Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bearded Beauty: You Are Not Alone

Bearded BeautyThere are all kinds of hirsute women. There are those who pluck, wax, shave, bleach, electrocute, zap, and war against their unwanted hair with fierce determination. And there are those who hide. Or give up. Today, I am writing to any who relate to that.

Hello, you. I care about you.

I imagine you sitting with a turtleneck pulled up to the bottom of your lower lip. Or fidgeting with the stubble on your chin.

You tried to stem the growth of thick, black hair on your face at first, but the thicker your beard became, the uglier you felt.

You felt horrified when you forgot what it was like to have a smooth cheek.

You gasped with ashamed fascination as your stubble scraped the mouthpiece on your phone's receiver, wondering if your friend on the other end would ask what was making that sound.

You tried electrolysis, laser hair removal, plucking, waxing, bleaching, hormone medication, everything. Nothing worked.

You got angry. You wanted to know what kind of cruel, sadistic God would do this to you.

You felt outcast by society. You shuddered as you thought about how closely you resembled the stereotypical bearded lady. You knew you belonged in the circus because you saw yourself as a freak show.

Your beard became to you an Ugly Badge that preceded you wherever you went. You were sure everyone noticed, and you knew the stares were directed toward you.

Your doctor shrugged, after testing you for all the causes of hirsutism, and told you, "It's embarrassing, but it's not harmful. Good luck."

You were alone. Totally isolated. Your shallow boyfriend broke up with you. Equally shallow men passed over you, uncomfortable even to converse with you for any length of time. You may have never married. You may have never been kissed.

You felt totally unlovely, and utterly unloved.

So you went into hiding. Or you gave up. Nothing you tried mattered anyway. You quit going out in public unless it was absolutely necessary. Or you just went ahead and let your beard grow, enduring the stares. Staring back insolently, or ducking your head and retreating. Or ignoring, as you were ignored.

And suddenly, quite by accident, you realized one day that your life was completely controlled by the hair on your face. And now you're stuck there.

Before we spiral into a cesspool of total despair, break away from this depressing vortex and hear what I am saying to you:

You are not alone. I am with you, and I care about you. I know your pain, and I understand your shame.

I want you know that there is hope. Not just for your appearance, but for healing in your heart. It may seem unfathomable right now, but I promise you can actually feel truly beautiful.

To that end, I am offering you friendship. And unconditional acceptance. Please write to me. Be alone no longer.