Started At The Bottom

Somedays I post on my Baldie Boo Instagram and get comments from people telling me they wish they could be as brave as me. It is the best to receive compliments like that, but when I read them, I feel like that puzzled giphy. You know the one. Where the girl is standing there confused as math problems swirl around her head. Brave is never a word I’ve associated with myself. Except on days where I’m having an anxiety attack and I repeatedly tell myself to be brave over and over again. Which just happened to happen today while I was driving to a friend’s wedding shower. Do any of you get driving anxiety? I do and it can be THE WORST. I spent a solid 30 min telling myself to be brave while trying to convince my brain that a semi was not going to plow through my car on my way up North. It is like I am an American Ninja Warrior and everyday my brain is giving me a new warped wall to scale.

 
Anywho, it got me thinking about my alopecia journey. How did I go from the girl who would have rather eaten fried worms than appear in public bald, to the girl who now has a social media dedicated to her bald head and just went to work wig free?!? I came up with a list of things that helped me get to this point and I thought I’d dig deeper into each one in the coming weeks.

 

This week’s contender—attitude of gratitude! Raise your hand if your life completely changed after watching ‘The Secret’ and you’ve spent every day since waiting for checks in the mail! *Raises Hand* Seriously though, I know some people think it is all a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but I swear it’s a real thing! The more things in life you can be grateful for, the happier and more fulfilling life becomes. I’m not completely unrealistic about. I know I could write “I am so grateful and thankful for my beautiful hair” 84 trillion times a day, and my head will stay as bald as can be (said from personal experience because you know I tried!). I get it. BUT I find that journaling things I’m grateful has helped me heal over the years. When I am not actively seeking out things to be grateful for, my brain has a tendency to dip into the emo side of life. You know how it goes—

 

“UGH I don’t have hair wahhh”
“Why is my life always so hard wahhh”
“Nothing ever works out in my favor wahhhh”
*Turns on early 2000 Avirl Lavigne and sits in a corner and sulks*

 
When I seek out things to be grateful for, I feel lighter. It makes me feel like I am a hop, skip, and a jump away from finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Which is why I love to write in a gratitude journal every night.

 
Putting those uplifting words to paper helps them become engrained in my brain. It helps me feel strong when I’m not sure if I have strength. It makes me feel in control even on the days where alopecia feels like it has taken all control. It makes me feel refreshed and like a new woman ready to take on the world! The funny thing is, the more I find to be grateful for, the more positive I feel. The more positive I feel, the more pieces of my life start to fall together. The more pieces of my life start to fall to together, the more grateful I feel. And so, continues the circle of life!

 

So where do you begin? I suggest start small so it is not too daunting. Three things everyday that you are happy and grateful for. Annnd GO!

 
One of my favorites is “I am so happy and grateful I am 100% healed inside and out!” I’ve written this one for years, and I’m sure you’re thinking…ummm if you were 100% healed wouldn’t you have all of your hair and no anxiety?! Possibly, BUT I will tell you one thing, I have more confidence and happiness now than I ever did when I had hair. To me, that is far more healed than I have ever been in my entire life. Just give it a fighting shot and let it work for you too!

 

PS This week was extra exciting for me because one of my followers (@ishii_fishii) was inspired by my ‘don’t bring your wig to work day’ and followed suit! She stepped into her office minus wig, minus scarf, plus a boat load of amazing and supportive coworkers in their alopecia blue! I thought my heart was going to explode when I saw her coworkers celebrating her mental victory!! If you get a chance, stop by her Instagram page and give her a shout out. I am sooo proud to have been a very tiny part of her major win!

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Looking back on my life like, “How in the world did I get here?!”

She Came, She Saw, She Conquered

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.

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Trying to keep my cool on the ride in. Emphasis on trying.

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!

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My ocean of Alopecia BLUE!

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.

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Good friends will pick you up when tough times knock you down 🙂

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.

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“The comeback is always greater than the setback” -Mike “The Situation” (Don’t judge my love for Jersey shore guys) 

Fear, Coasters, and Alopecia Awareness

September is Alopecia Awareness month. It is the month where us baldies shout from the rooftops and edumacate our hairy friends on what is like to have your immune system go haywire and sign you up for a Rock look alike contest. For me, alopecia and fear go hand in hand. Actually, if I’m being completely fear has ruled everything around me since birth. Probably since the womb. All alopecia has done is given me a boat load of new things to be afraid of. Last weekend, I got to erase one of those items off the list. Amusement parks. Not just any amusement park. Cedar Point. If you grew up anywhere near northeast Ohio, you know that Cedar Point is basically the best amusement park ever times 10. However, in my mind, wigs and roller coasters were never meant to go hand in hand. Unless you are trying to end up in a viral video where the whole world witnesses your wig flying off mid ride. This is why I put roller coasters on my list of things I “can’t” do (by can’t I mean won’t because I may poop my pants from fear). I LOVE roller coasters, but I had no idea how I would manage the logistics of it all. So, I just avoided it. Then I started dating a Colorado native who had never been to Cedar Point. Since it is an Ohio must, we made a decision in May that we would go back to Ohio in August to give him the full adrenaline experience. I had exactly 3 months to concoct a plan. Yet I was going back and forth and back and forth on what I was going to until the week of the trip.

Obviously, going wig-free would have been the easiest option and I did seriously consider it until my anxiety crept in and told me to consider something else. Next, I thought of wearing my Yaffa wig. It has an adjustable band and I can get it to sit pretty snugly on my dome. However, my Yaffa is a $3000 wig. I just couldn’t risk the chance of 3 grand literally flying off my head. So, I scoured my Amazon for days looking for a suitable synthetic. Buying cheap wigs on Amazon can be so hit or miss. You can end up with something surprisingly adorbs, or you could end up with something that looks like a straw mop. I must have had a wig angel that day because what I ordered was PERFECT!! A wig with an attached headband that I could wear in a HIGH PONY! You heard it folks. Momma rocked a high pony for the first time in FOUR YEARS!!! For added insurance, I used my Milano wigs wig-grip to keep that puppy in place. Finally, I found a tank top with a hood to add an extra, extra level of security. And guys let me tell you it was *chefs kiss* PERFECT! I think I would have been okay without the hood, but I took comfort in the fact that the hood would catch the wig if it fell off. I had SO MUCH fun! It was also entertaining to see the looks I got when tying up my hood before each ride. I will take those looks over the looks of people witnessing my wig flying off any day of the week. So, if you are an adrenaline junkie baldie who is missing the coaster life, you MUST try my method.

The next thing I’m going to erase off my fear list is a bit scarier. This Friday I am going to go to work for the very first time without a wig. My stomach is doing puke flips just thinking about it. Its happening friends. Stay tuned for that post!

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I whip my wig back and forth

Drop It Like Its Hot

On Saturday I dedicated my evening to a wild night of sipping beers and washing wigs. Nothing says party like awkwardly sitting on the bathroom floor while washing an expensive pile of hair in a bucket. After 2 hours of air drying, I set up my normal drying station. Blow dryer, hair products, flat iron, brush, and ipad. I don’t fully understand why it takes me 78974545512 times more time to dry my wig hair than it did my bio hair, but this is just one of the many medical mysteries of alopecia. To help kill some time, I always throw on a bingey TV show. I am one of those weirdos who will binge watch the same show 1-2x a year for the rest of eternity. This week’s choice was Sex and the City. Do you guys remember the episode when Samantha and Carrie go wig shopping after Samantha lost her hair to chemo? It goes something like this: 

Wig shop owner: [places wig on Samantha] This is Candy. Shes very popular.

Samantha: I dont think you’re listening. I dont want to look like Candy, I just want to look like myself.

Wig shop owner: Ma’am, these are wigs. They’re not ever gonna look exactly like you. 

Samantha: That is not acceptable 

Wig shop owner: We could style the bangs. 

Samantha: Don’t touch my head. 

Wig shop owner: I’ve worked with many women with cancer. 

Samantha: I don’t have cancer. I have a premier and I don’t want some second rate wig named after a hooker. My hair is my thing. This [hands wig back] is bull shit. 

I just sat there and laughed. Holy relatable batman. “I just want to look like myself”. There came a point on my alopecia journey where I realized that no wig was ever going to make me look like my old self. No matter the price, no matter the brand. Sure they help me feel more like my old self, give me confidence, and hide my alopecia from the world. However there will never be a day where I slap a wig on my head and think, “Oh man that looks like 2014 Supriya! No doubt!” Yeeeeah that is just not a thing.

Speaking of, I had a moment of alopecia disdain on Friday. I was out on the town for my girl Alanna’s bachelorette party! We posed for a photo together and my eyebrow had the classic alopecia sheen. The one that comes hand in hand with having no actual hair growing from your brows. Yes, my brows have tats and makeup, but no matter what I do that sheen always remains. I looked at our pic and the first thing I noticed was the glimmering shine coming from my brow. Seriously, why is that?! There has got to be some makeup magic that fixes it and I am just too much of a newb to figure it out. To top that off, we were dancing our booties off and my head felt like a hot tub of sweat and heat. At one point I went into a bathroom stall, took off my wig, and used some TP to dry it off. Can’t a girl just drop it like its hot without having to worry about the aftermath to her wig?! Minus those two things, I had an amazing night out. Alopecia can work my nerves, piss me off, and make me embarrassed, but you better believe I am NOT going to let this shit ruin my nights out with my gals! 

Where Ya Been Baldie Boo?!

I just realized my last blog post was a full MONTH ago. July and early August have been so crazy that it feels like July didn’t even happen. The fact that it is August has got me SHOOK. To give you a quick play by play of end of June through now:

 
Bf and I helped move his bro move out of the bf’s condo and made the decision to replace the floors and update the paint in his condo (HGTV eat your heart out), packed up the bf’s place to prep for the contractors, spent endless hours ripping out flooring that was glued down to concrete (just call me sup the tool (wo)man surender), packed up my apartment (threw out allll the things), celebrated the bf’s bday (by celebrate I mean he updated the grout in his bathroom while I packed…talk about a parrrrrrtay), loaded up a moving truck and hauled my thangs to the bf’s (and now MY) place, did some SERIOUS unpacking, got a membership at a big kid gym (so far it is creeper free and meathead full), got myself a new car (I will miss you my sweet 12 year old Sonata), got a new dishwasher and learned it meant plumbers had to come out to fix some archaic pipes (#adulting), got interviewed and published on Voyage Denver (woot woot!!), and had a bf family emergency that has resulted in us spending many days in the hospital this week.

 
It has been a whirlwind of good stress, bad stress, excitement, anxiety, happiness, and exhaustion. In times like this I become very nervous that the stress will light a fire under my alopecia’s butt and take my eyelashes again. The only change I’ve noticed so far is that my nose hairs seem to be falling out again (gross I KNOW). Nothing like blowing your nose and seeing a bunch of hairs in your tissues. I’m actually gagging as I type it. My apologies if you are too. While we are on the topic of things that make me gag, I am having a psoriasis flare in my pits. BUT that seems to be the worst of it (*knocks on wood*). If it isn’t one autoimmune disease, it is another. Rude. The turnip growing on the top of my head continues to grow in length, but it seems localized to one spot. Its long enough for me to give it a little wash with shampoo and conditioner. I forgot how much I enjoyed the feeling of washing my hair. However, I think I am ready to shave it off. Having this random skosh of thick hair is not the luscious hair life I’m trying to live.

 

Other than that, life is truly good and I’m excited to  dedicate more time to this blog as life settles back down to its normal routine. xoxoxo love ya my little baldie boo crew! Thank you for being patient with me while I get back on track!

Home Sweet Home

You want to know what is wild? I am moving in with my boyfriend in a couple weeks. I moved into my current apartment almost one year ago exactly. It was July of 2018 when I left behind an apartment that filled with hurt and tough times. My old apartment is where I simmered in pain from the aftermath of being in a terrible relationship with the wrong person for three years. It is where I sat single for 5 years feeling palpable level of loneliness combined with paralyzing fear of putting myself out there again. Fear that somehow I would end up in a relationship worse than the last. It is where I made the decision that I’d rather feel the pain of being lonely than feel the pain of another human tearing me down piece by piece. It is the place I spent days and nights overtaken by depression and anxiety. I’d stare out those windows and contemplate if today was the day that I was going to choose to end it all. I was in that apartment the day I lost my first handful of hair. I cried on those floors the day my hair left me for good. I stared in those mirrors when my eyebrows started to leave me and then my eyelashes. I laid in that bed and screamed in excruciating pain from what I later learned was a pulmonary embolism. It is where I gave my cat Jasper his final kisses and snuggles before sending him over the rainbow bridge.

When I left that apartment a year ago, I wasn’t expecting things to change, but boy oh boy was I wrong. My current apartment is where I healed. I don’t look in these mirrors and shed tears over my hair loss. I stare in these mirrors and think of ways to help others who are struggling with alopecian pain. It is these floors that I sit on when I’m laughing at my new kitten Neville and all of his silly antics. It is this bedroom that I sit in when I read all the amazing messages from my fellow alopecia brothers and sisters. Messages of encouragement, messages of emotion, messages of courage. It is here where my days of being single came to an end. It is this apartment that I learned what being in a good relationship is. This apartment taught me that there are good, kind, loving, accepting, supportive men in the world, and it taught me how to found one who is the perfect match for me. These hallways are where I see a man who looks at me exactly the same no matter if I am dressed up to the nines or without hair, brows, and makeup. Here is where I raised the bar for myself. Here is where I learned to live again.

Now I am about to leave this amazing apartment for a new adventure in a new place with my new little family. If you had told me a year ago that this is where my life would be now, I would have never believed it. Yet somehow, some way the pieces of my life found a way to fall back into place again. Thank you little apartment. You brought me my happiness back. You helped me find a part of me that I thought I had lost forever. You showed me how to live my best life and not settle for less. I can’t wait to take all of that with me to my wonderful new home. xoxoxo

Hair Dreamin

I had a weird dream this week. A friend was showing me old photos and I saw one of me when I still had hair. I just stared at it because I didn’t think it looked like me. Like I was a different person now and the person in the picture was a distant memory…a stranger even.

 

I normally have crazy dreams so it’s not unusual for me to wake up and be bothered by them for a few hours. This one got me thinking because it has been a thought in the back of my head for a while. Do I still look like myself? Sometimes I see old pictures and think yes, some days I think no. I mean I look so different now. People used to ALWAYS tell me I looked just like my mom. Since alopecia, I’ve noticed that has changed. I rarely hear that anymore. I think it’s because I lost some of those common features. The way her hair grows on her face. The way her eyebrows are shaped.

 

I suppose I can’t expect to look exactly the same. A wig will never look the same as my hair. I’ll never have those weird short hairs on my forehead that used to drive me mad, but also were such a part of me. A wig will never part the way my hair parted and will never sit the way my hair sat. I’ll never have those same eyebrows. Microblading will never create the same face I had when I had my own brows.

 

So, I suppose it’s true. The girl I was is now just a distant memory…

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Pre-alopecia

 

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Wig hair, tattoo brows, alopecia life

Roomies and Baldies

This past week I traveled to Utah for work. Landed in Sat Lake, and headed to Provo to take care of business. My company has a unique travel policy that requires employees to share a room. I recently joined a new team and not everyone was aware of the no hair situation I have going on up top. Truthfully, when I learned I was going to have to share a room, I panicked. Yes, I am comfortable sharing my baldness on the interwebs, but hair is such a key component to my professional look. Not saying that bald is unprofessional. Just saying that for me, I’m never in the office sans wig. It was most certainly going to catch my new coworker off guard to witness me transform from fab hair to nothing but scalp in a matter of seconds. Sleeping in a wig is not an option for me. I’ve tried it and it was the most uncomfortable night of sleep of my life. I need to be bare head on pillow to sleep like the angel I’m trying to be. Therefore, I knew I had to tell my roomie.

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Beautiful Provo

When I saw the email confirming the travel accommodations, my stomach sank and panic set in. I sat at my desk feeling a smidge pukey with a dash of pitting, and some low-grade shakes. I decided to handle this in typical Supriya fashion and make a joke out of it. No one can sense your panic on the inside when you are all smiles and laughs on the outside. Am I right?! My email went something like this “Just a heads up, I have alopecia and look like a normal person by day, but look like a bald alien creature by night.” I then processed to use a yellow emoji face to paint the full picture.

 
Next, I IMd my roomie to be and let her know that I would give her fair warning before the wig came off. I shouldn’t have been surprised when she was totally cool with everything. The room sharing was not a big deal at all. Yes, I was nervous, but my roommate was so chill and awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better stranger to be bunkies with!

 
I don’t know why I always feel so scared of people’s reaction to my alopecia when it is up close and personal. I assume they will be uncomfortable or offended by my scalp. Yet that’s all it is. Just a plain jane run of the mill scalp. It’s not like I’m hiding a tattoo of Tweetie bird and Taz making obscene gestures (throwback to every 90s baby who once rocked a Looney Tunes temporary tattoo). Also, I have no control over it. This is just part of me now and I need to find a way to accept the fact that other people are totally fine with it too. Yes, jokes and making fun of myself before someone can make fun of me will always be my self defense tactic. However, I need to convince myself that people aren’t going to stop, drop, and roll when they see my head. Hopefully, that day will come soon, but for now I remain a forever work in progress…

Alopecia Unleashed My Inner Diva – Lady Alopecia Guest Post

Friends, I’d like to introduce you to Lady Alopecia! I am so honored to have her take over my blog today with this AMAZING post! It won’t take long for you to figure out exactly why I am BEYOND excited to have this funny, inspiring, glitter fueled, radiant spirit guest post on my page. Lady Alopecia, your confidence and light shine through in the words you share. Thank you for being a part of my blog, and most importantly thank you for being such a wonderful and supportive baldie friend! xoxoxo

When I was growing up, my hair was a big deal. Strangers would ruffle it. Relatives would ask where the hell it had come from (cue the milkman jokes) and I’d often get stopped in the street for some randomer to tell me how unusual it was. How lucky I was to have such beautiful auburn curls.

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Unsurprisingly, I grew pretty attached to my hair.

So when it decided to detach itself from me, the person who’d given it a home for 10 years, it felt like a big ol’ slap in the face.

Being a teenager with alopecia was tough. I was in boarding school and… well… bitches aren’t always cute dogs, right?! I got very good at shrinking, at hiding, at making myself invisible. I was pretty tall but managed to fold in on myself most of the time.

Still, at least the patches weren’t too bad back then. I had them under control.

But later, in my mid-20s, the patches grew bigger and bigger. Taunting me – the more I’d try to hide them, the more they’d reveal themselves.

After a few years of wig wearing, I decided that I was sick of hiding my alopecia, of feeling like I was hiding my true self, too. So I did what any rebellious soul would do – I made a statement. I told alopecia to f**k right off and stop controlling my life. And I pulled a Britney and shaved my head.

I thought I’d feel strong, liberated and fierce afterwards.

But instead I felt weak. And scared. And very very bumpy-headed.

As kids we used to have a “board race” during our school’s Sports Day. Basically, you’d have to balance a board, about the size and weight of a hardback novel, on your head and walk as fast as you could to the finish line. Like if America’s Next Top Model did relay races – only the straight-backed, flat-headed stood a chance.

Anyway, as I clapped eyes on my shiny new bald look, I realised why I’d never made it more than a few steps with that damned board! Because a bump the size of an egg rose out of my already egg-shaped head. I was like a novelty Easter egg. What had I done?!

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Still, I’d made the decision to stop wearing wigs and I was sticking to it. And so I began rocking my bald head out, free from wigs or headscarves, for the first time in 8 long years.

Embracing the bald was a big risk, sure – but it definitely paid off. The support I received was phenomenal and I began feeling more comfortable in myself than I’d ever been, even with a full head of hair.

One of the best moments was returning to choir. A community choir that sang soul music (and wore a lot of sequins!), made up of women and men from all walks of life. When I joined the previous year, I knew I’d found my tribe and Wednesday evening rehearsals were the highlight of my week. After all, how can you feel down when blasting out Try a Little Tenderness with some of the warmest, most inspirational people you’ve ever met?

They’d only known me with my wigs and headscarves so I was nervous going back into that room. But the flurry of hugs and the amazing words I received lifted me right up. I laughed and joked about my baldiness and for the first time, I learned to speak openly about my alopecia without welling up.

Over the next few weeks, I got so used to my new look that I forgot all about it at times! Until I’d glimpse a pale beach ball bobbing past a shop window and I’d realise it was just my reflection. Oh well.

The funny thing was, once I’d accepted my alopecia, my hair grew back!

Tentatively, a downy fuzz spread across my scalp. Within a few weeks, I was less of a Mr Potato Head, more of a Donald Duck. Until eventually I had a head full of the short stuff…

… For a grand total of 2 months. Then a sneaky patch popped up on the back of my head. Which spread…and spread…and you can guess the rest. This time, I took control early on. I went to the hairdresser, asked her to shave my remaining hair into a mohawk style and embraced my new look.

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And you know what? I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out! Because I’ve finally found my own voice, my own style, instead of trying on others’ for size.

Example 1

I’ve always been partial to a bit of glitter – even more so when I joined that choir. But shaving my head gave me permission to stop playing safe and to start afresh. To use my bald head as a blank canvas for all kinds of colourful creations.

Nowadays, I decorate my mohawk with flowers, feathers, fairy lights… you name it, I’ve tried it. My friends even know me as The Glitter Fairy. And I carry a vial of the shiny stuff in my bag at all times. Just in case. 😉

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Example 2

Festivals are my favourite things on earth. I used to go to them with flowery headbands, or a colourful wig if I was feeling particularly cray-cray. And now? I spend the entire 3 days in a range of elaborate costumes – homemade wigs, sequinned wings, elaborate fake eyelashes made for drag queens but claimed by me… let’s just say, I’m no longer trying to hide!

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The thing is, I’ve spent so much of my life trying to blend in. But now that I’ve accepted my alopecia, even learned to love it in some ways, I’m happy to stand out.

Sure, there are days when I get sick of the attention.

Like when I’m sweating like crazy, cycling in 100° heat and an entire cafe of Vietnamese people turns to point and laugh at my shiny head (mohawks don’t stand too proudly in the heat). Just like there are times when I’d give anything to complain about a bad hair day.

But having alopecia has led to so many positive experiences. And it’s made me braver in every sense. Not just dealing with this shitty condition and with all it entails – but being able to put myself out there, to not worry what people think and to express myself in whatever way I choose. Sometimes the experiment pays off; other times I look less like Furiosa and more like Sideshow Bob. But that’s all part of the adventure, right?!

After all, the Björks and the Grace Joneses of this world don’t shy away from the limelight. Or from their wonderful weirdness, their need to embrace and display the strange. They’re the people who inspire me to connect with my inner diva. And to help others embark on their own shiny, glitter-filled journey.

That’s why, bald and bold, hairfree and carefree… I’m proud to be Lady Alopecia.

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Connect with Lady Alopecia:

Lady Alopecia is a copywriter, yoga teacher and alopecian currently living in Hoi An, Vietnam. Read more about her adventures on her website or follow her on Instagram.

 

Thank You Mom

Dear Mom,

I would have never gotten through this alopecia adventure without you. When I felt like giving up, you were always in my corner. Through my tears you would always tell me that you wished you could have alopecia instead. You would have taken every ounce of hair loss and pain I was experiencing to give me my happiness back. You always used your motherly senses to know exactly when my low days were back. When the darkness was creeping back in. Even when I was trying to give an academy award winning performance of hiding my sadness, you always sensed it. I could facetime you and tell you I was fine 10000 times in a row, but those conversations were always followed up with texts like, “Hi Sup. You sounded low today. Call later if you want to talk.” Short, simple, but so meaningful and exactly what I needed to hear. I always feared my sadness was a burden, but you made it clear that my happiness is all that mattered to you. You were all the way in Ohio, but you did everything to let me know you were there for me. You would have hopped on a plane the second I needed you. You made sure the cost of wigs was never something I’d have to worry about. You and Dad did everything you could to help me get my happiness back. I couldn’t have done it without you Mom. I wouldn’t be where I am without you. I would have given up, but instead I am thriving. Thank you, Mom. I wish every child in the world could have a Mom like you. I feel so lucky to have you! Love you so much!

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Sup