Do you remember anything about when you started? Or did you just realise one day that you do it, without really knowing why or for how long? It’d be great to hear your histories. This is mine:
I started by plucking my eyebrows just like everyone else, tidying and getting rid of strays. My eyebrows are naturally quite bushy, so I guess this was a pretty big job. To start with it was pretty normal, but I’ve always been a perfectionist. Soon if I could see the tiniest stray hair, it had to go. But it wasn’t out of control, not yet.
I’d always felt like I had to hide the fact that I plucked my eyebrows. I remember the boys at school making fun of the girls who plucked their eyebrows a lot. It wasn’t that I really thought there was anything wrong with it, but personal grooming for me was a bit of a weird taboo. It was something I was sure other people did, but I didn’t have the kind of friends and family who really talked about it. I didn’t even read magazines that talked about it. I’ve always that believed it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so maybe I didn’t want to publicly acknowledge that I did anything so vain, so shallow as spending any time and effort on my appearance.
It still wasn’t a problem until I was 18. My parents announced a few weeks before my final a-level exams that my dad had had an affair and they were getting divorced. I got through the exams without any problems - I was lucky enough to be smart and survived on last minute revision, ignoring what was going on at home. 3 months later I moved out to go to college, moving in with a girl I knew from school, B. Living with her was great.
Then she did something she’ll never know she did. She introduced me to public grooming. B used to sit in the living room plucking her eyebrows while we talked, something I’d never seen before. Of course I’d seen girls checking their make-up in public before, but they were always girls I thought of as vain and silly. I’d never seen this kind of behaviour from anyone I respected. Suddenly it was ok to pluck my eyebrows and look after my appearance, it didn’t mean I was shallow. Delighting in my new found freedom, I joined in, plucking my eyebrows downstairs while we talked of hiding away in the bathroom on my own.
Then B got a boyfriend. She did the classic disappearing trick, spending all her time with him and none of it with me. We’d spent so much time together I hadn’t properly made any other friends, and found myself alone. I don’t think I’d really dealt with my parents divorce yet either - having to get through my A levels had made me push it to one side, something to deal with later. Then came the distraction of college and the novelty of independence. Now it hit, and it hit hard. I became depressed, spending hours alone in my room crying. I had a supportive boyfriend at the time, but it was long distance. I don’t think he ever really knew how bad I got.
Around this time I remember reading an interview with a female celebrity in a magazine B left lying around. I’m not quite sure who it was now, but I remember very clearly what she said. When she feels stressed, she plucks her eyebrows. It helps her to relax. Could this have triggered some connection in my mind? A link between emotion and eyebrow plucking? Perhaps. The fact that I still remember it suggests that it did.
Everything was still fine until I lost my tweezers. I’ve already mentioned that I can be a perfectionist and that my eyebrows were naturally large. The house was a mess, I couldn’t find my tweezers anywhere and the stray hairs were growing, fast. I didn’t want to buy a new pair of tweezers when I knew they were here somewhere, and I was broke. So I started trying to pull the hairs out with my fingernails.
I soon found my tweezers again, but it was too late. I’d already discovered that I could grip the hairs between my fingernails and it wasn’t long before I found myself pulling without meaning to, often without even knowing about it. My eyebrows got smaller and patchier and the skin got red and sore. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t stop. It was 2 years before I heard of Trich.
Here I am, 7 years later, still doing it.
That’s my story, tell me yours?
best wishes to all,