I’ve always had thick, blonde and naturally curly hair. When I was a kid, grown-ups would often comment on my hair and praise it. My parents were very proud of it, to the extent that they would push me into strangers’ photographs. And up until primary school I did have the impression that I was the most beautiful angel in the world.
Then, in secondary school, that same hair got me bullied. People called me a bomb dismantler and said I have a thousand-volt hair. I did everything I could to straighten my hair, but it didn’t work out.
All my life I was told that I could never cut my hair, but in the 9th grade I did. I shaved myself a mohawk. It felt liberating, like I was taking control of my looks. My mom got so mad she didn’t talk to me for a week. It was the worst argument we’ve ever had.
The hair continues to be something I have lots of difficult emotions about. If I let it grow long, strangers come and try to touch it. That makes me feel like I still don’t own myself.
My body and my weight are another sore subject to me. I started to gain weight when I was 13. My family would always make remarks about it. They would say that I ate like a horse or that I should lose weight. It felt really bad and was quite surely to blame when I stopped eating almost completely in high school. I lost almost 20 kilos. I was praised for it. Later on, the kilos returned, and my weight has been going up and down a lot in my life. It still makes me anxious. I feel like I have no control over it.
On the other hand, it’s not a part of my identity to be too skinny. And I have been, every now and then. So I wouldn’t like to lose too much weight, just a little bit. It annoys me that this angle is not considered when people talk about weight control, and nobody supports you in that.
Sometimes it’s absurd to me how much people comment on the way I look, in bars, social media, everywhere. And how they manage to get underneath my skin. I feel like I’ve heard everything that can be said about my looks, every extreme. I’m tired of hearing anything about it, even positive things. It’s not anybody’s business.
About five years ago I was spending an evening with the guy I was dating at the time. He had already gone to bed when his drunken friend started to yell at me that you’re a fucking ugly woman. It was awful. I was unable to do anything, I couldn’t even leave the room. I’m sure I will always remember it. I told my partner about it in the morning, but he didn’t handle the situation particularly well. No one apologized to me.