After I made the video about my third treatment, something surprising happened. I was in the kitchen with my step-sister, cleaning up for the night, when a voice trailed in from the laundry room. I couldn’t make out a word of it, and called out, “Pardon?” But my step-sister had heard it clearly and repeated what had been said to me.
Feeling a little abashed, I laughed my partial deafness off as part of my burgeoning sinus infection, and to support the argument, I proceeded to tell my step-sister how I’d had to get the laser technician to repeat almost everything she said to me that afternoon as well.
“Why were you seeing a laser technician?” she asked. And then I realized what I’d done.
“Laser hair removal,” I said, as lightly as I could manage. “That’s why my face was so red when I came in.” Instead of staying in my room after I made the video, I’d taken my ice pack downstairs to the couch and plunked myself down with the family. I never do that.
“I didn’t even notice,” she said. And we haven’t talked about it since.
Somehow, starting laser hair removal again has caused me to let my guard down. I told a coworker I was going to the consultation because I was terribly nervous, I told my cousin about my problems with body hair when she had her wisdom teeth out the same day as one of my treatments.
And now I’ve told my step-sister, someone I’ve lived with for almost nine years now without telling. I did expect her to know that I’m hirsute, though. I had to bleach my face in front of her one day when we were traveling and I couldn’t keep the bathroom to myself, and told her it was just cream. She’s shared a home bathroom with me for ages and has seen all the weird shaving apparatus I have, and surely she’s noticed it all gets wet in the morning when I say I’m going to “wash my face.” And as I’ve started to get more accepting of my hair, I’ve ventured outside my room when I’ve taken shaving breaks and even gone so far as to make dinner for everyone with a day or two of shadow on my chin and jaw. But apparently she never looked close enough. I think very few people actually do.
But why is it when we start to do something about our hirsutism we feel better talking about it? I’ve noticed that’s often when women start their blogs or make their videos. Somehow, knowing we’re getting command over our situation, or even that our situation might eventually be gone (or reduced significantly), gives us bizarre amounts of courage. I figured I had a pretty good handle on acceptance of myself, but now that laser has been reducing my issue, I’m out of control! My secret’s slipping out all over the place. And not a backlash to be seen.
We all appreciate knowing about the challenges of those we’re close to, right? It has enriched my love and respect of others to learn about their chronic pain, traumatic memories, anxiety and depression, and more. When we see them going about their days as if nothing’s wrong, it is very inspiring. As Peter S Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn) says, “Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed.” Our struggles, even if minor in comparison, might be just the thing to encourage someone else out of bed in the morning. So many people are like that for me. It's important to share, if and when we can.