January 18, 2011

Problem? What Problem?

I'm willing to agree that being so consumed with hair removal techniques and ways to hide my hirsutism can be distracting from a more important thing. That thing is self acceptance. Self respect. Self like.

That's a thing that's hard enough for any person to develop, never mind a girl or woman who, through no fault of their own, grows a socially unacceptable amount of hair. When we are inundated by images of smooth and flawless "beauty," when people in general don't understand and accept the hair, how can we?

I don't know. I'm still learning as I go. I'm getting better. Six years ago when I moved in with my new step-family, I bleached or shaved every day. I hid my supplies in my room and took them with me to the bathroom every morning, then methodically put them back out of sight when I was done. I couldn't bear the thought of anyone getting the smallest inkling towards my secret. Now, my various shaving tools are all under the sink and I routinely have one day of the week where I don't shave at all at home, and go about in my stubbly glory. I still try to stay out of bright light and don't get to0 close to people, but I'm not as afraid as I used to be. Let them see and wonder. I'm still me.

I think maybe when we go around behaving as if we don't have a problem, most people won't even notice--or once dazzled by our true and radiant selves they'll forget the shadow, the stubble, the razor burn, the flash of a treasure trail. And anyway, really, do we have a problem? A problem is literally defined as: "any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty" by Dictionary.com. If we remove the doubt and uncertainty within ourselves, will hirsutism really be a problem?

People come in all shapes and sizes. Most are not society's "ideal." I have met my share of people with disfiguring illnesses or scars--things that can't be disguised. They go about their business because they simply have no choice, and when their lives intersect with mine, even for a brief moment as I service them at my job, I see what they probably wish I couldn't see. But as I talk to them throughout the course of a transaction, their personality comes through. Cheesy, I know, but it's true. They may or may not be wondering if I'm looking, but when they're not worried and are just having good old gab with me, you can bet I'm not thinking about what I see.

Act like it's not a problem, and others probably won't see it as a problem. Act like that long enough and perhaps we'll actually end up feeling like it's not a problem. And then, when confronted by the mockery or rejection of a shallow, short-sighted bigot who is really not worth knowing, will their ignorance really bother us?

But how to get that point where we don't give a damn what others think, because we're content with ourselves? That's the challenge. Some of it comes with time, I've found. Even though I've been cowering in fear and protecting my secret, plucking and bleaching and trimming and shaving for years, I'm slowly hating that reflection less and less. I think it helps that once a week I address the Internet as a pointedly hairy woman and speak as frankly as I can about it.

Maybe for now, hiding the hair and trying medications to make life a little easier is what I need to do so that I have the confidence to go out into the world and gain as many experiences as I can. It's up to me. No one else's love or respect is truly going to make me like myself. It has to come from within. And the more I know and trust myself and feel proud of my accomplishments, the more content I will be--not as a bearded lady, but simply as me.


Becky said...

Right on. I love the journey you are on. Thank you for being so frank about it.

Christina said...

Thank you! It is just what I needed to hear today.

I try my best to let my radiant smile come through, but as I feel people looking at me, that smile fades.

Last week as I was tweezing, it almost felt as with each pluck I felt emotionally lighter and freeing. Till over an hour went by and felt exhausted and sore, wondering how much of life passes me by as I have to "attend" to my issues.

I want to be that one that shows the world that is OK to be hairy. But I lack the courage and self esteem to do it. We are all having this human experience and sometimes I wonder if in my shame, I am missing out on sharing something transformational in the hiding?

Tonight I am inspired! Thank you!

Marie said...

You are absolutely right. I was wondering if you have heard anything about agnus castus and serenoa repens, mainly what effects does it have on women with hirsutism? I have heard that it MIGHT help but never actually found anyone who could share their experience with them. I've started taking it (could only find expensive 4mg tablets) but I don't know whether to spend money on it or not. I know you can not help because you are on Spiro but since we have the same problem, have you found anything useful? Best Wishes, Marie

Anonymous said...

I remember once finding dark stubble on the stomach and arm if a girl I dated. She was embarrassed, but I confided in her that I liked hairy girls. She never let it go because she was still afraid of what others thought, and I suspect she didn't like the idea of it being fetishized.

The moral, however, is that one byproduct of coming to your own self-acceptance is that you might discover the acceptance of others in surprising places.

Good luck.

Allerleirah said...

Becky - Thank you for your continued comments and words of wisdom; what you've shared has been a great encouragement.

Christina - Oh I know what you mean. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels that way! Even if we're plucking or shaving and hiding it, I think by going out and living life, we're still showing the world it's okay.

Marie - I've heard of serenoa repens (as saw palmetto), particularly for women who suffer from PCOS. I don't know very much about herbal remedies, though I knew some gals prefer them to traditional medication. It's certainly something I'd consider trying but I've just never looked into it. If you want to let me know how it goes for you, please do, I'd love to hear about it.

Anonymous - Thank you so much for commenting from a different perspective. I think you're right. A girl who's happy with herself can more easily accept that she is loved by others.

Sophie said...

Al!!! What a perfect, wonderful post! I caught myself exclaiming: "exactly!" all the way through reading it :)

Last week, a fellow Beautiful cyster was staying with me. She knows all and more about me and I didnt even think to hide my "stuff". It was such a great feeling not worrying about what she will think if she finds a trace, a proof of The Problem (the crime) when she goes to the bathroom... Wow. SO thats how the normals feel when friends come to visit them?!... Nice...

You are so very very very right. It's not us who have The Problem. For me The Problem is the others. Im fine. Its just the society and its great ideas how to better, update and fake more the human specie. And I know, its not really about The Problem (TP? :) ), but well, last few days have been super hard and stressful for me and my skin reacts badly to stress. Today was the first day at work after my holiday and I seriously wondered if there was any point in going anywhere ever. Bad mood. And this three ingrown hairs on one (disgust alert) spot, growing happily, today covering (not exaggerating) half of my cheek. I dont remember another such bad alien in my lifetime. I also havent shaved for over a day. BUT. Because I have a lot of things on my mind, when I left home (i did!) i focused on them and spent all day preoccupied with my thoughts. I did talk to my colleagues and they did have to look at me. I was kinda aware of my face. Kinda, because I was so down that nothing they could ever think or say would in any way affect me. I even "forgotten" my face until got home and went on to cleaning procedures... I didnt care, I really genuinely didnt care today. And guess what? "They" didnt either. I mean, if "they" took time to discuss it between them - good for them, we all need some topics in our dull lives. They didnt say anything to me. The world did not end. Really.

Like you said, even if they were dazzled - how long can you stay dazzled for?!

Christina, oh my, I know so well what you are talking about. Some 15 years ago I chose plucking over shaving and recently I was wondering how many hours I spent just doing same movement of my fingers over and over and over again... I think i probably worked less...

Marie, I have my local vitamin shop here, I think they have any homeopathic meds you can think of. Next time I make an order, I'll ask them about what you mentioned. I have never heard of it. I do not have PCOS though.

Anonymous, see, if it was me, I'd probably get really upset... Because being pointed out in one way is equal as being pointed out in another. I just want to be looked at as a person, thats all...

Allerleirah said...

Sophie - Good for you for going out as you are! And I commend you especially because although you may have felt uncomfortable, you didn't really care what everyone thought! I bet you made them think twice about their preconceptions, if they even noticed.

I wish it wasn't in the spirit of feeling to low to care, but hey, I believe that one day soon you will step out in the spirit of, "I'm Sophie, and I'm perfect the way I am."

Sophie said...

Hey Marie, I found that you can find agnus cactus in homeopathic shops, for affordable price as Vitex: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/herbsupplementguide/a/Vitex.htm It sounds interesting, however it also has "interesting" side effects. I will get a sample (week's worth) from my shop and will let here/Al know how it's going.

Lorelai Golightly said...

This is a lovely post. I have a lazy eye -- its not as noticeable as it was when I was a kid(I had three surgeries before I was six to try and correct it) but it's still there a little. People don't generally notice it at first, but after a while it comes up, usually when I'm complaining about not being able to see 3D in movies! They ask why and I explain, and ever since I hit my late teens and decided not to be self conscious about my supposed "flaws" (hairy arms, my eyes, etc) I've been able to talk and joke about it with no problems, and just enjoy the quirks that make me me.

Allerleirah said...

Awesome! Truly beautiful attitude. Thank you for commenting, Lorelai. :D