Humans are social creatures. Whether we would like to admit it or not, deep down inside, we all just want to feel included and accepted. As anyone who has ever attended a middle school knows, just fitting in isn’t as easy for some as it is for others. What happens when we decide to let our more unique traits show?
Read on to hear the story of one woman with a full beard who refuses to shave to conform.
10. Just Like Other Girls
For Alma Torres, her life didn’t always seem so different from her peers, and in many ways, it still doesn’t. Alma lives in New York alongside her adoring boyfriend, Taylor. In many ways, the photographer grew up just like any other normal American kid. The only difference? A rare diagnosis…
9. Puberty Stinks
As Alma was experiencing all of the usual awkward symptoms that come with growing into your adult body, she noticed some abnormalities. She struggled to stop gaining weight. She suffered from even more acne than the other kids. She even grew facial hair.
The reason for her crazy symptoms? Check out the next slide to find out.
8. A Devastating Diagnosis
When Alma Torres was just 16, her doctors realized that she was suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The brutal chronic illness is what had caused her socially-isolating symptoms, and that wasn’t all. She soon discovered she would be doomed to a life of menstrual irregularity and infertility as well.
7. Fighting Back
As soon as she learned the details of the struggles she faced at the hands of PCOS, the teenager got to work preparing for dealing with the battle ahead. Alma took to online tutorials and makeup counters in search of all the best products to control her unusual hair growth.
6. A Change Of Heart
For eight long years, the young woman fought tooth-and-nail to preserve her more ‘traditional’ features. Given facial hair was the most physically obvious of her symptoms, she became a slave to her tweezer. That is, until one day when the 24-year-old had finally had enough.
Read on to learn what bold step she took…
5. Face The Truth
Alma Torres was through with obsessing over her facial hair, so she stopped. One sunny August day, she decided to just leave her slight chin stubble. One day soon turned into one week, which quickly became many months. Alma’s beard grew in quite naturally, looking just like any new beard you might expect to see on any young man.
4. Unapologetically Alma
Alma continued about her life as normal, just with a little extra fuzz around the chin. She shamelessly contoured her eyebrows and blended her makeup any time she felt like it, paying no mind to the stares the contrast in her features might earn her in public. She even posted selfies flaunting her new look.
3. Haters Be Gone
Not everyone reacted to the spunky New Yorker’s unconventional appearance with words of kindness and support, however. “I have been called ugly, others have said I should kill myself. People have told me to go wax my ugly face and some have even called me ‘cancer,'” Alma revealed about the backlash she has received online.
Check out the next slide to learn how she has reacted to the hate…
2. Body Positive, Bearded, But Never Bothered
Alma Torres never takes people’s attacks personally, however. While many express deep resentments for her unapologetic happiness with her unconventional looks, she instead chooses to focus on those who may see her in a more positive light. “I feel more confident with the beard and I want to encourage other women with PCOS to feel the same,” the bold photographer has said.
Want to know if her boyfriend feels the same way? His response will warm your heart.
1. Support Along The Way
Alma isn’t the only person in her inner circle who remains unphased by the negative response to her going natural. Her adoring live-in boyfriend, Taylor, sees just as much beauty in her as she does in herself. “Her beard doesn’t define her. Hair doesn’t have anything to do with how a person feels and should never be able to change that,” Taylor said.