September 27, 2011

All Kinds of Fur - The Tumblr!

I'm excited to announce a new feature to my online presence as "Allerleirah," a companion Tumblr to collect images of bearded ladies, female beauty, quotes about self esteem, and the odd post by others who complain of their hirsutism on their own Tumblr's.

You may well ask, "Al, why not just post what you find here on your blog?"  It's a fair question, and an idea I've turned around and around in my mind.  My answer is twofold: firstly, it's easier.  Tumblr is such an effortless way to collect this kind of thing into one place. 

The second reason is the more important concern I had about keeping this blog around PG-13ish.  Sure, I discuss ladies' problems, talk about various parts of the body, and post the odd video that deals with such.  But there are inspiring things out there that are a little more... Not Safe For Work, that I still feel are worth sharing.  Now, I know the reality is that even those of you who are underage have probably seen stuff even more explicit, but I prefer to give the choice.  I will leave it to each girl's sensibilities as to what they'd like to see, regardless of age. 

So my Tumblr is going to be a place for more mature content, which you can consume or ignore as you will.  And keeping in mind those of you who voted for more posts, hopefully this will appease you somewhat.  As it's easy to find content, as it's mostly created by others and waiting for me to find, it will likely be updated often, and I may schedule posts so that there's something new as frequently as every day.  I hope you enjoy it!

Now, I'm off on a couple of trips so I especially won't be around to approve comments or apply to emails in the next couple of weeks.  However, also keeping in mind those votes for more posts, I've got a couple of things lined up to be posted automatically in my absence.  I'll see you all soon!

Stay positive!

September 26, 2011

Yet Another Small Triumph


I am packing for my trip.

And I realized.

I can pack any dang shirt I want.

This is pretty wonderful.  Until now, when I've packed a suitcase, it's always a well-agonized plan of how often my chest will react kindly to being shaved during the length of the trip.  I tend to assume that I will shave the first morning at destination, then give my chest a day off, shave again the third morning, and so on, giving myself an extra high-collared shirt or two just in case I break out in an angry rash from too much hair removal.

Now that I'm not shaving my chest thanks to the Spiro, only plucking any dark hairs I see, I don't have to worry about that.  I can pack all pretty shirts if I want to!  Not that I ever hope to be bathing-suit worthy, but this small improvement is a huge boon.  I'm so excited!

September 23, 2011

Outed by a Curriculum?

Readers who have been around for a while may remember that I came to live in a blended family in my very late teens.  By then, I was reaching my peak of hirsute awesomeness, and not about to let these virtual strangers in on my secret.  I didn't know if I could trust them, and thank goodness, because one of them could certainly not be trusted.  After she moved out, however, there was still some concern about what would happen if I let people in on this oh-so-embarrassing part of me.

And it hasn't been easy to hide it.  The odd places I keep razors outside of the shower, the plethora of shaving mediums under the sink, the doctors visits, the very obvious prescription refill runs...  Maybe that only seems obvious to those of us who know what the clues add up to, but I still worry and keep things to myself.

My step-sister started her accelerated course in pharmacy tech, and the stuff she tells me she's learning is so fascinating.  There's a lot of memorization, and she's working hard using many different techniques to make all the drug names stick in her head.  The other day,  I walked past the whiteboard she's using, and my eyes were drawn to something written there.  The very familiar word "spironolactone."  I am so used to seeing that word now that I almost didn't stop to think about it.

But I glanced up and down the whiteboard, trying to get the context around this unprecedented appearance of my magic-pill-for-hairiness.  She was listing diuretics.  Of course.  The on-label use for the medication.  Not likely she'd be studying the non-FDA-approved uses just yet... right?

Also of interest was last, when the two of us were chatting with some friends, and everyone was coming up with humorous ways to help her study.  And she gestured at me and said, completely casually, "Maybe it'd help if she told me what medications she was taking..."

Over the years, I've worried less and less about what my cohabitants know about me.  But I'm so used to hiding it I do it now by reflex.  I'm still scared of what might happen if they know.  But that's another entry.  For now, I just thought it was pretty comical that she might clue in through such a totally independent means.

Now, I know I've got some comments and emails and notifications waiting for me, but I'm trying to stave off a migraine so I'll have to get to those later.  Thanks for your patience!

September 13, 2011

Guest Comment: From J

Incidentally, I have a comment from dear reader J that I've been meaning to share for months, as it communicates so perfectly what I would have loved to say in that post.  I asked her if I could share it, because those who don't read the comments all the time would be missing out on how well she articulates the frustration and despair of trying to hide hirsutism day after day after day.  It gives us all a chance to see what a guest blogger post might look like, too.

Thank you, J!

I wish I could bottle up the emotion and psychological heartbreak of those kind of moments into a jar so other people could sample what it really feels like for us at times.

The one's like you described where no matter how hard you work or creative you get there is like no possible way to leave the safety (and confinement) of your home without feeling like the "elephant in the room" everywhere you go, like you're on display, and disgusting.

And how it feels to feel no choice but to cancel plans and disappoint the people we care about most, and then to have them upset and not understand why, to have them think we are being antisocial, or lazy, or straight up superior and rude... because they cannot know the reason and feelings behind our choice to withdraw ourselves. When in reality we would love nothing more than to be with the one's we love, uninhibited and whole and bright and shiny :p Isolation in your physical circumstance is one thing, but repression in and negative portrayal of who you are inside... That's an aweful feeling in itself.

How about the one's where you groom and primp and paint and finally reach "normality", but are so drained after the process that you cry and ruin it all, or simply misplace your identity, feeling fake or vulnerable, or so insecure, not knowing how to proceed with the day.

There's the one's where you are invited to a stellar event or a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you get so excited!! But it lasts for only a second, before it hits you... these types of things are not for me... they are for normal people, the lucky ones, the old me, the me that one day will be... but not now, not this thing I am now... these are not meant for me.

But like a cycle, like you did then, with the frustration and the tears, and tea and the dog. We accept it, experience it, we get through the pain, we pull it together, and "just... go on with life."

Just a few of the types of feelings we have the joy of living with.

Read the original comment here.

September 8, 2011

Call for Guest Bloggers

I know I’m not the only bearded lady who has something to say about the subject of hirsutism.  There are as many different ways to deal with it as there are women who have it, so after four years of listening to only me, I’d like to officially invite others to share their thoughts.

You don't have to have your own blog or online presence, and you don't have to reveal your identity.  An interchange of expressions about excess body hair is a beautiful thing, and I'm hoping we won't have to dig through forum upon forum to find it.  I'd love to have a little of that right here, and that's why I need you.

Guidelines for Submission

Please stay on topic.
  This blog is about living with hirsutism.  You can be angry, funny, educational, but don't forget why we're here.  Personally, I deviate as far as body hair removal in general and certain women’s problems, but let’s not get too far off track!

About prompts: they are only suggestions to help get you started.  I will keep them up for a month as a springboard for guest blogger posts, but if you have something else you want to talk about, I’ll be thrilled!  And if, down the road, you find you do want to talk about the subject I used in the prompt, you can submit your writing then.  Even if it’s been covered, your angle is unique.  Don’t be afraid to share!  (UPDATE:  I ceased doing prompts after a year.  Now it's up to you to find what moves you to speak out!)

You can submit as many times as you want!  You don’t have to worry about compiling all your thoughts about hirsutism into a great big essay.  You can pick a particular topic, challenge, success, treatment, or experience to focus on, and submit again later when you have something else you want to talk about.

Please proof read your submission.  Typos happen, and goodness knows I've made my share!  But attention to technical detail both shows and commands respect.  I‘d rather spend my time working on new posts and replying to all your wonderful comments, rather than correcting spelling and grammar in guest blog entries at the risk of altering your personal style.  In the same vein, don’t feel you have to be a narrative genius to submit something!  I am looking for open and honest expressions above all else.

There are no length restrictions.  My posts can be fairly long sometimes, but you don’t have to do what I do!  Of course, if you have a lot to say, I won’t drop a word count cap on you.  I may split your submission up into several posts, but I’ll ask you first.

Please avoid offensive language.  I know hirsutism can bring out a lot of passion and anger, but I’d like to keep this blog relatively safe for all ages (as safe as a blog that discusses women’s problems can be!)

I reserve the right to refuse to post any submission.  I don’t anticipate having to do so, but for the same reason I approve all comments before they appear, I wish to keep destructive thoughts far from here.  My blog is a place not only for encouragement but also showing the ups and downs of living with hirsutism, however I will ignore crude and hateful messages and owe such people no explanations as to why their words have no place here.

Be sure to include your name or preferred alias, and if you wish to have the entry linked to your own site, don’t forget to add that as well!

Email submissions to:

September 7, 2011

A Little Ovary Update

It’s the way it always goes; I was out running errands when the endocrinologist’s office called, and got their message that my results were in about five minutes after the office had closed for the weekend.  And, of course, it was a long weekend, with a lovely statutory holiday right at the end of it.  So I tried not to think about my nervousness after the ultrasound, and waited until Tuesday morning to call them, just before work. 

The receptionist just looked at my file and told me right there that the cyst was there, and it was stable.  Using my background in health insurance, I take that to mean it hasn’t grown or shrunk, which I suppose is good.  I would have much preferred to hear it was gone, and that the black spot I kept seeing on the ultrasound was just an ovary, but... (shrug) oh well.

I felt weird asking questions about my scan of the receptionist, but when she said that the cyst needed no further follow-up, I asked if that meant I would not be referred to an OBGYN.  It didn’t say anything on my file, so she said she’d check and get back to me.  I don’t necessarily want to go to an OBGYN, but when I first found out about the cyst and asked questions of the endo (questions I can’t even remember at this point) she said she was not in the best field to respond to them.  I’d at least like to hear from an OBGYN what I have to watch for to make sure this cyst doesn’t cause serious problems, or how to catch such problems in time.

Hearing from the doctor always beings that stupid ovary to the front of my mind.  It gets me all emotional, and it was bad enough that this past weekend was the second anniversary of an attempted suicide in my family.  I’d succeeded in not thinking about it up until I heard about another attempted suicide that had happened that very weekend.  So I was a little “off” yesterday.  I haven’t had any really bad mood swings on Diane-35, but I do get the odd day like this, where things affect me more than they would on the average day.

I got a call today from the endo's office (and thankfully I was home to catch it), and found out I am being referred after all.  I don't expect to actually be given an appointment date for a while yet, that's how referrals to specialists go.  But that's good too; means it's not an emergency, right?

And that’s my update.  Official “rules” for guest blogging will go up tomorrow!  :)

September 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Four years ago today, I posted my first entry on this blog.  I was 22, and at the time, I had no idea why I had excess body hair.  My previous family doctor and the dermatologist he'd sent me to had both been discouraging.  I'd spent far too much money on laser hair removal with no knowledge of what was really going on inside by body, and had seen little results.  I'd done very little research myself up until my blog, terrified that the hair indicated something seriously wrong with me.  I felt ashamed to even type it into the search box.  Trying to read about it was depressing.  I was in a state of defeat.

And yet, I wasn't.  I was still going on, shaving every day, hiding behind long hair, high collars, thick tights.  I wept and moped but I hadn't stopped.  I wished there was somewhere that I could go to find people who were going through the same thing... and not just a one-off forum post somewhere out there in the ether that detailed the emotional and sometimes physical suffering and then gave no evidence of how the poster coped with it every day, but proof of someone who really did live with excess hair every day.  How did people do that? I wanted to know.  How many were there?  Where were they?  Why weren't they talking?

I had been thinking of finding a way to rant anonymously about the challenges of living with hirsutism for a long time.  I was timid and taciturn but I needed an outlet.  I didn't know where to do it.  And eventually, I decided if I couldn't find anywhere to read the things I wanted to read, or post the things I wanted to post, well, I'd have to create place and populate it all myself.  So I created a Blogger account and here we are.

Since that first post I've finally had the tests to put my mind at ease.  I'm on a medication that seems to be helping.  I've accepted that there is no cure, and more than that I'm starting to accept myself.  Maybe I don't want to grow out my beard and dare the world to disapprove, but when I shave in the morning (now with a regimen more kindly to my face) I am not trampled by demoralizing feelings about myself.  Some of that was probably just time and age.  Some was research, and talking it out.  And some was meeting a wealth of inspiring ladies who live with the same condition.

The progress has been incredible looking back.  But I still had to take it one day at a time.  I'll still have to.  I have my days when I crack under the strain of being hirsute.  So for those who are not there yet, hang in there.  Don't give up.  It will come, as long as you don't cut yourself off from the beauty in life or the love of your family, friends, and fellow fur-dusted maidens.  Personally, I also found much solace in the Bible.  I am so grateful that I got this far, but I certainly didn't do it alone.  This blog wouldn't be any kind of success at all without each and every one of you reading this right now.  Thank you for your support, your opinions, your voice.

So it's rather fitting that the new addition to this blog, in honor of being four years online, is going to be guest bloggers.  It was one I honestly did not expect to see so much enthusiasm for, and that's just because it used to be so hard to find the personal expressions of bearded women online.  I started to think very few wanted to talk about it, and after they did, they disappeared from the Internet as though they had never existed.  However, nearly half the votes on the poll were in favor of hearing the stories of others.  I think that's awesome, and I'm hoping that those who voted are rabid to express themselves further by compiling their own thoughts on living with hirsutism and sending them in to be posted here.  I can't very well have a guest blogger feature without submissions!

Maybe some of you have something already written and ready to send!  Until I construct a permanent bulletin in the side menu calling for contributions, you can email your stories to  I'll be posting an entry soon with submission guidelines, but until then let me just say that I reserve the right to choose what appears on these pages, just like I approve all comments before they become public.  I want this to continue to be a safe and upbuilding place for all ages.