Baring All - Coping with Alopecia
Updated: Nov 27, 2019
Hair loss is not easy. There isn’t a day that goes by where I forget that I’m bald.
I lost all my hair at the age of 11 and was later diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis. Today, I still do not have any hair on my body.
“Imagine not having to shave - how amazing!” - I’ve heard this quite a few times but unfortunately, a lot of people would find it much harder to admit they have a bald head, than hairy legs. (Although I can tell you for free that not needing to remove hair is in fact fantastic…).
When people have seen me uncovered, I’ve also heard: “Oh you’re so brave, well done you!“ - That doesn’t sit well with me either! What am I brave for, exactly? Being in my natural state and baring all? Do we have such narrow minds about how people should look, that women with bald heads are shocking? There are lots of us out here! You just don’t see us because we’re hiding most of the time… We’re not comfortable enough to be open with you because we want to avoid the stares and comments.
And you know what? I want to change this!
Two years ago, after spending many years in hiding, I began to slowly reveal myself again, publicly. After wearing uncomfortable wigs and hats every day, I started removing these items at the gym, at work and on nights out. At times it was really hard, and I felt really vulnerable. However, most of the time I felt extremely empowered and liberated! There’s still nothing that can quite beat the feeling of a breeze on my bare scalp (and not having to worry that my wig might fly off it…)
Now, this isn’t where I start insisting all bald women burn their wigs and start a bald revolution (although that would be pretty cool…). Wearing a wig should be out of choice, for fashion. But that’s the problem - many people with Alopecia don’t feel they can choose to be bald.
And ultimately, what I’ve come to understand is that it’s not other people’s perception of the situation that matters. It’s your own opinion that counts.
Until I started to fully come to terms with, and embrace my Alopecia - I didn’t realise how low my opinion had been of the way I look. Which is horrible. Fortunately, now I am in a better place and I love how I look! And I love being bald. But I still have a way to go before I am fully comfortable in myself...I am finishing up this blog whilst on holiday and although I am bald in public most of the time, and don‘t feel the need to wear a wig, when I thought I had left my wig in Dubrovnik - I balled my eyes out... Good news is: my friend Donna found it hidden in a headscarf. Phew!
I have now decided I want to do something to help other people along their journey to feeling secure in themselves. Thinking on what I have found useful as a person with Alopecia, I have launched Ally which is a free friend finding app exclusively for people with hair loss. Knowing someone personally that understands what you’re going through, when you could easily be left isolated is so important. I want to make sure everyone who is experiencing Alopecia - like me - has the chance to make amazing allies for the highs and lows.
If you have Alopecia or are a parent with a child that has Alopecia, this app has been made especially for you! You can register to become a member now: app.allyconnect.org
You must be 18+ to become a member and Ally is available to people of all genders.
Thank you for reading!