blessed cursed with something known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Among the symptoms are-
Symptoms include menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity.
People may experience:
Menstrual: abnormal menstruation, absence of menstruation, heavy menstruation, irregular menstruation, short and light menstruation, or spotting
Weight: obesity, overweight, or weight gain
Skin: acne or oily skin
Also common: infertility, depression, inappropriate male features, loss of scalp hair, or unwanted hair
Sounds like a party you want to be invited to right? I can still remember the day I was diagnosed. I was 18 years old, and devastated. The doctor really stressed how difficult it would be to have children. The only thing I ever wanted in my whole life. I was infertile. My son was conceived via InVitro Fertilization. My daughter was a miracle that we are still confounded about 7 years later.
I obviously have weight gain….duh. As for menstruation TMI but I had a hysterectomy for reasons related to the PCOS and others. So hey at least there’s no problems there anymore.
My skin is dry not oily thanks to the bladder meds I take – so another win, right?
Depression- huh (insert sarcasm)
Loss of scalp hair- check. I seem to be losing it in 2 ways, one a receding hairline, as well as an all around general thinning. Not to mention I am more than 40% gray, and have several white eyelashes.
Which brings us to the topic of this post unwanted hair. Oh yes. Specifically facial hair. I can mostly hide the other places where hair grows or remove it. But my face is a problem. I don’t want to shave, I have seen how hair thickens, and grows closer together looking more manish- so I pluck, each and every last hair on my chin, cheeks, sideburns, upper lip and lower lip. It’s getting harder and harder with my carpal tunnel, I can’t feel the tweezers and I often grab skin and pull because I am so numb.
Tonight I asked my husband if he thought if I shaved just this once it would ruin all I have been working on since I was in 7th grade? He said no. But I still plucked 90% of it. I couldn’t risk it. I have tried nair, bleach, plucking, waxing, none of it is fun, none of it without it’s side effects. All I know is when I realize I went too long before plucking I am mortified. That happened today. I was walking into the bathroom I looked in that huge vanity mirror we discussed in an earlier post and I could see my “beard” from the other side of the room.
All I could think about was the fact that I went to see Mary Poppins today, and not only was my hair greasy from not showering today, I just wasn’t up to it, but I looked like I belonged in the circus. I was mortified. And when I asked my husband about his razor I felt I had hit a new low. I started crying. I can feel the tears stinging my eyes right now.
I have seen women out there that do nothing about theirs, I have seen women I know who shave, and they are so brave. For me it’s my shameful secret, I can think of an handful of people I have ever talked to about this in my entire life.
I wish I could say there are only a handful of people who know about it, people see it every day. Hubby says no, that no one notices. But he wasn’t there in middle school when I would hear a certain boy call me “big guy” and rub his mustache (or where his would be had he had one). He wasn’t there when my dad told me I really needed to do something about my sideburns and mustache. I was maybe 11 or 12, and I can picture exactly the places I was when I heard “big guy” from down the hallway (I was also overweight)…. I can remember escaping into the bathroom to have a good cry. I remember hating myself.
I don’t know if I ever remember a time when I didn’t hate myself. When I had someone on my side, that had me convinced I was ok. I do now, but the damage is done. I spent the first 17 years of my life being made fun of at home and at school. Hearing how I was nothing, a zero, a she-man, a fool, ugly, fat, stupid, numb. Those are my labels. Not too long ago I posted on my Facebook wall asking for people to give me a label. Every one of them was good- of course they were like someone is going to put idiot, fatty or hairy on another adults wall, but I wrote them all down, I looked them over and tucked them away. I don’t feel like they belong to me. I feel like they belong to some other version of me. Not the version I live, not the version I feel like.
I know as a Christian I am supposed to define myself by who I am in Christ, but it’s so hard to undo all those years of taunts and things I believed as truths. That’s when my brain was the most influenced. It’s just like they say little kids learn things like foreign languages faster than others because their brains are sponges… it works in reverse too. Those sponges pick up the dirt you serve them. And if you have ever cleaned your kitchen sponge after it starts to smell you know that no matter how many cycles you run it through the washing machine and dryer, the microwave or the dishwasher, the smell never completely comes out. I think it’s the same with people. I don’t know that I will ever completely let go of the horrible labels that were given to me as a child. I just can’t even imagine what it would be without those labels.
When I look at myself in the mirror I look and see someone who is fat, ugly, unhappy, hairy (unless I just plucked), graying, losing my hair. I can’t even tell you a good feature of my face. I am not joking, or exaggerating- if you asked me my best feature I couldn’t answer, at one point in time it was my collar bones – I was so happy to have collar bones you could see, but now, there isn’t a single part of me physically I like. Nonphysically? That I would lay down my life for those I care about. That’s about the best thing I can say about myself.
Wow- this was a poor me post. If you made it this far, you deserve a medal. Im down tonight, between Mary Poppins, some stuff that happened with my dad today (that I will talk about tomorrow- maybe) and the plucking/shaving Im at a low point. So please bear with me.
Until next time…..