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Weeding the Body

Trichotillomania and the Unconscious Desire to Pull


God spare you the judgment of a fifteen-year-old girl. Recently, one whom I like a lot showed me some pictures of her classmates, slowly swiping left, submitting them to my sentencing and her own. She paused at one photo and used her fingers to zoom in. “She pulls out her hair,” she confided, her voice low with disgust. “It’s so gross.” I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, and I told her so. “Her eyelashes,” she said. Indeed, eyelashless, the girl’s face looked slightly bare and denuded, unnerving but not exactly unattractive. I told my friend to go easy. “I just don’t understand why she can’t just stop,” she said, dismissing in an instant both her classmate’s physical appearance and her personal fortitude. Without her eyelashes, this girl was functionally nothing. 


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