Woman with a beard reveals how she learned to embrace her excess body hair
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no "normal" way to look. There is no such thing as a "normal" face, "normal" eyes, a "normal" nose, or a "normal" smile. You've never met anyone with "normal" hair, or a "normal" body, and you'll never be someone with "normal" skin or a "normal" figure. Nobody out there is "normal". We're all a big bunch of weirdos - and the sooner we accept that, the better.
Unfortunately, it's much easier said than done, and a lot of individuals out there find themselves being labelled "abnormal" due to some physical characteristic they have.
Nova Galaxia, a woman from Richmond, Virginia, knows this all too well - because she has a beard.
Speaking about her facial hair with This Morning on ITV, Nova said, "It was basically a demon that I had to keep hidden from anyone."
She continued: "If I wanted to go to sleepover parties, or go out of town with people, I always had to hide my routine, I had to hide my whole process. If I forgot a razor, I would have a meltdown."
Nova is able to grow a beard because she has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a fairly common condition that causes some women to have higher testosterone levels (thus leading to greater amounts of body hair, irregular periods, weight gain, and sometimes depression). When she was a young teenager, Nova knew something was "abnormal" as she started sprouting facial hair - but she didn't know how to tell anyone.
"I kept it very secret for a long time," she explained. "I think it was about three years before I told an adult I was having this problem. It wasn’t just the hair, it was also I wasn’t having periods anymore. I didn’t tell anyone that because I was nervous that I would be looked at like a freak."
But that all changed when she saw pictures of Harnaam Kaur, a British model who proudly sports a full beard.
"It wasn't until I saw a model who has the same condition that I have - I just kind of realised that it's okay, I can be like that too. I can embrace everything that I have and be happy with it. I don't have to hold on to all this misery that I have," Nova said.
But it still took time to adjust.
"The first time I went out after I stopped shaving, I kept trying to shift my hair to try and hide my face. I caught myself being obnoxiously self-conscious about it, to the point where my partner was kind of annoyed about it.
"It was something that I hated about myself and nobody needs to hate some part of themself. When you hate something that's a part of you for so long, it controls you, it feels miserable, but once I stopped I stopped. It was like I was rebelling against myself, against hate."
And Nova has had some help along the way, too.
"My partner has always been very accepting of anything that I want to do. We both have the view that our bodies are our own and we love each other for our personalities - if it's something that I wanted to do, my partner would accept me 100 per cent."
Of course, she's still had to deal with some ignorant people's points of view along the way, but she says that - on the whole - her experience has been a positive one.
And for those who don't think Nova is "normal", just remember this: neither are you.