This is a piece about PCOS (hirsutism) and anxiety, and how it affects day to day life as a woman. Part 1 of 2.
The sunlight beamed through the dark, closed blinds as I laid as still as a corpse, trying to ignore the start of yet another day. I know what lies ahead but part of my brain tries to quickly silence the approaching storm in my head with revolting positivity. Thoughts such as “I have a lot to live for” or “it’s going to get better eventually” are running amok through my overcast mind. I look over to my dog, Olivia, for affirmation as she raises her head, ready as ever to start the day. It’s time to wake up, whether I like it or not. At this point she’s pawing at the side of my bed as if to say, “C’mon, it’s a beautiful day and another adventure awaits!”. Yeah right, if only she was remotely vocal. Although, come to think of it, maybe it’s for the best that she isn’t. Can you imagine if dog barks were a constant nagging “let’s play ball!” or “let’s go for a walk”? No, thank you. As I’m questioning my stance on talking dogs, Olivia starts whimpering. Okay, that’s enough, it’s time to wake up.
After the long struggle that has lasted well over ten minutes, I finally manage to get the covers off and accept the fact that I’ve got to get moving. I head on over to the bathroom and stare at my reflection in the mirror as I notice a five o’clock shadow. As per usual, I grab the pretty pink bottle of Nair and as I start applying it all over my upper-lip, chin and sideburns, I think about the societal pressure placed on women to have bare, hairless bodies. I find myself almost laughing as I think how waging a war in my head about this stigma, won’t change a thing; I’ll still be waking up the next day going through the same process. And, it is quite a process; I don’t think I’d wish it upon my worst enemy. The stinging, burning sensation as I remove the burnt hairs serves as a daily reminder of how far my body really is from being feminine and normal.
Now that my face is devoid of a recognizable stubble, I start sorting through my unfolded laundry and try to find some joggers that are long enough to hide the hairs above my ankle. After much of a struggle, I manage to find a pair and start getting dressed. I go back to the bathroom, slather on some sunscreen and begin getting Olivia ready for a walk. Once outside, I see my neighbor in the front yard and I quickly force out a “good morning”. I’ve been trying to work on stepping out of my comfort zone which is usually limited to a smile so this feels like an accomplishment. As soon as the words leave my lips, my neighbor smiles and greets me back. At this point, I feel like my own puppeteer internally trying to play with the strings that will revert my facial expressions to normal. I don’t feel relaxed. I can feel every physical movement, from the grin slowly turning into a straight face to the slight clenching of my fist as I grab Olivia’s leash. I’m trying so hard to appear normal, so that I can hide how unnatural it really feels. All of this happens within nanoseconds and then I quickly focus on Olivia and the anxious feeling drifts away.
To be continued…