I used to get asked this question a lot when I was younger.
"What does being bald feel like?"
"Did it hurt when your hair fell out?"
Questions like this used to really upset me.
Not only did I NOT want to answer them but I also didn't want any reason to have to talk about the fact that I'd lost my hair. I didn't want to be reminded that I had Alopecia.
All those question did to me was to open up an ageing wound.
Every question stung me and hurt me all over again on an emotional level.
I didn't want any reminders. All I wanted was for all of it to be over. I wished I was having a nightmare and that I'd wake up soon and it would all be over.
But that's not how life works is it ....
As a teenager my parents took on the approach of avoidance.
If a shampoo advert came on the telly they switched channels. When a mascara advert came on guess what they did? Yep you got it! They switched the channel.
I know they were trying to protect me and did what they did to avoid upsetting me but it taught me a very bad habit which took me a good ten years to change.
They taught me avoidance. I became an ostrich. And just like an ostrich I began burying my head in the sand as a way to protect myself when I was scared.
My fiancé brought me out of myself when we met ten years ago.
He didn't do anything elaborate or dazzling he just let me know that it was ok to be myself. My Alopecia didn't make him view me any differently. He thought I was a great person and that's who he fell in love with. It was from that point my confidence grew.
It was a slow process!
I took baby steps to accepting myself and my Alopecia but those important baby steps helped me get to where I wanted to be. Those baby steps took me directly to starting my business Aspire and I can't imagine doing anything else now.
So, now when I'm asked the question "how does it feel to lose your hair?" I can answer honestly and with confidence ...
It's painful emotionally.
Initially it robs you of a chunk of your identity.
It makes you wonder if you'll ever find that special someone who will love you regardless of your Alopecia.
It can often introduce you to depression. A depression so dark you don't know how you even manage to breath. Breathing feels like too much effort.
It makes you angry. You hate Alopecia.
And then I remember how the other side of the coin feels .....
It made me realise how strong I am emotionally.
It made me realise how much of an impact finding the right alternative hair can have on a person.
It made me realise I was resilient.
It made me realise I'm not alone in this.
I hope, if your reading this .... If your struggling right now that you will take some comfort in the fact that you're NOT weak either. You’re strong. You’re amazing and you're going to be ok :)
Massive amounts of love and hugs to all those struggling today.