a step-family situation. Though the oldest, I am now the only one still living at home. But then, I'm also the only one with student loans, and the only one working part time while I try to start my own business, so I defy the normal embarrassment of that fact.

Allerleirah Trivia
- I often describe myself as shy, but a better word would be reserved. When I get comfortable, I get downright annoyingly loud.
- I am, in the general sense, a hypochondriac.
- I used to know how to play the piano.
- I don't have a driver's license.
- I have been to ten different countries.
- I was really into drama in high school. Being in the spotlight like that never bothered me for some reason.
- When I grew up, I wanted to be (among other things) an actress or a model. I once tried out for a modeling gig and got a call back.
- I have an undergraduate art degree, a fact I am most proud of, because I've never worked harder for anything in my life.

Least favorite things
Spiders, public toilets, needles and anything else to do with medicine, angry customers or any other unwarranted hostility, long winters, early mornings, overly crowded spaces, watching the news.

Most favorite things
Chocolate, horseback riding, long drives through the countryside, traveling somewhere new, a freshly made bed with lots of pillows, Jane Austen movies, roller coasters, Rock Band, book stores, Big Bang Theory, homemade soaps, Disneyland!

So that's a little bit more about me, beyond the hair.

July 9, 2009

The Truth is Out There

I've been saving up my anger since last week when I stumbled upon a YouTube video where the oldest shaving myth in the book was once again quoted with absolute sincerity.

are some people perpetuating the myth that shaving makes your hair grow back thicker and darker?

It's becoming a rather intense pet peeve, especially when I find a so-called "professional" aesthetician touting their know-how or wares on the Internet and insist that shaving is the worst thing you can do because it somehow magically changes the color and consistency of your hair. When supposed experts are saying that with such an air of assurance, of course others are going to repeat it. Girls asking the Internet at large whether or not they should shave this or that, receive replies from hopefully well-meaning strangers in the form of a vehement "NO!" because they've probably read or heard that myth someplace that appeared to have some kind of authority. And what if shaving could have been the perfect solution for that girl?

I can't profess to have any kind of authority myself, except that I do shave my face and it has not made the hair grow back with different characteristics. Some quirk in my genes predetermined that my hair would eventually get darker, and it kept happening whether I shaved, plucked, bleached, or used depilatory cream.

The truth is that the multitude and darkness of your body hair is dependent on genetics. Genetics will dictate the number of hair follicles you have and the amount of melanin present in them. Even the hormones that sometimes affect the follicles and make hair darker or affect its growth are dependent on workings far below the surface of your skin where that razor is working.

Hair is a dead protein filament. If you cut it, you make it shorter. You make the end blunt. You can irritate the follicle that hair comes from, but you can't change genetics by doing it. It is impossible to so strongly affect that follicle by shaving. There are too many dermatological sources to quote from. Do an internet search for "shaving myths" and find all the scientific reassurance you need.

When I come to a site in the search for new ideas to improve the hair removal experience, and I see the author quote this shaving myth, it completely destroys the reliability of the content. I will look no further. That specialist has ruined their reputation and they should feel embarrassed. Do they still rub butter on their burns and believe cats steal air away from babies, for goodness sake?

I guess it is the Internet and anyone can put anything they want out there, but call me old fashioned for expecting people to have a little respect for accuracy and truth--heck, integrity-- when they're going to try to give others advice.

In lieu of that, I suppose we all just have to think carefully about what we read.

July 7, 2009

Is it any wonder...

...that women obsess over the tiniest imperfections? When entertainment headlines are being made over Megan Fox's thumbs?

I don't pay a whole lot of attention to celebrity gossip, but one of the guys at work was talking about this in the lunch room. I thought he was joking when he said people were freaking out about this beautiful young lady's phalanges. I had to look it up for myself.

Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Such a stir caused by such a tiny, innocent thing. You have to feel sorry for celebrities and how their fans insist on perfection. And you have to feel sorry for every other human being who follows in the shadows of these fantasies. This is why a girl who has to shave every morning often feels like she has no chance.

I'll try to update again later this week and actually talk about hair. I haven't been feeling well and I've been working extra hours again, so when I get home I just collapse on the nearest horizontal surface. And possibly drool, but my family has been too polite to point that out.