July 28, 2010
Hiding with Hair and the Sucky Social Subtext
Just for this last little while, I've had so many days of work in a row that my chin is crying out for a break. Today is my only chance. I was so looking forward to it, and I made sure no one had plans that would oblige me to leave the house, and warned my mother that I would not be shaving so she would dissuade any last minute plans to go out as a family coming from other members of the house. We're actually not really big on going out to do things as a family, but it always seems to be my luck that when the urge strikes, I'm trying to give my skin a holiday from the razor.
My mother can be a really great advocate sometimes. And other times... well, not so much.
I remember once, she went out to visit my aunt for the morning, and things snowballed into an invite to have everybody over for dinner that night. Well, I hadn't shaved that day, and if I shaved that evening I would not have a very successful shave in the morning for work when I really needed it. I told my mother to pass on my regrets, but anyone who knows my aunt would know this would not be the end of it. Apparently the excuse given was, "She needs some time to herself." My mother didn't bother to defend me while my aunt later accused me (in a joking way that meant she was offering serious criticism) of being antisocial. I was a shy child, and as an adult I've been trying to reverse this impression she seems to have that I didn't like her when I was young. That attempt took a backward step that day.
But back to yesterday morning, I declared my intent to stay home and be beardy. My mother had been considering taking the long drive out to visit her dad, and everybody always goes together as this is a rare treat--but she agreed this wasn't the best time to do it. However that evening, she said she had changed her mind and everybody was going to go down the next day. I urgently tried to remind her that I had not planned on going, and she replied with a mother's classic: "You don't have to come," which translates into plain English as: "If you don't come you will be exposed to ridicule." I pretended not to see the subtext and will take what comes.
I admit a lot of my frustration tends to come from knowing I'm letting my hirsutism cut me off from my family. But at the same time, we have so much opportunity to do things as a family; why does it have to be this particular day, when it's already established that I won't want to go? It makes me feel antisocial, like I'm a bad granddaughter for choosing to be hairy and cloister myself.
That's one thing I don't like about summer. I am getting better at handling the smaller clothes that come with the warm weather, but the family also gears up to spend more time together, and the merits of planning ahead seem to melt away with the snow. Not too long ago it was put before me to go camping in conjunction with our bigger vacation--but the question came from my mother. In front of everybody. There was the obvious impediment that I wouldn't be able to get the extra time off work, but my mind flew to what I felt should have been obvious to her: that camping is uncomfortable for me, as hair removal is a lot less convenient, and it saps the joy out of the experience. I think I cranked out a flabbergasted "No...?" after which she openly disparaged me while the rest of the family listened.
Yes... Yes I know it is my choice to let hirsutism rule certain parts of my life, even after a decade. I know that I put the way I look on a higher priority than it should be. But I also know I'm not alone in this. Even people without such obvious limitations won't go out without make-up or if they don't have clothes they feel they look good in. And I also know a family should be able to accept someone's limitations, even self-imposed ones. This is why it's so hard to trust them with the truth. My own mother can't seem to remember them.
I mean, if you're cooking a meal for your family, you remember the kinds of foods they don't like or are allergic to. Is the beard on my face more subterranean than that?
That should be a good thing, right?
Right, rant done, I feel better. Today is another beautiful day. Man is my chin itchy...