The human body is beautiful.
It can also be terrifying.
Many of us understand little about what makes our fleshy meat sacks function. We feel even more helpless when there is a dis-function, especially if an embarrassing symptom occurs.
As a teenager, like most, I was experiencing a host of hormone changes and through conversations with my mom, or girlfriends, I was kinda prepared for most of them.
One day however, I looked in the mirror and saw something horrifying….something that I knew for certain wasn’t supposed to be there.
My mind began racing…
None of the other girls were talking about this? None of the tv commercials, or magazines mentioned this as part of the “blessings of becoming a woman” package??
I didn’t have The Google to rattle off my concern and wait in anonymous silence for answers to bring relief and be assured I wasn’t alone.
But I was alone and I felt like a monster.
One with hair growing out of its chin!…..like, a lot of hair.
I was disgusted and dared not bring it up in case I’d have to witness the shock on someone else’s face further confirming I was an outcast and should be sent off to live out the rest of my days secluded from the smooth, hairless chinned beauties.
That thought seems extreme, right?
Well, not when you’re 15. To be safe I remained quiet and decided I would try to get rid of it. I didn’t want to shave my face as I’d heard somewhere that hair grows back thicker which seemed counterproductive. My skin was sensitive, so Nair was outta the question. I landed on waxing and picked up a package of Sally Hansen’s pre-waxed strips.
I locked the bathroom door behind me and proceeded to lay a strip on each side of my face (outer cheeks) and on each side of my chin. This isn’t so hard.
Upon ripping the first one off I realized mistakes were made. I should have tried one strip first to see how my skin would react, but it was too late for that. Besides, I had no idea what I was doing, or what to expect….maybe this was normal? Beauty is pain…heh heh- I ripped the other three strips off and got close to the mirror for inspection.
Hmmm….it took some of the hair, but mostly just my skin. Great.
I used the soothing blue liquid that came with the kit to help relieve the sting.
It didn’t work and for two days I walked around with four red, perfectly rectangular marks on my face that makeup couldn’t hide. When people asked what happened I chalked it up to a curling iron incident. No one even questioned the validity of such a thing, because clearly….it was ridiculous.
So, for years I stuck with plucking. The older I grew the thicker and quicker the hair would grow. Plucking became an obsession and panic ensued if I ever found myself without tweezers. I once schlepped from one drug store to the next in Hollywood for an entire afternoon until I found the right kind.
And if I wasn’t plucking I was picking…all day, every day.
Doing this for over 15yrs has really f’d up the skin on my chin. You’d rarely catch me without makeup on and don’t even dare touch my face.
As part of overhauling my unhealthy lifestyle and claiming a more natural one I stopped taking birth control a few years back. I went without a period for nine months and so I scheduled an appointment with a gyno. After looking over my lady parts and performing an ultra sound he determined that I had PCOS.
I immediately went home and typed PCOS into The Googs. I jumped from one article to the next and every forum in-between.
“PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, and is one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women…5-10% of women of childbearing age are affected by PCOS, with less than 50% of women diagnosed.…Women suffering from PCOS may experience high testosterone levels, which cause other signs and symptoms such as Hirsutism (excessive hair growth), male pattern baldness and acne. This high level of testosterone can also prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month.”
Well HOT DAMN! Not only did this make so much sense, I wasn’t alone!
OK, now what?
I continued to make dietary changes that helped with other PCOS symptoms, but did little for my chiny-chin-chin and while it was comforting to know there are a ton of hairy faced women in the world, their candidness was shared mostly behind a computer. Bringing it up around girlfriends or better yet the opposite sex was still a no no, at least for me.
I tried different medications, but either they upset my stomach, or would take months before seeing MAYBE a difference. I was put back on birth control and told that was my best course of action.
Ok. I’m not a monster, I’m not alone, I had a reason, and yet nothing changed. This is how I deal with it. Pluck’n and a pick’n. Forever.
Then I heard about a hair removal technique called threading.
“In threading, a thin (cotton or polyester) thread is doubled, then twisted. It is then rolled over areas of unwanted hair, plucking the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing, where single hairs are pulled out one at a time, threading can remove short lines of hair.”
Here’s a clip for those who haven’t heard of it before.
I live just a few blocks from a place that offers it and have walked passed 1,000 times. Still, the fear of embarrassment kept me from trying it out.
Logic told me that someone who removes hair for a living has done more than eyebrows, but my insecurity told me to shut up and hide my ape chin.
Like I said before, I’ve made a lot of healthy changes over the last 6 years. My skin has completely cleared up thanks to dietary changes, taking a killer probiotic and daily dousing my face in my homemade coconut oil concoction (I’ll share that with y’all on a later post).
Finally! Clear. Glowing. Skin…..except for this beard. I was fed up and I headed over to see the threadist.
The place is not big and you could easily miss it amongst the mirage of shops that line Hollywood Blvd. It has one big picture window with a barber chair parked on the other side of it. Ya know, for all the looky Lou’s to be entertained. I walked in and was greeted by the owner who was the only person there at the time and declared to her that I needed a threading.
Um…how about my face? I need a whole face threading? I replied quietly while I waved my hand over my face as if she wouldn’t know where it was located.
She looked me over, told me $25 and to have a seat.
I sat down and braced myself for the pain and potential looks of disgust once she got up close. She started in on my forehead and began working her way around. Tears formed at the corner of my eyes by the stinging sensation left after each wave of her hands. I could feel little hairs raining down on me like I was living out a scene from Edward Scissorhands.
Good lord….I didn’t think there was that much??
She abruptly stopped working on my chin and faced me with a stern look. Uh oh….this is the part where she calls me a freak…
But instead she yells – Why? Why have you done this to yourself? Your skin looks so beautiful everywhere else, but then here?”
I let out a heavy sigh and revealed how mortified I had been and spent the last 15yrs plucking and covering it up. I started to complain about insecurities, and PCOS, and blah blah blah….when she cut me off and said, “No. YOU. You have done this to you”. She grabbed a mirror and meticulously pointed out the ingrown hairs and explained how it was a result of tweezing. She explained how threading is effective and pulls from the root without harming the skin, or leaving craters behind.
She continued, “I understand, I do. Look at my face! (She pulled back her hair) Look at these pimples! Every day I look in the mirror and think yuk! I’ve never had acne and now I’m 40+….I have THIS! I think it’s all people see….. I get it, but you should not tweeze. Go home and throw them out. See me and after a few months it will be so much better.”
I was a little stunned. In other words –You think you’re the only one with insecurities?! Stop hiding and let me help you!
Being vulnerable around anyone is hard! She didn’t have to open up about her insecurity just because I was being a whiny ‘lil betch. She didn’t have to relate. She could have been silent while she took my hair along with my money and sent me on my way.
But I’m grateful she wasn’t.
Now it was my turn…I asked her more details about her recent acne and any other hormonal related symptoms. I told her I worked in the supplement department at a health food store and had samples I could bring her to try and alleviate what sounded like pre-menopausal symptoms.
She was excited to try something natural just as I was excited to finally feel natural….I mean like straight out of the womb, smooth as a baby’s butt, not an unwanted hair on my face kind of natural!
I told Pretty (that’s her name) I’d be back in a few days and she told me to go ice down my face…my sensitive, white skin was not forgiving. It looked like I had a botched facial with a side of sunburn.
With more errands to run I walked next door to a carry-out and asked the clerk if they had Popsicle’s. I was in the store 30min earlier to pull cash from the ATM, so I wasn’t surprised when he looked up at me with shock and concern.
He pointed to the freezer, I grabbed 2, paid the man and smiled (winced probably) as I walked out. I went a few blocks then turned to look at my reflection in a vacant store window to see if the redness had gone down.
Instead what I saw was me..
Standing with an unopened Popsicle slapped against each cheek..
And the shirt I threw on earlier that day before I left my apartment. I laughed as I read the big, bold white letters, “LIVING THE DREAM”.
Ah yes….just dreamy.
Whether you’re age 15, 33, or 44 and beyond, it’s likely you’ve felt like a monster.
There are none though.
The only thing hiding in the closet is ego and pride. At the end of the day…We’re just a bunch of confused and insecure meat sacks wandering around trying to navigate through life the best we can.
Every now and then we have the chance to speak up and help each other out.
I’m going back in a few days for a touch-up. I threw my tweezers away and I’m already DYING to pluck, so for the next few months I’ll be seeing Pretty often. In a few weeks I’ll have an update on her progress with the supplements and if they help her acne or hot flashes (hopefully both!)
Shine on, Friends. Xx