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Written Interview: “It’s been easier to fight since I stopped fighting it.”

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***A reminder that nothing written on this site is intended to be taken for medical advice. Please check with your health provider before adding or making any changes to your treatment.***

This interview is from a 32-year-old, European woman who would like to be called CatLady. This struck me on several levels. She is incredibly strong and insightful, and has been through so much. CatLady, I am honored that you responded at all, and with such thoughtful, courageous content. Thank you.

When did you first discover you had facial hair?
It’s not just facial hair, it’s everywhere. And it’s those “other ones” that I noticed at first. I was about ten years old. I realised I was growing a beard around 16.

How did you react?
When I first saw my legs looked different than girls (and boys…) at school, I thought something was very wrong with me. I was told “something was wrong with me” since I was born, about everything, so it was nothing new… I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, my parents were, let’s say, not available. So, I just avoided gym classes, changing clothes, sleepovers – basically, any situation that would require me to take clothes off. Then I finished elementary school, moved out of the “family home” and figured, if I stick to clothes that cover everything, I’ll get through it. Around fifteen I had a “boyfriend”, and one day after “making out” he asked me if I plucked hairs from my face. I didn’t. I didn’t really think about my face. I had a nervous tick – I would pull on my face hairs when anxious (often). But I didn’t realise what these hairs meant. When he asked, that’s when I started looking. And plucking. I think, back then, I had this thought that it was only temporary, that one day I won’t worry about this issue. I didn’t know it was only going to get worse with age.

What is the cause of your hair?
I was three years old when the Chernobyl “accident” happened, I didn’t live far away. It affected a lot of my peers’ health, in many ways. Also, my understanding is that my parents have allowed for medical experiments to be conducted on me when I was a child. My doctor explained it to me this way: my cells are not working properly, haven’t developed right. It’s a bit like a building built out of dry sand. It shouldn’t really stand, but hey, here I am! 🙂 It’s not just the hair, it affects the whole body. As you can imagine, all of it put together, affects the mind, too.

What have your medical experiences been like? How has it affected your life, other than the hair?
I have tried going to doctors, all kinds of them. I don’t really want to recall that, none of it was pleasant. Then I finally met the doctor I mentioned above, he really made an effort to figure out what is going on with my body. Then he retired and referred me to some young lady who passed me on to someone else who then referred me to a psychiatrist. Yup. In the meantime, I was given various meds. Since then I learnt one of them (anti-conception) caused some deaths in the country. Other one (hormones) took my period away for two years. Another one made me really sick. None of them did anything about the hair. About two years ago I started taking a herb: agnus castus. I cannot really tell if it affects the hair growth as my hairs are on speed these months plus laser plus plucking – but I *think* it makes it a bit… softer? As in: not as aggressive as they used to be. Though still on speed 😉 Agnus castus helps with hormone levels and is recommended to PCOS patients. Takes about six months to “start” working though so patience is required.

How have your family and friends reacted to the hair, if they know?
When I was eleven, my mother accidentally saw me and told me I was a mutant. Since then, I didn’t really feel like telling people. I told some. I told my fiance of six years – he was saying he “didn’t mind”. Our relationship ended due to him wanting to “have fun”, or rather: having said fun with hairless girls. He passed away now, so I am not going to go into all this but yeah, that didn’t help either. Then I told another boy. Well, showed rather than told. He asked if I was a man. And so on. So, no, it never really ended nicely as far as relationships are concerned. With other people, I didn’t tell many, a couple girls I felt close to. It was “ok”. Now, now it’s different because I have changed these recent years. I have left behind the desires to please others and/or to impress them. I am not sure if it’s about growing up but the pressure of “how do they perceive me??” really got to me at some point. Ironically, I did not realise it at all. Until my body broke and told me: “you’re taking a break now, time to figure out what it is you really want from life”. Turned out, making a good impression on people I barely know was not how I want to spend my life. True, I have been living quite alone last few years due to this breaking situation, but still, now I am able to say: “Oh, yeah, I have hirsutism. It’s when you have hair growing all over your body” in passing. Instead of: “Let’s make an appointment, sit down, be ready because I will now tell you something huge and scary”. Yes, of course, it is still an issue. But – five years ago I’d tell my fiance not to call the ambulance if something happened to me, so that they don’t see the hair. Now, now I want to give a hug to that younger me and tell her: “silly, look what you are worrying about”.

How do you make sense of the hair? What does it mean for you?
Today I see it as a gift. And I really mean that.

I remember back when I was active in the cyster community, we were talking with one friend and we both agreed we wouldn’t “swap” the hair. Realising that there are people out there who suffer so much more due to their medical conditions and they live their lives, they try, they don’t give up – this was the first step.

Then, there is the personal aspect: I have been protected all my life. I was born into not-so-good family, the town where I was a child was creepy and dark for too many reasons, I followed path of destruction and escape as my peers did. Every time I was about to make a Really Bad Mistake, I somehow was diverted from it. I wouldn’t be able to count how many mistakes were prevented “through” the hair. I am so happy I was not able to do the things I wanted to do in the past.

Having your own self-esteem issues makes you understand others better, builds up empathy in you. You have more respect toward others, you see the world in more clearer light. You understand unrealistic expectations. You understand we can’t look like the ladies on the magazine covers. You cannot be hijacked by the corporations and businesses going after your soul. That’s, in my opinion, a super-power.

It’s what I hope my life is shaping up to be now. At some point I started comparing. I am involved in some refugee helping etc and learning about lives of people going through what they’re going through – it made me realise my blessings. Among all my blessings, the hair is just one little obstacle.

And lastly, though it took a long time and I am still working on it – that realisation that I am not my hair, I am me. That genuine belief that if someone says something stupid about it – it’s them that there’s something wrong with – not me. That realisation was extremely freeing.

Having said all that, here’s the kicker. I have decided to devote my life to the orphans and not to pursue romantic relationships. This is not to say, if I meet someone who will somehow be able to prove me that they will respect me for who I really am, not what I look like, I will run. No, no. My point is – I changed my priorities. I am so focused on my plans and have so many (realistic) ideas about them that no-husband-option is not something that I think about too much. I accepted – ok, this is my thing. Everyone has a thing. Many have way more, and heavier things. It’s the acceptance of it, on a physical and psychological level, that makes everything else so much easier. It’s been easier to fight since I stopped fighting it.

What fears, if any, have you had or currently have about the hair?
The thing that scares me is that I’d start thinking about it again; un-accept it, if you will. I don’t feel this way but there are bad-hair-days when I go back to that old place – thinking what others will think, will they notice; how I reallllly prefer winter to summer… This happens less and less but it still happens. I don’t want to be slave to the hair, to my looks, to social expectations. My fear is to waste too much time, too much life on worrying about something so insignificant.

Have you in the past, or do you currently, remove it? How?
Not on my body, because my skin is too sensitive. Ok, when it gets really too much, then I’ll shave, gently, but it means bleeding for weeks and scars – not pleasant. A lot of nasty rashes when it grows back. My face – I pluck, tweeze, use cream and do laser every six weeks. Which is why the skin on my face is ruined. Laser itself shouldn’t be done so often, and it does not remove hair for me. It just makes it easier to pluck, tweeze, cream… The ingrown hairs (and consequences) are quite bad. These months, I have been letting it grow out a little bit. Because of all the laser, etc, they don’t grow as “hard and heavy” so, when I put thick make-up on, it’s not as visible. Still visible, but it’s that part of me not wanting to care so much. Putting cream on is painful, my face hurts for days afterwards. So, I do it less often. If they stare, let them stare. I wouldn’t know, I always look at the ground anyway 😉

What has happened when you have removed? What methods have worked, and what has not?
As above, meds did not work. Plucking I think is most successful, however it takes way too much time. Cream is the easiest if you have “thick skin”. Laser, if your insurance covers it, and if you have dark hairs, and if you are not expecting miracles – may or may not work. I’d say, try but if it doesn’t work for you after a year – leave it.

If you do not remove, how did you come to that decision? What has it been like for you?
On the days I let go (more and more often), it surprises me how I don’t really care that much. Of course, I’d rather didn’t have a beard. But, once I force myself to leave the house, once I’m out and about – it’s not so scary. Admittedly, I haven’t had any negative reactions as I don’t interact with people much and I stare at the ground a lot 😉 I guess that’s my way of coping with it until I am strong enough to hold my head up high. Hopefully, that day will come 🙂

Have you ever been made fun of for it?
Not fun as much, as hurt. It was back when I would “date” people. Some guys can be quite nasty. But this was my fault. I wasn’t talking to the intelligent men with priorities worth exploring. I didn’t see myself worthy of the “good guys”, I was reaching out to the, erhm, not-so-good ones. This was a big change in my attitude – I no longer blame myself (or my body) for someone else being rude and/or stupid.

What kinds of thoughts come into your mind when you think about the hair?
The mind. How hirsutism is a psychological issue more than it is a physical one. How it is do to with the world around us and expectations; how we do not realise that maybe someone wants us to spend a lot of money on certain cosmetics. When I think of hair, I think – “why am I thinking about hair again??”.

How does it impact your self-esteem, if at all?
Certainly less than it used to. And I hope and pray that every day, it will affect me this little bit less.

Are there any positive aspects or benefits of the hair?
Most of them are benefits (see a few questions up). If we see them that way. It really is up to us. Not just about the hair, but about everything “bad” that happens to us. If we see the positive aspects, it will become a positive thing. Faith and patience help, for sure 🙂

It doesn’t mean we are not allowed to cry about it from time to time. We’re human. It’s about not making it into the only thing we think and cry about.

If you grow it (don’t remove), do you prefer that people ask about it, or ignore it? What have your experiences been with interested parties?
I partially answered this above. I think, for now, I still feel more comfortable if people ignore it. However, if they ask, I’d answer – because how else are they supposed to know?

Do you have a community of other hairy females? If so, where do you find them?
I used to be more active in the online cyster community. Since I got “broken”, I moved away a bit. Maybe I should pop in and see how everyone is? 🙂

Why do you think hairy females are not considered beautiful in mainstream culture?
Because mainstream culture is idiocracy. What “culture”? There’s no culture in the mainstream. We need to stop chasing after the photoshopped ideals and focus on what really matters. The baby doesn’t care if Mom has a beard. Until the baby grows up, watches tv and learns that what baby thought was normal and ok – suddenly becomes uncool and weird.

What do you want to say to other hairy women out there? What do you wish someone would say to you?
To all the women: trust in yourself. You don’t need a corporation to tell you if you are beautiful, smart, fashionable, “a good catch”, etc. Find out what matters to you, what is really important. Find a purpose, your purpose – not what “you are supposed to do” because everyone else is doing it. Learn about yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. Test your limits. And accept them – understand that if something is not meant to be, it’s ok. We can’t have everything. Don’t dwell on it, look for something else that will make you happy. Don’t put yourself in a cage. Face your fears – never assume how things will turn out, you don’t know the future. When you fall, don’t give up, don’t stay down. If it goes wrong ten times, eleventh time might be the one that will change your life. Have faith. Have patience. Have hope. Be strong.

I wish someone told me… I guess I wish I knew that it’s ok to be myself. This society, the media, schools – we are constantly told what to be but nobody asks us what we want to be. I wish someone told me that what they say doesn’t really matter.

Much love to everyone who is struggling. I wish every cyster to find peace and happiness.

Well Hello!

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Oh man you guys.

It’s been a hell of a six-ish months. Not all bad. Well, bad for a while, and then good stuff started to happen, and now things are feeling evened out.

Briefly, in life news… The divorce is final. Lior is doing great – she’s running and climbing and talking (sometimes gibberish, but she seems very passionate about whatever she is saying) and hamming it up. There’s been some pretty stressful family health-related stuff going on, but that’s going ok for now. I’m dating. I’ve been staying with my folks, but will be moving at the beginning of June. I got a new job.

My dad was like, “You know that list of the top stressful things in peoples’ lives? I think you probably hit most, if not all of them this year.”


My major takeaway from the past year is how incredibly, profoundly lucky I am. My friends and family are extraordinary.

Ok, now for the hair news…

I didn’t end up doing electrolysis, and I’m leaning toward no. One of the readers here sent me an email about some of the side effects and so on. I did some more looking into it, and like anything else, there are pros and cons. The cost-benefit ratio, for me, isn’t worth it right now. It seems like no matter what, you can expect redness/swelling, and likely blisters/bumps. This gives a decent, seemingly objective account of possible side effects.

It’s also been very much on my mind that I haven’t been treated for PCOS in a long time. Because of the other issues it can lead to, I want to go back to my doctor to discuss treatment options for real. The last time I went in, I had already made up my mind that I wanted to do things “naturally”. I was frustrated and angry about the treatment I had received. I spent hundreds of dollars at the naturopath’s office, because naturopaths aren’t covered by insurance, and I bought a million supplements. There is no way I can keep up with all of that.

There’s gotta be a balance.

From what I understand, it would likely be best for me to see an endocrinologist. But I’ll talk to my doctor about it and see what she says.

Along with treating the PCOS, I might like to try Vaniqa again. I didn’t give it a real college try the last time I tried it (which was YEARS AND YEARS ago). I think I got through about two weeks or so, and it fizzled out.

And of course, I’ll keep you all posted.

Good to be back, beardos. Thanks for being here with me.

Decisions, Decisions

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I wonder if the romantic relationships I’ve had are directly related to who might be ok with my beard. I wonder if I’ve limited my options and/or lowered my expectations because of my beard. Sort of like, “Well, I’ll just overlook [insert thing I should probably not put up with here], because he’s cool with me having a beard.”

Maybe if I’m asking these questions, I already know the answer.

Craig and I are getting a divorce. That has nothing to do with the beard, obviously, but it’s making me reflect on many complicated things. One of which is my hair.

I want to be able to open myself up to all opportunities at some point. With the hair, I don’t think I can fully do that. I’ve tried over the years, and I think I’ve gotten to a great place of mostly self-acceptance.

The fact is, though, that I don’t see myself as someone with a beard. Even though I am.

I shave it off. When I don’t shave and it grows out a bit, I don’t like how it looks or feels. I’ve never felt comfortable with my significant other touching my face, which is sad, because I like that sensation. I don’t like being in direct sunlight unless I’ve recently shaved. I get razor burn (less so now than I used to – I have a finely honed system these days). I occasionally cut myself, which is embarrassing. Also shaving is a temporary, 12-hour-at-most, solution. Tweezing hurts like a motherfucker. Vaniqa is expensive and not covered by insurance (or, at least that was the case when I briefly used it). Waxing scares me. Laser removal stimulated new growth for me, and doesn’t work anyway on red or blonde hair (sure wish the person who did it knew that at the time…). It’s also painful.

So guys. I’m considering electrolysis. Which makes me feel… guilty. Guilty because, while there would be several complex emotions involved in the process, I think I would feel an enormous sense of relief.

It’s a pretty big deal. I’ve made it a life goal to just be ok with what’s going on with me in the moment, beard and all. Because whatever, right? It’s just hair.

It’s just hair.

It’s just hair…

But as you already know, it’s just a lot of other stuff too.

I wrote this back in January, 2012:

I identify myself as a heterosexual, cisgender female. The larger culture, and the community that I consider myself to be a part of, is heteronormative. With that comes tremendous privilege in ways that I know I don’t fully understand, because I’m a part of it.

A trend that I’ve noticed through talking to you lovelies over time (and certainly this is not true for everyone – just a general trend I’ve picked up on in my limited experience) is that those who consider themselves part of the hetero community (such as myself) tend to remove. Those who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community tend to feel more comfortable NOT removing. Or, maybe a better way to put it is that I have not talked to any hetero females who grow and consistently wear their beards, but I have talked to LGBTQ females who do. There seems to be more tolerance for bearded females and more freedom to explore what the beard means and looks like. I understand that my identity comes with privilege in a lot of ways that don’t just include the beard. I also wish there was more freedom within my identity to explore difference. I mean that in both an internal way and an external way.

So. Do I not let the hair grow because I’m afraid to lose that privilege? What would it mean for me to grow it? Because, unfortunately for now, it would mean so much more than just, “Ok, now I have a beard. Moving on.”

I still think that. Whether I like it or not, it DOES mean more than just hair to have a beard and identify the way I identify.

But then, what does it say about me that I’m considering this option? Am I just giving into The Man? Does it even matter?

Maybe what matters is that I’m content, and have one less thing to worry about during a truly shitty time, and from here on.


Short Hair with a Ladybeard

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I’ve had long or long-ish hair for most of my life. The shortest I’ve ever had it was above my shoulders, but still below my ears.

Well, friends.

Last week, I took a huge risk and cut it off!



It brought up a few things for me about the beard.

First, I usually get a bit hypervigilant about shaving my face/neck when I get a haircut. God forbid the person cutting my hair will brush against my face or see the hair. This actually happened to me once about six years ago. I forgot to shave before a hair appointment and didn’t have time to go home, and I was VERY aware of it. The stylist was messing with my hair before cutting it, and her hand brushed against my face, which was pretty stubbly. There was a pause – mine mortified and hers confused – then she got this really ‘oh-honey-I-feel-so-sorry-for-you’ expression and said, in a sappy sort of tone, “By the way, I think you’re just beautiful, no matter what.” I know she meant that to be nice, and I don’t fault her for saying it. It could have been so much worse. Yet, it still left me embarrassed, and I felt weird around her after that. The way she was looking at me kinda gave me the sads. The whole exchange was so awkward, and I had no idea what to say or do.

Also, with long hair, I would alternate shaving days with hair-washing days (I have curly hair and can’t wash my hair every day, or it gets really dry). So, I would shave on days that I didn’t wash my hair, and take a break from shaving on days that I washed my hair. It wasn’t to save time. It was so that when my hair was down, I could hide my face more, or at least distract from my beard. On non-hair-washing days, I would wear it in a ponytail, thus needing to shave because there was nothing to hide behind or distract.

With short hair, hiding won’t be an option. In my more rational moments, I think, “Ok whatever. It’s not like my hair was really doing THAT much so that people wouldn’t notice that I have a beard. I mean, for godsake.” But I’m still alternating days of shaving and not shaving, otherwise my skin gets really red and irritated. So… that means stubble. Noticeable stubble.

Today happens to be a non-shaving day. I had a moment of panic on my way to work this morning. “I see clients all day! What if someone notices!? What if they say something to me about it????????!!!!!”

That feeling lasted for a while. And has come up throughout the day. Nothing to hide behind. Nothing to distract. It’s a totally new, scary feeling.

But then…

I don’t exist so that other people can be pleased by my appearance. I happen to be a woman. I happen to have a beard. If someone is offended by that, it’s seriously not my problem. If someone asked me about it, I hope I would say something like, “Yep, I have some extra hair. Many women do. So, back to what we were talking about…” Just sticking to the facts with a neutral tone. It means nothing about me, other than it means I have a beard. The end.

Aside from my angst about the beard, I LOVE THIS HAIRCUT. It’s so much easier for me to manage! And it also looks cute in a Rosie the Riveter-style bandana tied in it, so there’s that too. Yay short hair!



I Heart NDT

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Are you watching Cosmos?

I’ve only seen the first episode so far, and IT IS FASCINATING. Aside from the fact that Neil deGrasse Tyson seems like The Coolest (and I would have totally had a crush on him had the timing and circumstances been right),

a young ndt

(…Just sayin’)

it’s awesome and a good reminder of just how small we really are.

But not like in a depressing way. In an oddly comforting way. Hear me out.

Part of the first episode goes through the Cosmic Calendar, which is a way to illustrate the expanse of time so that we can get our heads around it. I couldn’t find a clip of the whole thing, but here is the beginning of the segment:

So, each day represents 40 million years, and each month represents over a billion years. Yikes.

From this article:

“In this scale, humans didn’t arise until the last day of the year, and modern civilization makes up about the last 14 seconds of the year. Everyone we have ever heard of lived in those 14 seconds, deGrasse Tyson says:

Every person you’ve ever heard of lies right in there. All those kings and battles, migrations and inventions, wars and loves, every thing in the history books happened here in the last seconds of the cosmic calendar.”

That’s mind-blowing, right?

Here’s what I find comforting about it:

Lifetimes have been lived before I was even thought about. An entire universe has been unfolding for billions and billions of years. In the very, very, very grand scheme of things, I am incredibly small.

The fact that I’m alive at all is statistically improbable and lucky. I am here. I get to be here. For whatever reasons and whatever brought life to this point, I get to experience this. The fact that I’m tiny doesn’t mean my life doesn’t matter. I think it actually means it matters quite a bit, in that I should probably try to do the best I can and enjoy. I exist on this planet, in this universe, and have every right to live and enjoy and love and be loved and everything else.

Why spend the short time I have worrying about my beard? Or much of anything else? And, if others are worried about those things about me, it ultimately doesn’t matter.

Thinking about this has felt really freeing!

Ladies: How to Tell Someone About Your Facial Hair

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For the first, oh, 10-ish years after I started growing a ladybeard, I had no desire for anyone to know about it. In fact, as I’ve talked about in other posts, I did pretty much everything possible to get rid of it. I felt completely disconnected from it and wished so hard that it would go away. “This isn’t me,” I thought. “This isn’t how I see myself, and it’s not really a part of me, and if I act like it’s not there then maybe it will disappear.”

Of course, it never did. And I decided that I didn’t want to be in denial about it anymore. Didn’t want to feel so ashamed of it. I wasn’t ready to grow it out (and am still not… though having an infant has made shaving less convenient!), but I was ready to talk about it.

The problem was that I felt scared to death of what would happen when I did. I imagine some of you might feel the same way? So this is for the folks out there who are thinking about starting to talk about your hair, but aren’t quite sure how or where to begin. Keep in mind that this is based on my experiences and might not work for you in your situation. There are so many cultural/social/personal/etc. factors that could change things.

1. Are you ready?
Are you ready to share this part of your life with others? Are you doing it for yourself and not because you feel like you should or because you think others “deserve” to know? For me, it was about getting to a point where I felt so sick of hiding it that the only logical option was to start telling people. I couldn’t keep it in anymore, and it was a purely selfish decision to talk about it. Being hirsute is such a personal thing, and your feelings about it can be so complex. Be gentle and honest with yourself. If you’re not quite ready, that’s ok!

2. Make sure it’s someone you trust.
Not everyone needs to know your business. Until you feel more comfortable talking about your hair, stick to the people in your life you can count on. Close family members, close friends, trustworthy, open-minded significant others… In other words, stick to talking about it with the people in your life who pose the least amount of risk. The ones who are almost guaranteed to react with love and support. What’s your gut instinct about the person (or people) you want to tell? How have they reacted to things you’ve told them in the past? Are they open to difference?

3. Prepare for possible outcomes.
Whenever I’ve felt afraid to do or say something throughout my life and have talked to my mom about it, she always asks, “What’s the worst possible thing that can happen?” And once I start really thinking about the WORST THING, it’s never as bad as I originally thought. Partly because I can prepare for the worst possibility ahead of time. When you think about telling someone about your hair, think about the worst thing that might happen, and then think about how realistic that is. For example, do you think a friend of yours will start screaming and run away from you, never to call you or hang out with you again? That might be the worst thing, but how realistic is that (especially if you trust that person and know generally how he/she handles things)? What are some other, likelier outcomes? Once you have an idea of how the conversation could go, you can mentally prepare.

4. Approach it in as matter-of-fact a way as possible.
People will react to your news based on how you present it to them. So if you approach with an attitude like, “This is horrible, awful news I have to tell you about myself,” then they will probably react in kind. I totally get that you might feel like it’s horrible and awful – I really do! – but try to remain as calm and matter-of-fact as you can. Give the facts about your situation. It’s completely fine to show emotion, to cry, to say how difficult it is to discuss. And at the same time, it’s not something that is going to kill you. It’s not going to get in the way of your relationships with other people (unless you let it). It is really difficult to deal with, and it’s also ok. You’re still you and will always be you, hair or no hair. Remember that.

4. Do it in a way that feels comfortable.
Can’t quite bring yourself to have a face-to-face conversation about your hair? That’s ok – do it over the phone. Can’t quite say the words out loud? I get that. Write a letter or an email. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and safe. Sometimes, when I have something sensitive to talk about and want to make sure I say everything I need to say, I will write it down and then refer to my notes while talking. Totally nerdy, but effective. This is your show. There are no rules other than to do it the way you want.

5. Repeat.
Once you talk about it with someone and they react positively, it gets so much easier to tell others. I encourage you to discuss it with as many people as you want. The more practice you have talking about it, the easier it gets. I promise!

I hope that’s helpful! I’d love to hear about your experiences if you’ve told people in your life.

It’s a Girl! And a Thank You.

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I had the baby!!

Her name is Lior, and she was born last week on July 25th at 8:33am. 8 pounds, 19 inches long, and she is perfect.

Craig and I have decided to limit the pictures posted of her (especially in more public places), so I’m sorry I don’t have anything to show you. You’ll just have to trust me that she’s beautiful.

We’re getting used to our new normal, and once things settle down I’ll write more. For now, it’s a whirlwind of feeding, diapers, trying to sleep when we can, and a whole new chapter.

Also, I wanted to say thank you to two amazing women who recently mentioned this site in blog posts. Britta Gregor wrote about her experience as a bearded lady here, and Jes Baker wrote about hers here. I loved reading both of them, and I highly recommend you check them out!

Hope you’re having a great Thursday. 🙂

How I’m Doing

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Thinking about posting in an honest, authentic way has been difficult for me lately, and I think it’s best if I just dive right in and tell you what’s up.

I have Gestational Diabetes (GD).


Here is a bit of information about GD. This part was particularly interesting to me:

“Your body digests the food you eat to produce sugar (glucose) that enters your bloodstream. In response, your pancreas — a large gland behind your stomach — produces insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose move from your bloodstream into your body’s cells, where it’s used as energy.

During pregnancy, the placenta that connects your growing baby to your blood supply produces high levels of various other hormones. Almost all of them impair the action of insulin in your cells, raising your blood sugar. Modest elevation of blood sugar after meals is normal during pregnancy.

As your baby grows, the placenta produces more and more insulin-blocking hormones. In gestational diabetes, the placental hormones provoke a rise in blood sugar to a level that can affect the growth and welfare of your baby.”

Before that, they say that researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes it, but I think it’s interesting that it may have something to do with the placenta.

So, backing up a bit, the pregnancy has been an intense, sometimes awful experience for me. I spent the first and most of the second trimesters vomiting and often unable to eat. I was put on Zofran, and it helped stop me from actually throwing up. I still felt nauseated most of the time, but I was able to keep some food down and drink water.

Then, I was tested a little earlier than usual for GD, because I have PCOS (which is associated with insulin resistance) and a strong family history of Diabetes.

About the test: They had me drink a super-sugary solution, then tested my blood sugar one hour later to see how I fared. My sugar level remained higher than they wanted (I have no idea what the values were – everything was kind of a whirlwind), so I had to come back a few days later to take a three-hour test. Again, a super-sugary drink – mine was orange and tasted kind of like Hi-C Orange, but less fun – and they checked my blood sugar after one hour, after two hours, and after three hours. My first level was within normal range, but the last two were elevated.

If you’re interested in more detail about what the testing is like, this gives a good personal account with lots of information.

At first, I found my blood sugar pretty easy to manage. They had me testing my levels four times a day – once fasting in the morning, and then two hours after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not taking insulin or other medications, just managing with diet and exercise changes. I did have to attend the high-risk clinic for a while, and have been attending appointments every two weeks to monitor my sugar (usually, people only go about once a month until later on in the pregnancy). I no longer need to go to high-risk, because my levels are usually pretty good, and they let me check three times a day instead of four. At the health system I’m attending, it’s standard procedure for women with GD to have weekly non-stress tests starting at 28 weeks, so I’ve been doing that as well. I’m at 34 weeks and change now.

As the pregnancy has progressed, it’s become a little more difficult to keep my blood sugar under control. It’s never wildly high, but it’s definitely been higher in the third trimester than it had been. It seems to go in spurts… My theory is that it coincides with periods of more growth in the baby, but no one really knows. The days when it’s harder to control are tough for me. I try to stay calm about it, and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes I cry.

I worry that I’m doing something wrong, that I’m hurting the baby, that I’m hurting myself somehow. Making it more likely that I’ll have problems later. Making it more likely that my child will have problems later. It’s terrifying.

Another, less important piece is that I’m pretty committed to having a birth attended by a midwife and without meds. I also want to add that I’ve never done this before and am flexible about using meds. I don’t know what will happen at the time! I’ve been seeing this wonderful group of midwives at the hospital where I’ll deliver. One of them told me that if I end up needing insulin or something else, then they would have to transfer my care to one of the OB/GYNs, and I would no longer be able to have one of the midwives at the birth. Makes sense – midwives usually attend “normal” pregnancies and births (though of course, anything can happen), and mine would be considered higher risk if I needed medication.

So, that’s always in the back of my mind too.

But mostly, guys?

I feel so sad that my body isn’t doing what it’s “supposed” to do. And it hasn’t for as far back as I can remember. I so badly want to be a person who can trust her body to just take care of things and do what it’s “meant” to do. What it “should” do. But my body and I have a long and complicated history, and it’s hard for me to let go and trust.

There are things I can do to heal. Things I can do to help prevent the likelihood of GD in the future, improve my PCOS symptoms, and help with insulin resistance. It’s just that I can’t do any of these things while pregnant, other than manage my blood sugar as best as I can.

I’ve been so hesitant to write about this because I fear that people will think I resent the baby or am upset with the baby or something. But the baby is the one awesome part of all of this. When I get to hear the baby’s heartbeat or feel him/her moving around, it’s incredible. Actually, as I type, the baby has the hiccups and is making my belly jump around all over the place. That’s the stuff that makes me smile. That’s the stuff I’m loving. And I’m very lucky to have a supportive, calm, understanding, and very caring husband in Craig. He has been there to comfort me when I’m freaking out, and always has something reassuring to say.

He also sings to the baby at night before bed, which is, like, the sweetest thing ever. (Baby kicks around in response!)

So that’s what’s been going on around here. Thanks for this space to write about this kind of stuff – if you weren’t as fantastic as you are, it wouldn’t be possible 🙂

A couple of pictures:

28.5 weeks:

34 weeks:
34 weeks

Manly Razor!

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How come no one told me that men’s razors do a better job on the face than women’s?

Now that I’ve typed that question, it seems pretty obvious. I mean, of course they do a better job. That’s what they’re made for!

So. I’m here to tell any of you out there using “women’s” razors (really, just razors that tend to be pink and are designed to shave legs) that the “men’s” ones (really, just razors that tend to be blue/grey/orange and are designed for faces) do a MUCH better job.

I figured this out by accident one day, when I was in the shower and realized that my Quattro was pretty dull. I didn’t have more blades, and Craig’s razor happened to be right there, so one thing led to another…

I used my regular routine.

The difference was pretty dramatic, in my opinion. First, I didn’t have to go over the same spot several times as I had been, which naturally cut down on razor burn. I got a much smoother shave much faster, and on more sensitive areas (my neck, for example), the razor was like, “I got this.”

I’ve decided to ditch the Schick Quattro that I’ve been using for YEARS in favor of the Gillette Fusion Proglide, and will definitely use face razors from now on. Why use leg razors for the face? Doesn’t make sense.


Check out all those blades!

This whole lady-product vs. MANLY product debate makes me think of this from Hyperbole and a Half. Read more stuff on that site if you haven’t already. You won’t be sorry! You’ll be laughing too hard!

Unexpectedly, I found myself nervous to buy the new razor for the first time. I’m so used to hiding my hair and am so sensitive to anyone finding out… So I’m walking around in Target, sneaking into the “men’s” section of the shaving aisle, terrified that someone will think, “OMG. That lady is totally buying a guy’s razor for her face. She totally has a beard. She is going to take that razor home and shave her face with it. I’m going to take pictures of her on my phone and send them to all my friends and find out who she is and tell EVERYONE!!!”

Ridiculous, right?

But if you’ve spent years hiding, as I have, then you can probably relate. In reality, there was another woman in that aisle. She glanced at me as anyone else would glance at another human in Target: quickly. She had her own errands to run, for godsake.

No one cared that I was buying a face razor.

And now I’m reaping the benefits.

Have a good Monday!

The Scared is Scared

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This whole pregnancy business?

Terrifying. Wonderful. Emotional. Nauseating.

A friend, who is much further along in her pregnancy than I am, and I had coffee the other day. We agreed that neither of us understand other women who say that being pregnant is the best thing in the world. “I wish I could be pregnant all the time! It’s amazing!” I mean, yes, it is amazing.

But, what about all the throwing up? What about the constant fear of harming your unborn child? What about the constant fear that something out of your control will happen to the baby? Or to you? Could happen at any time, really? What about the round ligament pain? The bizarre changes to your body that you didn’t even know to expect?

Please don’t misunderstand; I’m thrilled about the pregnancy. Heck, I’m thrilled I could get pregnant at all, and I’m absolutely ecstatic about the kid who’s on his/her way here. I can’t wait to meet him or her! We’re not finding out the sex, but I have a strong sense that it’s going to be a boy, and I’ve been having dreams about him like crazy.

Speaking of which…

One terrifying thing that happened was about a month ago. I woke up in the morning with bleeding, said a lot of swear words, did some crying, and called the nurse line. There was no pain, no clotting or tissue, but blood. The nurse said that it didn’t sound like I was having a miscarriage, but that the bleeding was concerning, and I would need to go to the ER.

A long wait and a few tests later, we found out that the baby was just fine and so was I.

Before I woke up that morning, I had a dream about the baby. He was probably about 6 or 7. We were in a big building or house with lots of hallways. We were together in the beginning, but then were separated. I knew he was safe – he was with family members – but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I walked all over, looking for him, calling his name.

When I was approaching the area where he was, I heard him say, “I know she’s looking for me. Tell mama I’m right here.”

And he was.

The video below was posted on Mommy Shorts yesterday, and it’s pretty great. The advice in it is universal, but I think those of you reading (and I!) have some extra fears/worries that others probably don’t have. Like, talking about facial hair. Revealing facial hair. Dealing with chronic health stuff. Things that add a little pressure to your daily life.

The filmmaker asked a 6-year-old what her movie should be about, and this was the result.

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!

Also, a big congratulations to Deb, who did a photo project on bearded ladies that was PUBLISHED in the Lesbian Connection! She is awesome and so is her work. Yay Deb!!