I have issues. No big surprise there. Who doesn't, really. I am usually pretty good about keeping said issues in check, but today that was so not the case.
It started this morning when the groupon of the day was $149 for $1000 worth of laser hair removal. It seems innocuous enough, hair removal. People do it all the time. I have thought about doing it. My aunt and mother have both done it. But let me tell you, when I got to thinking about it, it took me on a very slippery slope which ended in tears.
It started back when I was a senior in high school. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was camping at Dorena Lake with my parents and family. My Uncle Don was standing in front of me and grabbed one of my chin hairs, pulled it out and said, "What are you growing a beard?" I was mortified. I understand now that he wasn't trying to be mean or humiliate me, but in that moment, I just wanted to cry.
I had spent my entire life up to that point trying my hardest to fit in, including following every beauty regime possible. Being a fat kid, I was already at risk for being picked on, so I certainly did not want to "create" any other "errors" by not keeping myself in the best cosmetic shape possible. I knew that I was growing more chin and neck hair than I had seen on other girls. I knew that my mother, grandmother and aunts all had struggled with it. They plucked, Nair'ed and used electrolysis to try and remove their facial hair. I was just hoping that no one would notice mine and if I was lucky, I wouldn't have as much.
Unfortunately that would not be the case. As the years have progressed, so has my excess hair growth. In my early 20's I was diagnosed with PCOS, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, of which one of the symptoms is excess hair growth. After my diagnosis, I have had multiple doctors ask me if I was interested in trying medication to slow the growth, but I have really conflicting feelings about ingesting chemicals daily to stop a symptom of a larger issue.
What this has meant for me is that I deal with male patterned hair growth, which totally sucks. I have to shave my chin every couple of days and my chest too. In the summer if I want to wear a bikini, I have to Nair my tummy. When I was dating, it was horrible. I was so self conscious about it. What would a potential partner think? When do I not shave daily, so that they see what it looks like and decide if they want to be with me? I remember the first time Alan "caught" me shaving my chin in the shower, I felt humiliated. It seems ridiculous when I say it out loud, but it's my constant struggle.
How could someone find me attractive like this, is a question I struggle with often. When Alan touches my face, I sometimes cringe because I don't want him to feel the roughness. I was so worried that all my wedding pictures would be lovely, except for the shadow my facial hair leaves (thank you SO much emilyg for making me look gorgeous!) I was listening recently to a panel of Trans folks talk about the importance of having their outsides match their insides - and felt for a moment that I could relate. Every morning when I look in the mirror, I struggle. Some days it's easier when my face is smooth and I am having a good hair and make-up day. Others, I just want to cry and feel so frustrated and angry to look the way I do.
It's funny, one would think that being a fat girl in our society, that my one wish would to have a skinny body. Honestly, that desire RARELY crosses my mind - most often when I am thinking about the hassles of "flying while fat" but that is a topic for another day. What crosses my mind on a daily basis - get this excess facial hair off me!!
So I have been staring at this groupon all day thinking, should I do it? What if it doesn't work? Then my dream of not having to deal with this is kinda over. I also think - for christ sake Olivia, get over yourself. You are happy, for the most part healthy, you have a wonderful husband, sweet step son and all in all, lovely life. Quit bitching about a few (ok, a lot more than few) pieces of hair. But it's more than that. It means "getting over" a lot of "issues" that I am still just figuring out and that I know will take a while. In the mean time, I may just give it a try. The groupon deal is up all this weekend, so I have some time to keep thinking it through...