She Will School You On Self Acceptance

At some point or another, we all learn to accept (if not love) those physical traits we may have hated as teenagers, like big noses or not stick-straight hair (cut to that one scene from Mean Girls). But what if you had to accept being a woman with a full-blown beard? Harnaam Kaur, a 23-year-old teaching assistant from Slough, Berkshire, not only learned to love her facial hair — she says she can’t imagine life without it.

Kaur, a teaching assistant from Slough, Berkshire, has polycystic ovary syndrome — a condition that caused her to begin growing a beard at age eleven. Thick hair on her arms and chest quickly followed. Despite doing everything to hide it, from painful waxing to holding her hand over her face in the presence of others, she was still ashamed. So ashamed, in fact, that she rarely left the house, and started self-harming and suffering from suicidal thoughts in her early teens. Who could blame her? When bullies are calling you names like “beardo” and “shemale,” it seems impossible not to go to a dark place.

Then, when Kaur was sixteen, everything changed. She decided to be baptized Sikh, a religion that not only prohibits the cutting of hair but considers it a gift from God. Kaur's decision prompted her to end the vicious waxing/bleaching/shaving cycle and let everything grow out…and she loved the results. So much so that even after her parents convinced her to shave off her facial hair again at seventeen to up her chances of having a “normal life,” she missed it. Kaur said that she didn’t feel herself without her beard and body hair, and that it makes her feel more confident.

“I feel more feminine, more sexy and I think I look it too.”

Can we stop for a minute and applaud this woman?

Perhaps her secret to self-confidence is her ability to laugh about it. Kaur mentioned that she jokes with her students about her beard, and enjoys pranking women in public restrooms. Maybe it’s her strong support system— not only have her parents accepted her decision, but her brother is also her biggest fan. Or maybe, it’s her ability to simply love herself at all costs.

All that matters to me at the moment is that I love myself. I love my beard and all my other little quirks - my tattoos, my scars, stretch marks and blemishes. I want other women to find the strength that I have. If I had any message it would be to live the way you want - it's your journey and it's your life.

I think it's safe to say that self-confidence is up there on the "list of things that make someone beautiful." If being confident means growing out your facial hair, I say do it.

Image: Daily Mail UK