November 26, 2008

Looking Forward

I hope the laser hair removal entries helped some readers. I know from experience the amount of curiosity surrounding the procedure. If anyone has any questions that weren't answered in those two posts, don't be shy. I will do my best to answer them. But just because I suffered through it doesn't make me the expert. I'm in the same boat with you all. ;-)

I apologize for not updating last week. I've started to become fashionably morose on my birthday. You know how it is on sit coms, when a woman moons over all the things she hasn't attained yet--wedding, babies, etc. Should a girl be doing that at 23? Please!

I had such a rough time last year, turning 22 and hating the way I looked. I was experimenting with astringent skin products at the time, thinking that if zits became one less thing I had to worry about, I'd be so much happier. The products were drying me out and making my sensitive complexion even worse. I actually broke down in a restaurant after a day out shopping because I felt so miserable about my appearance. I thought, "Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?" The situation has been better since I've figured out a few things that my skin likes (see this entry for products I currently won't do without), but still, the age of 23 rolls around and I'm as bearded as I ever was.

Of course it makes me think I can't get a date, let alone a wedding, even though I know that's not entirely true. For the most part, I'm far too particular, and far too stand-offish in first impressions. Those are things that have nothing to do with hirsutism, but added all together, I get to thinking with cloying self pity how much of a romantic pariah I am. And don't even get me started on children. What if my hirsutism is hereditary? Could I risk imparting that to my children and have them go through these fluctuating times of hope and shame?

It even influences travel, which is something else I really enjoy. I have a hard time camping in its truest sense. ("What do you mean there are no showers?!") I feel limited about any place where I might need to wear shorts or swim suits. And the change in lighting in a hotel bathroom, or the fact that the sink and mirror may be out in the open where whoever I'm rooming with can witness my required ablutions, are also factors.

So I need to seriously pep talk myself into a better state of mind. This physical detail does not bodily prevent me from these things I feel like I'm missing. It's the way I feel about it that prevents me. I need to either be okay with that, or find a way to control that.

So I haven't had a proper date in five years? A lot of that is because I'm picky about personalities, or have been too busy with post secondary education, or because I've never been the kind of person to risk embarrassment my sharing my feelings first. If the dry flaky skin or outbreaks from shaving repel a guy, I should be thankful. He's not someone I would have found lasting happiness with anyway.

I also try to think about all the things I've done, to remind me that there's even more to be done out there. I've galloped on a beach and swam with dolphins. I've made it through modeling and dance auditions (I know, I was surprised, too!) I've written first drafts of novels and earned a bachelor's degree. I've rode some of the biggest roller coasters in Texas and been to famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Chichen Itza. I can't help but smile to think about the things that have thrilled me over the relatively short time I've been alive. The beard is a large part of me, but it's not everything about me. I should be grateful, not disappointed. I should be optimistic, not defeated.

And there it is, a nutshell version of what I've been telling myself this past week. Because as soon as my inner dialogue circles around the thought, "Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?"--fearing showing my skin, battling every day to get the closest shave I can and then get foundation to lay smoothly over it, feeling terrified when talking to a handsome man, making vacation plans around the plumbing arrangements--I need to smack myself.

Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like? For goodness sakes, I'm lucky!

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