submitted by mollikia:
TW: body hair, hirsutism, body shaming, depression, cutting, suicide, doctor bullshit.
I have hirsutism.
It’s a side effect of genes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
My nickname in middle school was “gorilla” because my mother would not let me shave my legs in the sixth grade and being in a Catholic school at the time all girls had to wear skirts and tights were only allowed in the winter months. The signs of PCOS became super obvious around age twelve- I had terrible acne, a wonky menstrual cycle and body hair that is typically associated with boys. I hid my shame beneath pants, sweaters, long sleeve shirts and never looking straight at anyone because maybe they wouldn’t notice the hair on my face.
I told people I wasn’t a touchy-feely person and went without bodily contact for most of my childhood and teen years (I was a fat kid and a hairy teenager), so I could delude myself into thinking if they didn’t feel it they couldn’t see it. I was always hyper aware of what parts of me could be seen. In gym class I would break the rules constantly by changing in a bathroom stall so I wouldn’t have to let people see my secret. No matter how many times a teacher caught me and punished me for it, I’d still be trying to get to some place where I could hide myself. I could not look at myself in the shower because if I did I would obsess over my biggest flaw. My friends would joke about my thick eyebrows (which at the time I was not allowed to pluck or wax) not realizing that how much it hurt.
There were times I would just sit and cry in my room hating myself because how could anyone love or accept a horrifying hairy monster like me? This happened a lot more than I like to admit. I started showing signs of severe depression when I was eleven and started cutting when I was twelve. The signs were written off by my parents as me acting out because I was mad we were moving again; which we did every three years due to my dad being in the army. I wasn’t properly diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder until I was sixteen and willingly put in a mental hospital because I was suicidal and had a plan that I intended to go through with at that point. The hospital exacerbated my issues worse because the sole focus was that I liked chicks and being homogay is bad and evil. I also wasn’t allowed a razor to shave (for obvious reasons) and the other girls in the ward kept asking me why I was so hairy.
The few times I drunkenly had sex (with girls) as a teenager I was always completely dressed and doing most of the touching. My mother questioned if my attraction to females was because of my hormone imbalance or if I just thought women would be more accepting of my “flaw”. I questioned if I could truly be a woman with all this unnatural body hair.
I went to five sessions of laser hair removal and no dramatic difference was made. The last session ended with me getting pretty bad burns all over my jaw and neck three days before my senior year started.
I went to an endocrinologist who prescribe me a pill to lower the high male hormone levels due to PCOS and told me to stop being such a fatass. In those words. The pill didn’t work, and the endocrinologist wouldn’t do anything until I lost weight. My general doctor would not but me on birth control because a side effect was weight gain. At that point, at currently, I was a size 12 in pants at 5’0.
The relationships I did have were either short-lived or sabotaged them because I thought I was unworthy of love. The last relationship I was in was especially bad, due to the guy I was with being emotionally and mentally abusive and cheating on me for eight months (that I know of) of the two and a half year relationship. I was not without fault in the relationship by any means and it didn’t help that we moved in together way to fast. He told me he didn’t mind the body hair issue, but would constantly comment on how beautiful his exes and other women were. When he cheated I was blamed, by both him and his friends, because I wasn’t having sex with him enough. I stayed with him for six more months after the cheating debacle because I was scared that if I left him, no one else would want me. I had deluded myself into believing that he truly accepted me and that if I didn’t have him, no one else would want me.
I had bought into the idea that my worth as a human could only be measured by how attractive I was and the amount of people that wanted to fuck me. I was so hyper focused on my flaws- being fat and hairy, that I thought I was a disgusting creature that didn’t even deserve any kind of human decency. And while I have left a lot of experiences out in this submission because there are still things I would rather not remember, I still feel like I needed to talk about this. Because whether it’s genetic, a side effect of a health issue, or anything else you do not have to define yourself by the fact that society demands women to all to look like hairless pre-pubescent children. And living in a society that had a super narrow definition about what is okay for women to look like, this is a rarely discussed topic.
I shave my face because I can’t look at myself in the mirror with facial hair. I shave my arms because I want to wear cute feminine shirts and I hate the hair on my arms.
I’m not okay with my body hair and I’m not sure I’ll ever be accepting of it. But that doesn’t mean I’ll let anyone else demean me, or talk shit about anyone else with hirsutism. I’m still a woman, and I’m still human and deserve to be treated and treat myself as such.