A couple months ago I had this crazy ass thought. Go to work without my wig. Now granted, this thought has popped into my head before. Mostly on days where my wig is hot, itchy, pokey, or just plain annoying. However, on those days it was never a serious thought. More of a, “UGH I SHOULD JUST RIP THIS DUMB THING OFF” knowing very well I’d rather give up reality tv for life than show up at my work with my scalp exposed for the world to see. It was a shock, even to myself, when I started considering it seriously. It’s honestly very possible I was abducted by aliens and the normal scaredy cat Supriya is locked in a space ship while this alien Supriya who has a tiny smidge more of confidence has replaced me. The jury is still out.
When Alopecia Awareness Month rolled around, I knew it was now or never. The first week of September I went on Amazon and ordered a couple alopecia shirts with the intention of having bald Friday occur on 9/6. The delivery dates had other ideas and my plans got pushed to 9/13. Friday the 13th, full moon, and my big bald head! I mean some would say that is the perfect trifecta. I told a few people knowing the more people I told, the less likely I could back out. On 9/12 I fully committed to the cause. I sent an email to my friends at work and told them my plans and to wear blue (alopecia blue to be exact) if they wanted to show support. I knew once I sent the email I was locked in. I pressed send and started shaking and sweating. This was it. It was happening.
Friday morning my alarm went off and my nerves kicked in. Its funny because I can actually feel those same nerves now as I re-live that day. It is still all so surreal. I showered, threw on my nifty alopecia awareness ribbon shirt, slapped on some red lips (the perfect accessory to a bald head if you ask me), said a prayer I wouldn’t poop my pants in fear at work, and headed out the door. Many people asked me if I was going to keep my wig in the car, and the answer is no. I was ALL IN! Until I got into the parking garage that is. Then I was ALL NERVES. My heart was racing, the shakes were back, and I was so scared. What did I commit to?! I normally get to work pretty early so I was able to speed walk into the building without seeing many people. I sat down at my desk and waved hello to two of my teammates. They were in blue smiling excitedly at me. My heart was literally racing a mile a minute. I started to compose myself. “You can do this Supriya. You can do this” I kept telling myself over and over and over. All the meanwhile I was starting to sweat through my shirt, my hands were a quivering mess, and I was realizing just how cold office AC can be when you don’t have a wig on your head to keep you warm and toasty.
Then it started happening. The trickle of blue. Tameka, Dan, and Greg! High fives, hugs, photo op. They were so excited for me. The trickle quickly turned into a stream. Wyatt, Kanchan, Sujay, Casey, Taylor, Greg, Haley, Genna, Hosanna, Brandon, Marie, Wes, Melinda, Rachel, Ashleigh, Colleen, John, my entire team, and so many others were wearing blue in support! Then it turned into a river. Friends off site were sending me pictures (Venrick, Ashley, Tiph, Jordan, Zigs, Andrew), friends who used to work with me were sending me pictures (Kathryn, Eddie), friends who couldn’t be there that day were texting me. Everywhere I looked I saw more and more blue and my world was taken over by an army of support. At lunch time it was apparent that my river was a massive ocean. My friend Rachel arranged to have us meet outside for a group photo. I expected a handful of people to show up tops. I stood on the patio and waited. I had completely underestimated what was actually going to happen. I was in complete shock witnessing the number of friends pouring out of the door in support of me and alopecia!!!!! I looked to the left and saw Amy (who is on maternity leave!) walk in with a stroller and her new born Decker in his blue! I could not believe how many people were out there with me. I still cannot wrap my head around it. If I named everyone, this blog would turn into a never-ending list of names. While I stood on the photo with all of these amazing humans, I felt such an overwhelming sense of emotions. I’ve never known what it is like to receive this type of love and support. I can only imagine that this is what Taylor Swift feels like every single moment of her life. It is a moment that will be engrained in my memory forever!
As the day went on, I got to sit down and have conversations with people about what it is like to have alopecia. What the struggles feel like. What triumphs feel like. I’ve worked at my company for 8.5 years. 4.5 years with hair and 4 years without. For the first time, I was able to just relax and have open honest conversations about the things I’d spent so much of my career hiding. For the first time, I was able to be me. I didn’t whisper about my wig. I didn’t worry people would hear me say the word wig. I didn’t have to worry that people who didn’t know about my alopecia would realize I was wearing wig. For once, I didn’t feel embarrassed and ashamed to be the person in the office with alopecia. For the very first time, I felt empowered to be the person in the office with alopecia.
There are moments in life that will change your life forever. Full harvest moon and Friday the 13th of September 2019 is a day that completely changed my life. I’ve always loved the quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. It is safe to say my life began on Friday.
So, what is next? Will I quit wigs and embrace being an alien head going forward? Full time–Definitely not. I love my wigs and don’t plan on giving them up! Part time though, I’m not sure! This day was meant to be a challenge. To see if I could grow a pair big enough to accomplish the task at hand. Now that it is over and done with, I realize that I can do whatever I want and that is wonderfully freeing. I can wear my wig, I can go bald, I can wear different wigs, and everything in between! It is so wild that I can literally just LIVE and so LIVE is what I will do.