November 17, 2010


The other evening I was invited to a "Girl's Night" with the family. I've never really done such a thing before, so I was curious about what it would entail. I was definitely nervous, but I see some of my family so rarely that I'm willing to put up with most anything to see them. We had all been given hints that make-up would be involved, and I just prayed it would not include someone else getting up close and personal with my face. It seems like my skin has changed overnight, and the methods I've been using to make my concealer go on smoothly no longer work. I've been extra self conscious lately.

Most of the evening was filled with intentionally embarrassing but innocuous games. I think the worst thing I had to do was roll across the floor, which excited the puppy into trying to hump my head. When it came to the make-up, it was just a challenge to put on as much as possible in two minutes, without a mirror. I'd already been to work, so my usual make-up was already in place, and I was certainly concerned about having to wash it all off afterward. That was the plan, it turned out, followed by mud masks and foot soaks. Slight panic.

I pleaded sensitive skin--which is true, to a point. Fortunately, the games had run late, we were tired, and no one insisted. We put our feet into warm water smelling of grapefruit, and then someone asked what the problem was with my skin. Dang, I'd forgotten one of them used to be an Avon lady.

I want to blame this partially on fatigue--I've been painting my room and sleeping (or rather trying to sleep) on the couch, and it had been an exhausting week. Or perhaps it was the camaraderie that grows between women who have done numerous undignified things in front of one another. But the words: "Well, I have to shave my face every day" were right there on my lips, in danger of taking flight. I can't believe how close I come to blurting it out sometimes.

But I always draw back. The more I blog and get to know other amazing girls and women who face the same things I do, the less I think about it as a physical flaw to be ashamed of. In my head it's becoming more of a health condition, and goodness knows I was aware of everyone else's medical history in that room. Some of the ladies surrounding me that night have some real health challenges, debilitating and terminal. Why was I hiding this little thing away? It would be so nice to tell them, to educate them if their minds clicked over into the cultural norm of "Ew", and maybe make them feel even less alone to know that I have difficulties too. But I've gone so long without telling anyone. I wonder if secret-keeping is an addiction?

Anyway, I answered the question vaguely, complaining of dryness and flakiness and irritation, and latching on to childhood skin problems as a way to divert from the challenges I have now. The conversation took off from there, and in the end we didn't even do pedicures after the foot soak. We sat and talked and ate cake until it was so late I was literally falling asleep in my chair. I went home with my little secret in tact, but I have to admit I felt a little emptier for not sharing it. Is it that hard to trust people? Is it worth the risk to trust them?


Becky said...

Been there.

Last week I told a group of 30 ladies about my beard. Their response was compassionate, but not just that. They *related*. They loved having someone to talk to about their own little mustache fuzz who understood how they felt. One gal gave me her entire history of all the hair on every part of her body! TMI!

You mentioned trusting people... I have a different take on what sharing your beard is about. I don't think it's about trusting people. People really aren't that trustworthy. I think it's more about accepting yourself. If you're okay with who you are, you can talk about your beard whether the hearer is trustworthy or not, because their opinion of you has no effect on your opinion of yourself.

Allerleirah said...

Accepting yourself. I love that. That should be what it's about!!