April 26, 2012

We Now Present Al, Being Sad

I wasn't going to do a blog post this week.  For one thing, I've been working on a series of posts directed at the, shall we say, "newly hirsute."  It's requiring some looking back at my old posts, reorganizing tags, and flipping through my own medical files as some of the tests I've done have gotten hazy as time goes by.  It's taken a lot more time than I thought.

For another, I've just been feeling kind of down lately, with no energy or focus.  It's one of those "blue" patches everyone gets for a couple of days or a week or so but that eventually fades on its own.  I get annoyed, though, when this happens to me, because though I know it is perfectly normal, I hate to witness myself wallowing in self pity.  It makes me mad at myself!

There are several reasons I've been feeling sorry for myself.  Yes, hirsutism is one.  Or rather, at the moment, I'm going through another rough skin patch--chin's all angry and wants a holiday from shaving, and is expressing its displeasure by developing scales of dry skin that feel as prickly as stubble. And there's this enormous zit that started as an ingrown beard hair and now refuses to heal because I shave over it accidentally every morning and open it right up again.  Always nice.

I'm also having some issues at work.  Nothing really bad, but some personality clashes with some coworkers and situational nonsense which I would never deign to react to on the outside are, on the inside, getting me frustrated enough to cry. 

And I'm lonely.  Not for a man; what I really miss is having a friend.  Being a reserved person, I don't connect easily with people, so I've only ever had a few close friends.  These have eventually drifted away, or had to move away--and I don't wish to blame anyone for that, life happens, and that's why I've found myself blogging about it on a forum I use to talk about body hair instead if a place where they might read it and feel bad.  And I'm not looking for reassurance, I'm just expressing myself, because I kind of have nowhere else "safe" to do it where it won't make someone I know incorrectly feel responsible.   

Not long ago, with spring on the air and events ramping up throughout my city, I realized I no longer had anyone to share the things I really enjoyed.  Blowing money in used book stores, tea houses, artisan soap shops, bakeries, or mocking artwork in galleries, smelling old things in museums, getting lost and wandering helplessly for ages... all these things I now must do alone.  There's nothing wrong with that, and I do like being alone.  But some things are just more fun with someone else.  Someone you trust, and who appreciates the same things you do.  I have no one like that in my life anymore, and no one I would feel comfortable bringing into that circle.

There's a particular festival coming up that I look forward to every year.  I was counting down to it for months before it hit me that I have no one to go with.  I've inquired of a few people, who have quite honestly expressed their disinterest, and I respect that.  I feel intimidated going alone, terrified of the commute to get there, and just plain sad that I'll have no one at my side to turn to so I can express my excitement over something I see--or at my back to protect me from the awkward and unwelcome advances of some of the very strange people who will be there.

But I was driving home from work today in the fog and the drizzle (perhaps also a reason for these blues) and remembered all the things I have accomplished my own.  I mean, come on woman, you went on a bloody business trip to another country by yourself!  And I was driving to and from work by myself, a job I got completely under my own power by my own merit, something I never imagined myself doing a year ago.  I am not only capable, I am pretty darn strong inside.  And I deserve to surround myself in the things I love, even if no one is there to love them with me.  Lack of self confidence prevents me from doing so much, and it really needs to stop!

I told myself I am going to go to that festival tomorrow, and then to a pub to meet some acquaintances I haven't seen in a long time.  I've spent the evening practicing a new hair style to overcompensate for my self consciousness with my face right now.  I intend to go out, do my thing, and look smashing while I do it.

(Why do I feel like hyperventilating right now?)

April 17, 2012

S*** People Say About Hairy Girls

A sardonic look at the gems people utter without thinking.  It's more to do with natural hair than hirsutism, but I doubt the humor or the truth will be lost on anyone.  Just a warning, these videos contain mature subject matter.

See more hair-related videos in their Youtube channel.

April 16, 2012


One of the ladies I work with brought in a No!No! last week. I see the commercials and infomercials on TV here in Canada often, and thanks to my browsing history regarding body hair, I see the ads on the web when I surf, too. It claims to remove hair painlessly and discourage it from growing back by “crystalizing” the hair beneath the skin using “thermocon technology.” I’m not sure what that means, though apparently it uses heat and not light, but it so closely resembled home-laser-hair-removal kits (which I universally read as being disappointments and downright dangerous) that I resolved to stay well clear. Besides, a 60-day risk-free trial barely gets you through two hair cycles. You’d hit very few of your total active follicles in two months.

So anyway. She brought it in, took it out, and I knew immediately what it was. I tried not to be too excited as I drifted toward the conversation she was having with some of the other gals, explaining to them what it was. It sounded like she had brought it in for someone in particular, but I couldn’t insert myself into their circle to see who'd wanted to see it, or hear how it worked on the lady who owned it. But clearly at least two people I work with have concerns about body hair, but I haven’t been able to ascertain whether it’s simply normal hair they’re tired of shaving, a few stray chin hairs from menopause, or something else entirely.

I really tried to get in there. I asked questions, like how effective she found it on what type of hair, but the circle ignored me, closed tight. I don’t think they were trying to exclude me, but I sure felt like they didn’t think what they were talking about was relevant to my interests. So once again, I was kind of saddened at work.  But there’s still lots of opportunity to talk to my workmates one-on-one, and maybe someone’s hair woes will come out, because obviously they’re not secretive about it. I really want to know what their concerns are, and what has worked for them. This mystery is bugging me!

And now I’m curious about the No!No! again. It’s different when you actually know someone who’s used it. My expectations still wouldn’t be high, but what if it doesn’t totally suck?

April 12, 2012

"My Mustache Bleach!"

I was reading an involving graphic novel by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the latter being a young illustrator I’d heard about in art school, when I came upon this tiny scene:

Skim is about a private-school student who feels separate from the other girls at her school.  What teenager hasn’t felt that, right?  But Skim has more reasons to feel alienated than most--besides being unskinny, and a cultural minority, and identifying herself as goth in the early 90’s, she is in love with her English teacher, a woman.  And she’s coping with all this during a time when her school is turned upside down by a suicide.  It is an unfailingly honest look into a teenager’s thoughts and feelings, and how they cope with them. 

But, of course, this one scene as she gets ready for a school dance resonated with me more than anything else.  The character doesn’t write actually about it in her diary or refer to it in any way, but there she is, making an extra effort to look and feel her best, using her mom’s “mustache bleach.”  (You’ll have to buy the book to see what else she impulsively does with it!)  When I looked closely at the boxes of bleach drawn in one panel, I am sure they are even the exact same brand I used.  It's the same teeny tiny spatula that was my companion up until my beard became too dark and coarse to bleach any longer.  I can still smell it, remember the slight tingle as the bleach it worked its magic.

And so it touched me.  Even though this character is not hirsute, she has plenty of other ways to feel like an outsider.  And we get a peek into a small, personal cosmetic ritual, shown oh-so-casually (and no panel is ever accidental, everything is carefully planned to reveal this girl’s world to us) but it is all the more intimate because of its familiarity.  Sort of a reassuring "everybody does it, behind closed doors" thing.  Except, thanks to this being a graphic novel, the door is open to us as readers.

April 7, 2012

I Want to Come Out!

In the past, I’ve sometimes spoken about my medication in front of people who I haven’t told about my hirsutism.  Usually I’ve just been involved in the conversation, maybe explaining something about my meds to somebody who is aware, like my mother, and someone else has joined us when I'm not prepared to stop talking.  And I’ve been ridiculed for that: why would I talk about it and not tell people the whole truth?  It makes me feel like I’m some kind of tease or something.  “Don’t talk about it if you don’t want people to ask,” I’ve been told.

Maybe all this time I have wanted people to ask.  Maybe I’ve been dying to tell someone, and hang the consequences.  Could the reaction really be as bad as I’ve imagined all these years?  Whenever I have told someone, they’ve never reacted with shock, never mind disgust.

I like to know what’s going on in other peoples’ lives.  If I know what challenges they’re facing, I know how to help, or not to help.  And when I see them carrying on with their lives, I feel so encouraged and awed.  I have a better appreciation for who they are and what it takes for them to survive in this world from day to day.  So why wouldn’t some other people appreciate knowing this relatively mundane fact about me?

Perhaps every time I’ve mentioned medications or alluded to my own struggles, I’ve been testing myself to see if I feel ready to tell someone who is not in my immediate circle of trust.

At my new job this week, a couple of coworkers walked in discussing laser hair removal.  Of course, for them it was in the context of being tired of waxing their bikini lines, and one of the women said her friend had had great success with the procedure. 

“It’s supposed to be painful,” she ventured.

I nodded.  “Oh, it is.”  And I discovered I was ready for them to ask if I’d had it done, and where, and how it had worked.  And I felt prepared to gesture comically toward my face and come all out about it.  I have only worked with these women for a month.

But another coworker spoke over me with, “I don't think it's as bad as waxing.  But you have to do it with a numbing cream.”

I tried to make a few other contributions to the conversation to clear up some misconceptions about it that made it fairly clear I’d been through the procedure, and they didn’t give the least impression of even noticing.  (A part of that, I think, is being the youngest woman on the team, and looking much younger than I really am.  I find it quite difficult to speak up and be noticed among them.  It’s as if they don’t expect me to have anything to add to any topic.  When I went out to lunch with all of them, I didn’t have to talk at all.)

I realize I was kind of disappointed to be overlooked just then.  I was prepared to come out with my hirsutism and did not expect to be shunned because of it.  So the experience wasn’t entirely for naught--at least I noticed I was not afraid to speak about it, in that circumstance.  Now that I know the cause of my hirsutism and what medications work for me, the next natural step seems to be to reconcile myself to living with it.  Being open about it keeps coming to mind as the upcoming goal.