I didn’t wear mascara until my late 30’s.
My eyelashes are insanely long, thick, pitch black and perfectly curled. Jealous? Don’t be. What you might be failing to realize is that if I’m this good at growing hair on my head, I’m probably pretty good at growing it everywhere else.
I was in the first grade when I figured out that I had been born, a hairy girl.
I was in school when someone called me Chewbacca. At first, I thought we were playing a game so I said I wanted to be Princess Leia. But they kept calling me Chewbacca.
It took a few minutes but then I got it. It’s not like my hair growth was that abnormal but I’m not saying you couldn’t braid my arm hair.
I had a full unibrow, the aforementioned eyelashes, a head of thick curly hair, facial hair, neck hair, arm hair, leg hair and thank you puberty, yes, body hair.
I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. smack dab in the middle of the Latin hair belt.
There were plenty of girls around me that had similar problems but I deemed myself hairier than all of them combined. I had after all been the only one nicknamed after a wookie.
My burden quickly became my obsession and that obsession is hair; specifically the removal of it.
I was in the 4th grade when I shaved for the first time. I dry shaved my legs from toe to hip. DRY SHAVED. Do you know the pain of the skin burn I gave myself? I can still remember it.
When I was in the 5th grade when I started using Jolen cream bleach for my mustache because clearly, orange blonde fluffy mustache hair is way less noticeable than simple black mustache hair.
I was in the 6th grade when I shaved off a good 5 inch piece of my shin, just days before spending a month in the mountains at summer camp.
When was in 7th grade when I discovered the chemical goodness that is Nair but quickly stopped using it once I realized my hair started to grow back immediately. Like 5 o’clock shadow immediately.
I was in the 8th grade when I gave myself a large scar under my eyebrow from tweezing out super thick and stubborn hairs.
And in high school, well high school was simply a repeat of everything I’d already done. I was just hoping for different results… the definition of insanity.
The worst part of being hirsute wasn’t the childhood teasing or everyday feeling like drag queen getting ready for a show; it was all the ingrown hairs.
I’d get them everywhere and they were huge and painful.
I wouldn’t even have to shave to get them. I could just think about shaving my bikini line and huge ingrown hairs would appear. I’d have to use a needle to dig out the errant hair, eventually finding the 3” long mutant, but not before causing mental trauma and permanent scarring.
My bikini line looked like a crime scene. It was unacceptable and I was determined to find a solution.
I was in College the first time I tried waxing.
Thankfully, I didn’t go for the whole stem to stern option. Brazilians weren’t a thing yet. I’d wax my lip and bikini line and although painful, it was manageable. But I still got ingrown hairs and I got rashes and the results didn’t last past a week.
This wasn’t the solution I was looking for.
And then in my 30’s I discovered laser hair removal.
It was my godsend. I started with my face and never stopped. Suddenly, ingrown hairs were a thing of my past. They say you need between 4-6 treatments to get all the hair in its various growth cycles to achieve permanent hair removal, meaning between 90-99%.
I spent 3 years getting laser treatments all over my face and body. And even now, after more than 25 treatments, my results are only at about 70%.
I still have to shave but now it’s like shaving the fuzz off a peach rather than felling trees in a rainforest.
And I wasn’t safe from mishap either.
Once time I went into the ER and had to explain to several horrified nurses how it was I’d managed to, how did they put it? “Burn my cookie.”
The combination of the numbing cream, laser and my skin chemistry created a perfect storm and my routine bikini lasering session turned into an episode from “House.” I am the urban legend. Still jealous of my eyelashes?
I have my battle scars and war wounds but I can definitively say, I am a former hairy girl. My days as a sideshow attraction are in my past. But I’ll always be a hairy girl in my heart just like I’ll always have a bic razor in my pocket. I never leave home without it.