I tweezed my eyebrows off after I got bullied for them being ‘too thick’

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I tweezed my eyebrows off after I got bullied for them being ‘too thick’

It took five years for them to fully grow back

Eyebrows are everything. Every model, actress and beauty ad isn’t complete without flawless makeup and thick, gorgeous brows. Hell, “eyebrows on fleek” is a phrase entirely dedicated to having perfect brows that complete every look. It’s weird to even think that at one point, years ago, no one really cared about how thick or thin eyebrows were.

At least maybe the adults didn’t.

Seven or so years ago, adolescent me was just entering middle school. This was the time in our young lives when we had presentations at school about this strange metamorphosis we would all go through, a thing called puberty. We were told we’d grow hair in weird places, our body chemistry would change, and girls would start the dreaded period. Life was going to suck from here on out.

It’s so common to hear how society shapes our minds to desire a particular body type, and completely hate ourselves when we can’t achieve such unrealistic standards. There’s even a disorder that explains this phenomenon, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and it especially affects the young, still developing minds of young girls.

Some people deny that this disorder is a real thing (similarly to other emotional disorders, funny how that works), but it’s simply not true. BDD is a very real thing.

I can attest to it because I have been affected by it first hand.

When puberty hit in fifth grade, girls actually started to care about the way they looked. We discovered make up, hair styling tools and everything else under the sun that has now become such a normal part of every woman’s daily life. Among these discoveries was maintaining body hair, shaving and shaping our eyebrows.

Being Hispanic, I’ve had thick eyebrows ever since I was born. But at this stage of my life when I was suddenly forced to care about my appearance, simply because everyone else was doing it, my eyebrows became just another part of me that I had to change to make everyone else happy.

The thick, natural eyebrows that I was born with

I never thought that there was anything really “wrong” with my eyebrows until one day at school during recess when two of my fellow classmates approached me.

“Your eyebrows are so bushy,” one said.

“You have a unibrow,” the other added.

I went home that night and stared at my eyebrows in the bathroom mirror, wondering what the deal was. I came to the conclusion that the girls at school were right. My eyebrows were too thick. They didn’t look like their eyebrows so I had to “fix” what was “wrong” with them.

So I did exactly that. I went into my mom’s makeup bag, found her tweezers, and got to work.

I remember going down to dinner that night with the center of my forehead bright red and raw from the tweezing. My mom asked why my forehead was red, and I nervously lied and told her I didn’t know. Truthfully, I had “gotten rid of the unibrow,” but I’d ventured too far from the center and had an awkward gap in between them now.

But I didn’t stop there.

For a period of time, I was completely fixated on how my eyebrows looked, and every night I sat in front of the mirror and tweezed away. Until one day, there really wasn’t much hair left to tweeze.

My brows at their absolute worst, nearly 13 years ago

I graduated eighth grade with almost no eyebrows. They were, if that, a hair or two in width. They were so thin that you couldn’t see them in photos so I tried my hardest to avoid cameras. To this day, there are very few photos of me from this period of time in existence.

My brows about half way through high school when I would regularly pencil them in, one of the few photos I can find from the time

Starting high school, I realized just how horrible my eyebrows looked and began penciling them in, doing absolutely whatever I could to make them look better than they actually did. And for nearly five years I waited for them to grow back.

My brows between high school and college, when they had mostly grown back but still had an odd shape

It is a complete understatement to say that I am so lucky that they did, in fact, grow back.

Today, half way through college, I often get compliments about how nice my eyebrows look. It’s funny to think that they’re only considered nice looking now that society loves thick eyebrows, and even funnier that at one point, I didn’t have any at all.

Me today, with thick eyebrows that took nearly five years to grow back

My story is not unique. Young women all over the world have experienced issues similar to mine, where they became completely fixated on “fixing” something that someone else convinced them was “broken.”

I share my story with hopes that it will raise awareness about BDD and all of its implementations on women, especially the youngest of us. They are the most impressionable, and if the opinions of society and those within it influence them early enough in their lives, it will truly affect them forever.

@elena_alvarez21