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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!



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

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!!

Why I’ve Been MIA

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You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been MIA for a while…

Hopefully you’ll think my reason is pretty solid and forgive me…

I’m pregnant! AND Craig and I got married on December 29!!

Craig and Carly

It was a very small ceremony (only 12 people aside from the two of us) at my parent’s house. We went out to dinner after that, and then my brother and his girlfriend had everyone over for cake and lots of drinks 🙂

The pregnancy was a total shock and completely unexpected in the best way! I’m in my 13th week (each Saturday marks the beginning of a new week), and due on July 27th.

Toward the end of November, I just felt off. Craig and I were talking on the phone while he was out of town for work, and I said something like, “My stomach hurts… like, hurts, hurts. But, I also want to eat a lot of cocktail wieners. Weird.”

When I got home, I let Porter out and ran into our upstairs neighbor. I told her how I was feeling, and she said, “I don’t want to get all in your business, but is there any way you could be pregnant?”

Of course, I said, “Absolutely not.”

I mean, I was told I wasn’t ovulating. By the way, my new theory is that no doctor anywhere, other than the possible exception of the group of midwives I’ve been seeing, really knows what they’re talking about. At least, not when it comes to PCOS. But that’s a much more bitter post for another time.

Something about her suggestion stuck in my head, so the next morning, I decided to go to Target and get a pregnancy test. I figured I would just rule it out, and it would be a funny story to tell Craig later that day.

So, I took it when I got home. And it came up positive.

I took another one. That was positive too.

I started looking up false positives online, just to see. Apparently, that’s a pretty rare thing. I called Craig.

Me: Um… ok……. so, remember last night when I said I was feeling kind of bad and weird? [Upstairs neighbor] asked if I could be pregnant, and uh….. I told her no, but then I was thinking about it………………….. (lots of silence and choking up)

Craig: Are you saying you took a pregnancy test?

Me: Yeah, and uh……… it was positive? But ummm, I don’t know, and I want to go to the doctor? Just to make sure? I’m going to try to make an appointment.

Craig: Ok. Ok!…. Ok! Well, ok. Call me back.

Because I am without insurance right now, I went to Planned Parenthood and took an official pregnancy test. The lady called me into a little room and said, “You are indeed pregnant.” I started weeping immediately. She looked worried and asked, “Is this a good thing?”

I said, “Oh yes. Very.”

I called Craig back to tell him the official news, and we both cried. Our families are thrilled, too!

We had been talking for a while about getting married in the Fall. Like I said, I don’t have insurance right now, so something needed to change. We decided to move the marriage up quite a bit. Number one, of course, because we love each other and wanted to get married. But also, there was/is the huge practical matter of financial coverage during pregnancy. Kind of a big deal!

I have so much to tell you guys about this journey so far! But for now, I’ll leave you with this photo of me trying on maternity clothes with the “9-month belly” strapped on. A glimpse of what’s to come…


Sorry about the blurriness! Have a great Monday!

Sending Love

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Things in my life are finally calming down, and I can devote time and energy to the site and blog. As it should be.

So what exactly have I been up to? Mostly this. I also have another new, part-time job that I started this week! Very exciting stuff 🙂

On to more serious things…

I got an email from one of the women who sent in a written interview, basically saying that she regretted doing it and that it was causing her an extreme amount of distress to have it floating out in cyberspace. She asked me to take it down, and I did. It brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings for me. I feel terrible that this has caused someone pain like that. The whole point of this project is to bring light to a sensitive subject and try to normalize it a little. It made me worry that there might be other women out there who are suffering because of this site, something I’ve written… That’s an awful prospect.

If anything here has caused you pain, I am deeply sorry. This is supposed to be a safe, thoughtful space to discuss some sensitive things. I never want anyone to feel hurt because of something I post.

My sense, from the feedback I’ve gotten, is that it’s been mostly helpful. I know it’s been helpful for me. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to have a place to talk about my life as a woman with a beard. You don’t get that in the everyday.

People have been so positively responsive to this whole thing. I monitor all comments made on the blog, and in all this time, I’ve only had to reject one comment. One! Pretty amazing, given all of the fears and worries I have about revealing this part of myself to people. It shows that yeah, some people are jerks. Maybe lots of people are jerks. But when I put myself out there in an honest, positive way, the response is usually honest and positive right back.

Please continue to share your stories. I’ll continue to share mine. Believe me, I know it’s hard, but I also know that I usually underestimate people when it comes to revealing this part of myself. People often end up surprising me in delightful ways with their responses.

Sending out so much love to all of you. Have a wonderful day.

Still Human.

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Man, I wish I could genuinely focus on like, seventeen things at once. Alas. Still human.

I got a very thoughtful text from the amazing Amiee tonight, part of which was asking if everything is ok with me. And it is! I realize I didn’t give you guys any real reason for my less frequent posts and hold on the Project (just for now), and that some of you might be wondering about that.

Rest assured, it’s not anything bad.

I’m trying to branch out my job/career to include doing my own thing, or starting my own business. It takes a LOT of time and energy, and things are unfolding in such a way that I’m finding myself wrapped up in it. But I really am still here! And totally ok! Just hyper-focused on work stuff at the moment.

Check out this article and try what I tried – switch out all of the gendered words. For example:

“I love [women] with beards,” said Reid. “My first crush was on my French teacher, and I remember [she] had this thick, luxurious beard. It was fantastic.”

If only!

Let me know how you’re doing! I miss you lovelies and want some updates 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

Making Room

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You know what I’ve noticed?

It takes a lot of energy to worry. Maybe I can spend that energy in other ways.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a champion worrier. But it’s just that lately, the thought has crept into my mind: “Who cares?” That includes several aspects of my life, and of course, The Beard.

Spending so much time practicing feeling good about myself and about the hair (because it does take practice… continues to take practice) has made it easier to begin to forget about it. That doesn’t mean I forget about it entirely. Not by a long shot. It does mean that I sometimes don’t think about it, and that’s big.

I’m finding that I have room in my brain for other things when I’m not constantly worried about my hair and how others will see it. Because that’s the thing: If I were on a desert island, alone and stranded, I wouldn’t think about or care about the hair. And then I would end up looking something like this 🙂

What would you have room for if you weren’t thinking about your hair, or other things that make you feel self-conscious?

By the way, I’ve been watching the Olympics like it’s my job. Anyone else? I love them. I’m particularly fascinated by diving, gymnastics, and synchronized swimming, which is the CRAZIEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. Craig and I were watching the qualifying synchronized swimming events, and I was nervous that they were going to drown. I said, “AAAH! They need to come up for air! They’ve been underwater too long!”

He said, “No Carly. They’re fine. I would have been dead a long time ago, but they train for this kind of thing.” Haha!

For your entertainment: pictures of divers’ faces mid-dive.

What events do you like, if you’re watching?

***I want to let you guys know that blog entries are probably going to be less frequent for a little while. There’s some outside life stuff going on for me that requires a lot of my mental energy. But I’m still here! And I’ll still be posting! It just won’t be quite as often for now.