Inspiration: The Birth of Venus by Botticelli
A from Kerala shares her story.
“I’m a hairy person. I know I know, every woman claims to have unwanted body hair but I’m not exaggerating, my body hair is outrageously thick, dark, and long and it covers every inch of my body, except my palms and feet. But even there, I have those wiry, long hair.
Thanks to my mom, I was fairly unaware of my curse until my early teens. She was blessed with almost no body hair and treated mine as normal. I was out there in frocks with my dark, tawny legs all exposed to the world and its stares. Initially it was just staring, then came the hushed whispers; even then I remained blissfully unaware. Then came the mean, rude aunties who would corner me during family functions and comment and discuss my hairy legs and hands. To top it all, my brother gave me a nickname, KroorSingh, thanks to my thick eyebrows. Do you remember him from the serial, Chandrakanta?
At school, the girls were trying to pull up their skirts and were folding down their socks to expose maximum skin and there I was, pulling down my skirt and stretching the socks up to my knee. But even then, my long, wiry, hair used to peek out from beneath the stretched socks.
By the time I reached college, I started waxing my arms and legs and threading my eyebrows, and what a relief it was! I used to return from parlour visits as a happy, new person. But then in a few weeks, the ugly me would re-emerge. I hated my body! My coping mechanism was avoidance. I completely avoided mirrors.
Fast forward a few years, I got married and as the aunties in the family would have it, every possible body part was waxed. I went overboard and even got laser hair removal done as a desperate attempt to get rid of my moustache. But thanks to an early pregnancy, I had to reveal the ‘real me’ to my husband and the world, even before I could come to terms with it. Restricted parlour visits during pregnancy and early days of motherhood resulted in me ending up looking like what I now call the real me. But sadly, then I was just a hairy, ugly loser.
Again, fast forward a few years, talking to many friends and with a lot of reading, after many, many years of conflict with my real self, I somehow made peace with my body. I started wearing skirts at the beach and capris at home, irrespective of whether my legs were waxed or not. People still stare, some shower insults, some make fun of my beard and mooch but I am less affected. If I say I am unaffected I would be lying. I may have a smile on my face, but I am still my 14 yr old self on the inside, desperately trying to pull down my frock to hide my hairy legs. The sadness, the diffidence, the lack of self worth, returns and it hangs over me like a dark cloud. Sometimes for a couple of hours and sometimes it stays the night but I always manage to pull myself out. I talk to myself and find my way back, I tell myself – “I love you. I appreciate what you have done, even after what I have put you through. I love every bit of you.”
Sometimes, when I feel like I need a little ‘loving’ or ‘approval’ from others, I still go for a wax. I still delete some pictures where my hairy upper-lip or chin hair is showing. I struggle but I don’t give up and will not.”