“…I had come to expect it. was on guard all the time…I watched people try to figure out what pronoun to use for me, and that no longer felt empowering, just inaccurate. I started anticipating that leaving my house meant a battle with the world, and I was getting badly beaten.
I started to hate everyone. I started to hate strangers, assuming they would fuck with me. Or pity me. Or stare in horror. And often I was right. I felt guilty, like breaking the norms in the way I did caused this horrible junior high attitude to come bubbling outside of otherwise lovely people. I felt like I was only seeing people at their worst, that I was only inspiring their worst.
I know it’s not my fault, and it never was, that sometimes people are just assholes. But I couldn’t sustain it anymore.”
This passage, which I found in a zine about hairy women that my best friend gave me, really hit home, and I find myself returning to it during rough times in my decades of struggle with self-acceptance. It’s only a small snippet of an article which explains her years of living with a full beard, and her ultimate reluctant choice to get laser hair removal. She expresses regret in having had to make that choice, because she doesn’t want to be complicit in other women feeling like they, too, need to succumb to cultural demands for depilation. That my facial hair is somewhat less substantial (I only have a decent moustache and a smattering of chin hairs, not a full beard) and that the conclusion I’ve come to about how to handle it are different are not the most relevant details here - her feelings are what resonate.
I’m moving on after several years of substitute teaching in part because I’ve decided that being taunted about my masculinity and hirsutism daily is not in my best interests. I’m a good teacher, and a lot of students have expressed delight in having spent time with me, but I haven’t been able to successfully deflect all of their negative opinions, and yet again it’s having repercussions in my personal life. I come home to my partner feeling hostile & defeated, and I expect him to help lift me out of the pit. It’s not his responsibility, and it’s not fair to ask that of him, yet I seem to be unable to externalize all the verbal abuse. The fact that my students are going through puberty, will soon, or have recently doesn’t justify cruelty in my mind - just illustrates the toxicity of our society, and how indoctrination begins at such a young age.
I should know by now, though, that I am not helping by also assuming the worst of grown adults. I should try harder to remember that women who conform to gender standards more successfully than I do, even the ones who may rather not in a world where they felt that was an option socially or economically, are not my enemy. No one choice any of them make is the enemy. The mandate is the enemy - the double standards, the need to make secret what women go through to meet them, and the impossible expectations are the enemy. The women and trans* people who fight the same internal battles daily but have chosen a different way to survive, to get by - who have chosen a path that puts them further in line with the norm - are not the biggest threat to me. They are my most likely allies, because they see in my choices other possibilities - roads not taken - and honor them by offering respect. I owe the same to them, even if I envy their privilege.
The woman who wrote this deserves to feel accepted and loved, with or without her beard. I also deserve to feel accepted and loved, even with my moustache and the tens of thousands of hairs on my body that I can hide or show depending upon how strong I am feeling on a particular day. When I look around and see a bunch of bodies and faces I don’t relate to on the surface, I would do well to remember that many of these women may in fact have more compassion for me than disdain. Many, to be sure, do not, but always assuming the worst of people is poisoning my relationship to self and others and making it difficult to allow anyone to love me - even those who already do.
Love to all people who want a world in which we are all encouraged to be the selves which best reflect who we are, even if we haven’t all personally been able to live this dream to date.
The Donkey Sanctuary is hopeful efforts to provide a better life for 200 wild donkeys on a Caribbean island will prove fruitful, horsetalk.co.nz reports.
The British-based charity has gone into bat for the feral donkeys on the island of Bonaire, in the Dutch Caribbean.
Donkeys have been living feral on Bonaire for hundreds of years and many fall victim to terrible acts of abuse, road traffic accidents, illness, dehydration and sometimes starvation.
The charity has stepped in to help a local charity, Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire, to persuade the government of Bonaire to reconsider its plan to transport 200 feral donkeys to Haiti.
My parents think that no one would date a girl who chooses to grow out their leg/armpit hair. Reblog if you would, please. I am going to prove a point.
would & have but am sadly way less gay than I’d like to be so mostly I just rock it myself
The fields are flooding and the rain’s still falling. Soggy roots. Unexpected day off work. Back to bed with the poodle. Choices: Mend, Snuggle, Make saag with all that farm spinach, Straighten, TV on the internet, Organize my desk, Rabbit play date, Stitch patches on vest, Banjo, Clean out fridge/freezer, Museum?, Letters, New Farmers Almanac reading, Store winter clothes, Watch music videos, Laundry…
Just passed hitchhikers. Yeah right. Not picking you guys up. Sorry. I don’t think I will ever pick up a hitchhiker. My dads friends from college tried to hitchhike home. I think they found the bodies but I’m not quite sure.
Either way. No. No hitchhiking. Don’t wanna die.
Unless they have beer. Like that Super Bowl ad a few years back. Except not really.
Your choice, but as a woman who has hitchhiked, often solo, for 17 yrs., your perceptions of us as a group are unfounded, & the hostility seems unnecessary.
We, as hitchhikers, are taking a much bigger risk than the driver. I almost died once, but it was because someone was a terrible driver, not a psychopath. That said, I’ve been in other scary car accidents with people I know - with motor vehicle travel, it’s a numbers game. If you don’t want a stranger in your car, that’s fair, but there’s no need to contribute to negative stereotypes. There is risk inherent in everyday life, in all travel. I’m not economically privileged enough to always have the money to travel by train or bus in expensive countries, but I still want to see them. I adore the connections I’ve made along the way - the chance to meet people I never would have encountered otherwise. Being able to hitchhike is a privilege some of my friends don’t have - people trust them less because of their skin color, or (like my boyfriend) they have a disability. It may soon become more difficult for me, too, now that I’m 2 years shy of 40. Regardless, it has taught me more than my degree from UC Berkeley; as much as all the books I’ve ever read combined. It has been such a joy in my life, and when people dismiss us as psychopaths & murderers, I have to take exception.