April 27, 2010

On a Pendulum

I wonder sometimes if I come across as a hypocrite.

On the one hand, I wish I could raise awareness so the average person would stop cringing at the thought of excess body hair, stop mocking it ignorantly, stop writing off people who might have it... just stop thinking of it in a way that is so out of proportion with what is truly important in life.

But on the other hand I, too, dwell on it in a disproportionate fashion. I'm so ashamed of it that I put a lot of energy into hiding it, and in sharing anything helpful I find with other women. I just wish it was gone, the problem erased, instead of thinking of it as a challenge or something useful to keep me humble and compassionate.

On the one hand, I wish people would be okay with the fact that I have the hair, even if only because it is out of sight.

On the other hand, I wish they could appreciate it's not that simple. It's still there in the back of my mind, always present, wreaking havoc with my confidence. The act of shaving every time I want to leave the house, the act of hiding in the house and avoiding mirrors and family every time I don't, it wears on me. It makes each day more of a struggle than I ever imagined I'd have in my life.

Is it making me stronger or am I just imagining it because I wish it would?

Am I going to constantly swing between humiliation and determination?

I'm not actually at a low point personally, but I'm feeling bad about someone else's disappointments right now. It means a lot of depressing contemplation and ample consumption of chocolate. Next week will be better.

April 20, 2010

We're on a video streak

I came to the computer today wondering what I'd write about. Then I logged in and saw how many comments I had! Awesome, guys!

Contained in one of those comments was a link to a short movie, and in light of how life-affirming it was (and how appropriate for the new decor), I thought I'd share it with those of you who, like me, had never heard of it.

Thanks, J!

April 15, 2010

Beautifully Imperfect

Not about hair, but...

...it's a poignant reminder about what's really important in a relationship. Yeah, I cried a little.

April 13, 2010

Four Months on Spiro

I've refilled my Spiro prescription (man, I keep wanting to call it a "subscription") for the fifth time. I'm less than two months away from my follow-up with the endocrinologist. I know the slightly elevated levels of testosterone in my blood are not coming from my adrenals, so it must be coming from my ovaries. Does that mean PCOS? Or are my hair follicles just hypersensitive to the hormone? Either way, what's to be done about it? Because I don't know if the Spiro is working, or working well enough to continue with.

It's diuretic properties can still be pretty inconvenient. Whether I take the pill with breakfast or lunch, if I've drank anything too close to bedtime, I'm stumbling blearily into the bathroom at three in the morning because my teeth are floating--and then have to get back up two hours later to get to work. I'm not a fan of that bloated, close-to bursting feeling when I wake up.

My cycle can be unpredictable about half the time. The only way I can tell it's coming around is that my right breast starts to hurt. I'm making doubly sure to do my monthly breast exam; thanks to the Internet I'll never be able to forget seeing a link between Spiro (in huge amounts) and breast cancer, though I wouldn't expect anything to happen that quickly with such a small dosage. But at least my period is about half as long as it used to be.

And who can forget how it prevents me from eating a lot of potatoes--one of my favorite things.

And, as far as the hair goes, I don't think I see much change. I get the sense that it's growing a little slower, because shaving every 24 hours feels like I'm getting more skin than hair. If I pluck the hair, it seems to take longer to come back. However if the hair breaks as I'm plucking it, it doesn't clear the follicle nearly as fast, either. It just sits under the skin, cheekily visible yet untouchable.

So I'm trying to prepare myself for giving up the pills. It will become another one of those things that I can say with certainty was not for me and my beard. And that shouldn't be a defeat, it should be an accomplishment.

I wonder, if I get to the end of possibilities to try, I'll finally be able to totally accept this part of myself... because I'll have to.

Yeah, a part of my mind is still hoping for a miracle. What can I say? It's my fantasy to be able to wake up, and just... go somewhere without having to shave my face. How many women fantasize about Johnny Depp even though they know it'll never happen? ;P

April 8, 2010

Mustache Ambition

Every time I go to this little homemade soap shop where I live, I always stop to admire the tiny men's shelf with it's manly smells and badger-hair shaving brushes. On our most recent excursion, my friend (one of the ones who knows about my hirsutism) stopped with me and picked up a tin of moustache wax with a picture of a very dapper, curly handlebar mustache on the lid.

She said, "Man, if I could grow a mustache, I would grow a pirate mustache!"

I laughed. "Sadly, for all the things I can grow, a mustache isn't one of them."

Then I thought, I can't believe I said that out loud. I wonder who heard me? And I quickly moved on towards the other soaps.

Still, it's important to have someone to joke with. Laughter helps you deal.

April 6, 2010

A Nod to the Dudes

I was at a bridal shower a little while ago--you know, girls, presents, chocolate, gossip. And the mocking of men.

I don't think I'm betraying some sort of womanly secret by providing a glimpse into what goes on at these things. It's not that uncomplimentary to the male population. Often the age of the bride dictates the kind of crowd: a younger bride will likely have lots of single guests who will giggle and make fun of men while privately wishing they had one, imperfect habits and all. And a more mature bride will usually have more married guests, and their ribbing is liberally seasoned with affection.

Still, I felt rather bad for the absent husband of one of the ladies, considering the image of him she planted in everyone's heads. It had to do with her measures to ensure his excessive body hair was minimized when they went on holiday to somewhere hot. Her vivid description, the method she used and the place where she "sheared" him put me in mind of a prison camp. It sounded both humiliating and comical... in that way that most inconvenient realities are.

I spend an awful lot of time lamenting the plight of women with excess hair, and why not? Though most of us have more than we'd like, it is against both genetics and culture to have an excess. A man cannot be thought of as less masculine with more fur.

But they have aesthetic expectations looming over them, the same as we do. Heck, girls can be much more cruel in their judgments. I know of guys who shave more regularly than I do to appear what they think is "acceptable." It just widens the scope of compassion to think beyond gender, of anyone who experiences shame and discomfiture because of something they can't control.

And those of us who do are fortunate to be able to value things other than looks. That's really what I wanted to say. :)