Hair. It’s everywhere. I’m growing out the hair on my head, and I’m super excited to finally have long hair. Elsewhere, hair is one of the biggest triggers for my gender dysphoria.
When Megan and I decided it was time for me to come out, one of the first things I did was to get rid of my body hair. My friends at the LGBT centre recommended it to me to help me be more comfortable with myself. It took about three hours and several razors, but when it was done, it looked like we had killed a bear in our bathtub. I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing I was on the path to becoming me.
Next I had to get rid of my beard. I was one of those people who had a five o’clock shadow at noon, so I had a lot of work to do. I went with my friends to a clinic about an hour away that offered laser hair removal for a relatively inexpensive price. It was a learning centre for local university students. I was so nervous to take this step.
“Hi there, nice to meet you!” a friendly face greeted me at the counter. An older woman who appeared to be an adviser checked me in for my appointment. My friends said, “This is Maddie.” It was strange to hear that out loud, because I was still getting used to being me and I was still presenting myself as male. The nurse wasn’t bothered by the clothing I was wearing and fully accepted me as Maddie. She briefly went through my medical history and explained about the laser hair removal procedure.
“It feels like a rubber band [elastic] being snapped on your skin,” one of the students performing the procedure told me. It was accurate but after getting that done to your face and neck, it hurt a lot. The first few times I did this I had a stress ball to squeeze. Pain is beauty, I thought.
Each time I’d go, I could feel the little hairs being zapped from my face. Then came the smell of the hair burning. Being on female hormones vastly improved my sense of smell, so that always stuck with me. Unfortunately, female hormones don’t do much for beard hair. I’m still doing laser hair removal two years later. My insurance provider is now covering costs for it, so I no longer attend this clinic.
It gets easier after each appointment. I think I have developed a high tolerance for pain now. I’ve started to feel more confident about going out of the house without wearing make-up. My face is almost completely done.
Now in preparation for surgery, the lasers have set their sights a lot lower than my face. This hurts so much more, but the surgeons need a completely hairless area in which to work. They will use most of the skin and we can’t have hair growing inside my body.
Pain is beauty, I remind myself.