At the far end of the classroom I was sitting with my friend while the boys were teasing us on a subject I can no longer remember. We just moved to 9th grade and everyone was going through the puberty changes which are enough of a struggle for children, in addition I got a shock in the form of thick black hair growth all over my face and other parts where generally females aren’t suppose to have them. Needless to say I was at the receiving end of many a mocking comments from boys. Up until now I was referred to a one of the pretty girls in class though due to my general shyness I didn’t make much of it. After this change however I was always reluctant to be a part of events or places where I’d have to face a crowd. Most students are sensible enough to not say anything to your face but in your mind you are acutely aware of how their body language tells you what they are noticing. 

My periods were very irregular and this ran in the family but no-one else had the hirsutisms issue as much as I did. On the top of that I had milky white skin which made it more apparent to onlookers. Yes waxing the face or some other tricks could give some temporary relief but I wanted to address the root cause and tried yoga, pranayama, even allopathy doctor’s medicines(which basically just had contraceptives inducing artificial periods monthly and not doing much for actual problem). Those were not the days when internet was all that big or youtube had n number of videos about PCOD and its lifestyle related changes which one ought to make.

Till the end of school life and almost entire college life I lived under the burden of having this unsolvable problem to deal with. I avoided crowds on purpose and even avoided guests who came at home. Worst part is not what people said to you on your face , worst was what I thought they could say if i rub someone the wrong way. Even at home whenever fights broke out among siblings which is common, this is the first thing which they ridiculed (sometimes not always). I’d not want to face too many people especially boys among my peers. Prior to this change, I was referred to as “Barbie doll” by one guy who was crushing on me and post this I just didn’t have courage to face him or any other guy, I avoided them to the best of my ability.

In my college also I never revealed my crushes to anyone thinking, ” I look horrible, I have no right to have crushes, What would they say if they knew, They’d probably just ridicule me further”.

One of my coping mechanism back then was: everyday while coming back from my college I’d tell myself “This is the last day I have to live with this unwanted thing on my face and body, soon enough I’d find some permanent natural solution to it.”. It may sound silly but when we are anxious we need to be able to soothe our anxiety with what works for us and somehow it did give me tiny bit of relief. This issue may not sound much to those who don’t have it but for a girl to have such deep thick growth in many areas of body fills her with anxiety day in day out. 

Even back then almost everyday I was petrified by the idea of getting married as in marriage people will see each other through and through , there is nowhere to hide. Self talk was, ” Who would be able to accept something so disgusting? no-one , I need to be able to either fix this or never get married. Should i tell in advance , will I even have to option to do that given my family and their stringent rules and regulations filled with punishments for any deviation”.

If someone has some illness they usually are able to share it and listeners would be sympathetic about it. They may get those typical answers:

hope you get better

you should see xyz doctor , one relative consulted him for the same problem.

Have you tried xyz method/medicine/herb etc.

But for hirsutism there is so much stigma that even those who have it don’t like to talk about it. At least I didn’t want to. These days due to lifestyle change more and more women are affected by PCOD and i think its not getting the attention it deserves. Adding the extra pressure of matching the unrealistic images of beauty shown by marketers its all the more difficult to openly talk share and heal the symptoms that accompany it, especially the hair. Putting all this together will  my generally low self esteem and unstable almost explosive environment at home it made a cocktail where mostly my teenage and early twenties were filled by unwanted anxiety and inferiority complex. There were good moments too off course and at home it was not always bad but I don’t think people around me ever realized to what extent I was suffering inside. Now when I think about it I know it was not always circumstances I was also my way of looking at things. Somehow I felt like a victim most of the time rather than taking charge, a trait that follows me to this day around.

As with all bad phases this too passed in its own time and I’ll share that soon.

Pay Anything You Like

Neha Singh

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