July 29, 2011

A Secret Bursting to Escape

Today was my day off, so I was up early this morning, volunteering with some girls from church.  Five of us, varying in age from 14 to 30, found ourselves waiting in a van and making small talk.  And it was girl talk.  Breast self-exams, when we got our first period, the craziest thing we ever did with our friends.  In fact, I don't think I've ever had such a quintessentially female conversation in my life.

The subject swerved towards beards.  The younger girls voiced no opinion about the degree of facial hair they preferred on men, but some of the older ones knew what they liked and weren't afraid to share.  Goatees, soul patches, mustaches... and then one of them said, "Do you think it's hard for guys to shave their beard every day?  I can't imagine what it's like, it must be such a pain."

Another gal said, "I think they should wax, so it grows back slower.  Can you wax your face?"

"I don't think so, the skin is different on your face than your body.  But can you imagine?  I hate shaving my legs--I'll only shave my legs once a week!  And armpits?  My husband gets so irritated, he hates doing it everyday.  He wants to save up for laser hair removal."

This goes on for several minutes, while I sit in the back, biting my tongue.  Yes, I can imagine, very well.  Yes, you can wax your face.  And no, being hairy like me is the worst.

It felt like a safe place to say so, which made it more difficult.  I trusted most of these girls.  But I can't get past the idea that every time I'm in the same room with them, they'll be looking at me and thinking about me having a gorilla hide under my clothes.

"Guys have it so easy," one lamented.  "They can get away with hair all over.  But being dark-haired and fair-skinned like me is the worst, the hair is so dark on your arms and legs...  The only time off we get is camping."  She looked right at me, as if expecting me to agree.

"How do you mean?" I asked cautiously.

"Well, you have no choice but let it grow, right?  No baths or showers..."

I shrugged weakly, turning it into a joke.  "That's probably why I don't go camping!"

I really do wonder how they would have reacted if I'd told them.  It would certainly be sensational for a few moments.  (This girl has a beard!  A beard!)  They might be a bit curious, ask some questions.  But after that... I'd never know when they'd be thinking about it, what their opinion of me would now be.  Because they'd probably be too polite to say.

We expend so much effort worrying about what other people think.  It makes me tired sometimes!   Especially when I can feel the words building up in my throat, wanting to come out, as if it would relieve some huge burden on my shoulders.  I can actually taste the admission sometimes, thick and hard to swallow back down again.  The thoughts are so loud I wonder if anyone heard them.  And then I try to relax, assuring myself my secret is still safe, and I have total control over who knows, and who will remain blissfully ignorant of what's under my make-up and my clothes.

...Speaking of what's under one's make-up and clothes, I found this to be wonderfully honest:  http://amarilloo.tumblr.com/post/8151302946/appearance


Anonymous said...

Right right right???!!! Sometimes you just want to say it all and get it done! Well, I have been thinking about coming out pretty intensively, as you know, and had so many occassions, especially with a lot of new girly girls starting on my team (i mainly hang around with boy colleagues but most of them have been recently fired...), discussions focus on body issues. I have my answers prepared and my hairs coming out on their own from time to time but I have not yet said IT. This moment will come though, and it will come soon. Yeah, it will be sensational. In the beginning. But think about people you know, the beautiful ones and the ones with their own Problems. When you spend lots of time with someone, work/live/hang around with them, no matter how beautiful or ugly they are, their looks fade away after some time and you dont really see them. Look at those beautiful couples divorcing because they realise all of sudden that it is not, actually, all about looks.
First impressions can shock some. But then again, if they are so shocked they cannot stay in the same relationship with you that they were before your coming out - do you really want to be friends with them??


Allerleirah said...

Pfff, I find it amusing that so many male colleagues have been fired! But it's so true, gals are often talking about their bodies, and it gives one so much opportunity to reveal very personal things about themselves.

It really gets to me when other girls are complaining about their body, and then another girl tries to one-up that with something worse about their body, and it goes on and on from there. We could so easily trump quite a few of them!

Looks do fade away. I don't notice how a lot of them look anymore. It's bizarre to imagine someone would ever stop seeing the beard, and look past it. But exciting!

It's got to be one of the ultimate friendship litmus tests! :D

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'll probably join my male colleagues soon but thats another story...

I KNOW!!! Those girls one-upping which one's got it worse! These are truly the moments that I am most tempted to just say: "uhm..., now look at this." Or when they talk about shaving their arms that really seriously do not need any shaving!...

Truth is, we get used to people, we love (truly love) people, not their bodies. Yes, hormones do their job and of course, we get attracted to some more than others (see: the beauty movie) but in the end, whether a person is kate moss or jennifer miller, we are going to spend our time with them willingly only if we like them. Right? Its just sad its so hard to get to be known when you are a Bearded Lady...

But hey, some (ah, those millions) of my friends do know. And yeah, some had questions but after a couple of weeks after the revelation, they moved on. In the end, its not about them being comfortable with us, its about us being comfortable with them. They should appreciate and value the trust, the "knowing".


Allerleirah said...

Aw, I like that. *nods* It's about us being comfortable with them.

And I guess we're fortunate that, to a point, we can choose who we reveal our secret to. Some cannot hide theirs in order to get to let someone get to know them better...