One of my most gorgeous friends is feeling pretty bummed these days. Her first white pubic hair has grown in. And that was seven white pubic hairs ago.
She’s only in her 30′s, so this unexpected situation has really shaken her up. And admittedly, the whole thing’s got me baffled as well; either her vagina is aging faster than the rest of her body, or her vagina recently experienced a big scare. Either way, my friend is miserable.
She has nicknamed her white hairs “The Seven Deadly Sins” and intends to dye them back to their original raven-colored glory.
Now I know it’s a free country and all, but when I imagined my poor friend wearing plastic gloves and applying hair dye to her crotch with a little plastic wand, I had to step in and intervene.
“Just embrace them,” I suggested. “Think of them as The Seven Dwarfs, which makes you Snow White – the fairest one of all.”
She wasn’t buying it.
Each one of us has a physical imperfection that urks us, and we insist that if that one flaw were out of the picture our quality of life would drastically improve. We tell ourselves that our well-being is at the mercy of seven white pubic hairs (or whatever).
Believe me, I get it. My great insecurity? Thin hair. Thin as in balding.
I don’t know what terrible act my ancestors committed in the past that would have the gods cast the curse of a baldness upon both the men AND women in the Eclipse family. All I know is that ever since age twelve, people (acquaintances, strangers on the street, and boys I had crushes on) have never been too shy to point out my flaw as if I’d forgotten it existed. Aggravating factor: I’m only 5’0”, which means 90% of adults who walk past me practically get a birds eye view of my little landing strip of bare scalp.
But around the age of 30 I made a promise to myself: one day I’ll be able to walk the streets and not feel so self-conscious about my physical imperfections. I will not care if people can see my damn bald spot. I’ll make no apologies. I’ll be free.
Each day I work toward this goal but it certainly hasn’t been easy. The first thing I had to do was stop teasing my hair in order to give it the appearance of fullness. No more tricks. No more hiding. My next challenge was to ride the New York City subway without succumbing to the temptation of fluffing my hair at the crown when I knew that my bald spot was in someone’s line of vision. (Side note: This is how most therapists treat anxiety and phobias – it’s about sitting through discomfort, coming out at the other end having survived it, and becoming stronger as result.)
Some days I’m pretty good at not hiding my bald spot, while on other days I’m not. But I believe that with practice it will get easier, and that the reward for my hard work will be emotional freedom and a greater capacity to see the big picture in any given situation.
This brings me back to my beautiful friend with the, uh…hairy situation. (C’mon, I had to squeeze that in somewhere.) I don’t think she is interested in defeating The 7 White Wonders of Her World through the empowering virtue of self-acceptance, but I wish she would give it a try. If we were all examples to each other of what it looks like to age and change with grace and courage, I think that there would be many more very happy people with bald spots and white pubic hair walking the planet.
Less time spent hiding our flaws means more time doing great things. Now that’s what I call real beauty.