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.