December 4, 2012

Being "Allerleirah"

There’s some drawbacks to having an online identity that is just for talking about hirsutism online.  Things I didn’t even imagine when I started up this blog. 

I intended to create a way for me to talk with absolute honesty about what it’s like to personally live with an androgenic disorder, without worrying about how that honesty (which might at times be ugly as I'd never, ever properly expressed myself regarding hirsutism before) would reflect on other areas of my online life.  The blog's been great for that.  It’s also been great for giving me courage to connect with other ladies in similar circumstances and find useful resources for support.

But in a way, it’s kept hirsutism compartmentlaized; separate from the rest of my life.  It's had the benefit of allowing me to flush out the frustration in a place where people who see it will understand utterly and completely.  It has also cultivated an awareness in me that hirsutism is really a small part of my life.  Small enough that I sometimes run out of things to say about it.  And in some respects, it’s nice to have it over here so I can only think or talk about it when I want to.  But it also means that when I come over here, it’s all I think or talk about.  And that’s overwhelming sometimes.  So overwhelming that when I feel fragile or very stressed, I avoid this place completely.  I apologize for that.

Having hirsutism as the primary aspect of this online identity also means that those who are drawn to Allerleirah in respects to friending me or following me or subscribing to me are drawn to me because of the hair.  That’s kind of a weird experience, when you think about it.  A person you met face-to-face on the street would likely not be drawn to you if you were sporting a few days of stubble on your chin.  That’s kind of the crux of the anxiety we feel as hirsute women.  In a way, that’s lifted off you when you’re open about it online.  Being Allerleirah has been great for meeting women with whom I have these struggles in common, and in fact being inspired and taught by them.  And it’s been great for being introduced to people who are genuinely curious and trying to understand this bizarre situation of being a woman with a beard.  But on the other hand, as a woman talking openly about body hair, being interested in it and being able to grow a good deal more of it than most women, I’ve at times become an object of fetishism. 

Perhaps sometimes being the subject of an erotic fixation is what I’ve been finding particularly discouraging.  And maybe I shouldn’t--after all, would I be miffed if someone was attracted to me because they first noticed above all else that I had blond hair?  How silly is it to say, “Hey, don’t notice me because of something I’ve done on purpose!”  (Not to say I’m hirsute on purpose, but I’ve made it public deliberately, just as I dye my hair deliberately.)

I think it troubles me because I feel like I’m merely part of a collection of things that someone finds pleasing.  I guess that’s nice on some level, because girls like us easily doubt our desirableness.  However, being hirsute is just a physical trait.  It’s not who I am.  The effects of hirsutism are, such as lack of self-confidence or being less judgmental about what others look like.  But I doubt that’s why I’m in the collection.

And if that's a bad thing, it’s my fault for presenting myself as “Allerleirah the bearded lady” and having this whole corner of the internet just for that.  But like everybody else in this world, I want to be appreciated as an individual.  And I know most of you here are here because the blog gives you encouragement and solidarity.  It gives it back to me, too, for which I will ever be grateful.  I shouldn’t let a little trichophilia get under my skin.  It’s nice that they have a taste for the unique, and I shouldn’t take that personally either positively or negatively.  I need to remember the feeling of being your hirsute sister, one of many, and at the end of the day, I know who I am and why I ought to be appreciated.  :)

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