I am going camping. Yep, I’ve committed.
And not long after I did, I felt a surge of panic. I’d have to go into a spider-infested shower stall every day to awkwardly shave without a mirror. Other women would complain I’m taking too long. My skin would be terrible. I’d be avoiding peoples' cameras. I’d dread waking up every morning to do it all again.
I can’t do this. This won’t be a vacation.
The feeling hasn’t stopped with time. I’ve been getting waves of doubt and worry intermittently since. I’ve tried to distract myself by buying some cute new swimsuits, and reminding myself that I have a right to feel good about myself as I am and no one should be able to prevent me. Not the people I’ll be camping with, not the impatient women in the campsite washroom, or me when I look at photos of myself. I’ve told myself my self esteem and my skills at hair removal have changed a lot since the last time I went camping. Thanks to my medication, the severity of my hirsutism and acne have improved, and I'm more comfortable with stubble than I ever was before. Even my family has changed in that time. And I’ve been to this campsite before, so I know exactly what to expect of the facilities.
So between moments of alarm, I’m working on mentally preparing myself. How do I know I’ll be mocked this time for being so adamant about showering every morning? What if I shaved over one of the sinks of the campsite bathroom where I’d have a mirror, so everyone could see exactly what I'm doing and why it takes so long in the shower? How can I be sure I couldn’t endure the curious looks? Heck, my morning ablutions could turn into my own personal educational demonstration on what so many women have to go through in secret.
But I don’t think I should be using all my prep-work to obsess about my hirsutism. That’s not what a holiday is for. I’m supposed to be looking forward to the things I’ll see and do. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten at a campfire, talking and laughing with the smell of woodsmoke in my nostrils. I can only distantly remember the morning fog clinging to the lake and the mug of instant Swiss Mocha coffee mix to stave off the cold. I used to love clinging to a biscuit dragged behind a motorboat until my arms got tired and I would fly off into the freezing lake. And I’ve totally forgotten what it’s like to be cut off from technology and work and responsibilities, and just lie on a beach and read.
I have to think about why I felt the urge to go in the first place. This is supposed to be fun. I must refuse to let hirsutism get in the way of that. If I refuse hard enough, maybe it will be so.