I Don't Give A Sh*t About How I Look, So Why Do You Still Criticise My Appearance?

Over the past year, I've become increasingly comfortable with having trichotillomania. Having suffered for 18 years, it has taken me enough time to finally come to terms with living with the disorder. Along with accepting the illness itself, I have found peace with the way I look (having struggled with insecurities for as long as I can remember). While I'm not 100% comfortable yet - I still find eye contact extremely awkward, for example - it has got a lot better, and I've finally stopped giving a shit about what people think of me and my appearance.




This blog has helped a lot with this process. Choosing to become more open about trich has allowed me to settle within an online community of people who have the same experiences with the disorder. Posting photos of myself with my trich there for the world to see has boosted my confidence. As I soon learnt that many other people don't too, I started to feel totally at ease with the fact that I have no eyelashes or eyebrows.


Considering how long it has taken me to reach this point of acceptance, you can understand my disbelief (and hurt) when upon returning to my family home and slobbing about with zero make-up on my visage, to hear the following comments from my brother: "Jesus! You look ugly without make-up!".


Now, I know younger brothers aren't always the most supportive of people, but to hear these remarks when he is fully aware of my (essentially) life-long battle with trichotillomania made me a bit lost for words. He knows how much it has affected me, and how paranoid I used to be about my appearance, so it felt like a bit of a cheap dig. Aside from sibling bickering, it made me think, why do other people feel the need to comment on my appearance? I'm fine with wearing no slap and happy within myself, so why do others think it's OK to criticise what damage trich has done to my face?




I spoke to my mum about this later in the day, and asked her what she thought about his comments on my appearance. While she disagreed with the way he articulated it, she didn't necessarily disagree with the message at the heart of his comments (not that I'm ugly, but that I look noticably different). These are the people closest to me, who I've spoken openly about trich with, who have seen the disorder crush me at points, so these opinions really struck me as surprising.


When I probed further, asking her if she thought I did look ugly without my eyebrows drawn on or my eyeliner perfectly winged, her response was surprising. I expected a 'you look beautiful no matter what' motherly response, but instead I got a hard kick full of brutal honesty. Obviously, I know I look different without make-up - as my mum said, eyebrows and eyelashes frame your face and highlight your features. Your face will naturally look different without these.


Just because I look different it doesn't mean I look ugly or bad. She continued to explain that people would probably stop and stare if I went out sans-makeup because trich made me look ill, that strangers may assume I have a physical illness. I do want to say that in a way I do appreciate the honesty from my mum- it is good to have open discussions about things like this and how other people perceive illnesses. It's just the manner in which you have these discussions which is important. She went on to explain that lack of awareness around trichotillomania is at the root of these judgements and assumptions; there is still a clear stigma around mental health illness (and particularly the physical manifestations of them) in contrast to physical illnesses.




Frankly, I don't really care about how other people think I look. I've accepted this disorder and it only affects the way I look, so I don't quite understand how it should concern anyone else. When you get comments saying you're ugly, look weird or ill, or that you're a freak (yep, I've had that one in the past), it's almost as if people are trying to make you feel bad about your own appearance or for having this disorder. Luckily, I've grown resilient enough to shrug these comments off, but not everyone will be able to.


So, whether you have trich or not, please stop judging others on their appearance. Whether they're confident or insecure, it is not nice to stare at someone because they may look a bit different to you. Having bald patches, no brows or patchy lashes doesn't make you ugly at all - you're just as beautiful as the next person. Besides, there is so much more to life than appearance (and especially what other people think of it).


You draw your brows on and they don't necessarily look natural? WHO CARES?! You think people who draw their brows on look ridiculous? WHO CARES!? Maybe, instead of judging them, you should think about why they may draw their brows on. You'll probably find your comments on their appearance are making their life far more difficult. Instead of ridiculing, perhaps stop, turn that comment into a complement, and brighten someone's day.




JUST SHOW SOME LOVE, PEOPLE. LOVE YOURSELVES.



Pretty and Polished

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22 comments

  1. Wow, this is such a heartfelt and honest post. Your worth as a person isn't tied up in how you look at all - as trite as it sounds, it's in who you are on the inside. And you seem like such a strong, self-possessed person! I'm sorry that you have to deal with such harsh comments - you're absolutely right that it's nobody else's business how you look or why you look that way.

    Clementine | My Darling Clementine

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    1. Thank you. So much emphasis is placed on how we look we often forget that there is so much more to a human than that x

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  2. This is such a great post, having people comment negatively on your appearance is not fun at all, especially when it's about something you can't change! I once overheard people having a conversation saying 'Oh she could be quite pretty if she lost some weight', which really got me because I was struggling with my weight due to hypothyroidism at the time. It's very much a 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all' kind of situation! Also, your eyebrow drawing on skills are on point. Just sayin' :P

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    1. Aww thanks, you charmer Allie! It really annoys me too- you never know what that person is going through. We're all guilty of judging sometimes, but it doesn't mean it has to be articulated x

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  3. You are so pretty with or without make up. Its hard getting harsh comments from people who you dont know let alone family. You are obviously a very strong person remember that strength. xxx

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    1. Aww thank you, that's such a kind comment! Xx

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  4. Your pictures were the first time I'd seen anyone else with trich without make up, and you made me see how pretty our 'without makeup' face actually is, you know I used to say I always wanted to look 'regular rough' (I.e 'normal' face without makeup) versus 'trich rough', then I realised what a horrid way to think that was, none of us look 'rough' without make up, just different, and what's harder is when you don't confirm to people's expectations, frankly, that's their problem and shouldn't make it ours. Familiarity is key with how people react thoughtlessly (not necessarily malicious, just react before thinking) people see something, anything unfamiliar and knee jerk comment. I want you to know that you're the single biggest influence on my battle with this, you helped me discover Kiss Eyelashes and a confidence and self love (still work in progress!) that has seen my eyelashes actually grow longer than they've been in a long time (although patchy, but still proud). The sum of your worth is far more than your brother's thoughtless words, and anyone else's for that matter x

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    1. This is such a lovely comment, thank you so much Sian! I'm so happy to hear that you're still making progress- you should be so proud! I think you've hit the nail on the head with the familiarity point- people aren't used to seeing others without lashes or brows, and it is just a case of thoughtlessness (and lack of awareness). Trich is one of those illnesses where you beat yourself up constantly about how you look - it makes you feel ashamed and embarrassed. It shouldn't be like that! WE'RE ALL FABULOUS! Haha! x

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  5. Your pictures were the first time I'd seen anyone else with trich without make up, and you made me see how pretty our 'without makeup' face actually is, you know I used to say I always wanted to look 'regular rough' (I.e 'normal' face without makeup) versus 'trich rough', then I realised what a horrid way to think that was, none of us look 'rough' without make up, just different, and what's harder is when you don't confirm to people's expectations, frankly, that's their problem and shouldn't make it ours. Familiarity is key with how people react thoughtlessly (not necessarily malicious, just react before thinking) people see something, anything unfamiliar and knee jerk comment. I want you to know that you're the single biggest influence on my battle with this, you helped me discover Kiss Eyelashes and a confidence and self love (still work in progress!) that has seen my eyelashes actually grow longer than they've been in a long time (although patchy, but still proud). The sum of your worth is far more than your brother's thoughtless words, and anyone else's for that matter x

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  6. Well said. This is one of the reasons I love blogging - I think it provides a level of confidence for both writers and readers that can't always be attained through other mediums. Keep your confidence out there. Remember makeup is something we use because we like it and it makes us feel good. I hope you never feel like you need to hide yourself through make up. xx

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    1. Definitely, I don't think I'd be the same person without this blog. Thank you- I agree that make-up should always be an option and not a necessity! xx

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  7. This is such a wonderful post Sophie! I love how you've shown both sides of the story. You are so strong and I know what it's like when people say things like that about your appearance. I think you look beautiful with or without makeup!

    hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk xx

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  8. Thank you Jordan! Such a lovely comment xx

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  9. Thanks for your words. You are an amazing blogger!
    First of all i want to apologice for my english... maybe it s not the best but i am from spain and still improving my skills...
    i have sufferd trich for 15 years ( i am 22) and it really makes me feel better to keep in touch with people with the same fellings as me..
    you are an inspiration. I would like to say i am beautiful. However each time i see my face without makeup i see a monster in the mirror..
    you really look beautiful and y dont have to care about what other prople think you have to be confident and happy with yourself ... that s the way u will fight against this horrible problem.
    Even when i have makeup i see my face horrible because each time i talk with a person i think they are just lookingat my eyebrown and i cant see at them (to their eyes) ... it s such a big problem...
    I am going to keep watching your blog so go on with this fabulous work!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I used to see the same whenever I looked in the mirror (and still do from time to time), but it is a confidence thing. I strongly believe in learning self-worth and self-love, and the confidence which comes through this helps extraordinarily when trying to overcome the problems trich poses. You need to remember that you are beautiful- putting yourself down all the time will only make you feel worse. I still struggle with making eye contact with people, and am paranoid that everyone I see is noticing the disorder. However, most of this is in my own head, and it's just a part of the illness that you may have to accept (unfortunately).

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  10. All I am seeing is a fresh-faced, beautiful girl - and wishing I had your gorgeous skin!

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  11. You go girl! So proud of you for feeling confident enough to post this. Super inspiring! Holly x http://www.thechroniclesofholly.com/

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  12. Aw bless I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with comments like that, it's really heartbreaking :( But it's so awesome that you've been able to ignore, learn from them and become a stronger person from it. Honestly, the people who are calling you names are clearly people you don't want to hang out with anyway so why would/should you care what they say? I say GO YOU! I think it's so brave and fab that you're being so open about it, it will only help other trichsters and yourself in the long term :) Gweni xxx

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Gweni! It's so true that 'friends' that insult you or make remarks REALLY aren't friends in the first place xxxx

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