It felt like a dream. How could this be happening to me?
I can still hear moms of friends telling me how thick and beautiful my hair was. Peers making fun of me daily for the amount of hair I had and finding spitballs in my hair in junior high. I remember my mom spending hours upon hours blow drying my hair straight to help get rid of the waves and frizziness that created so much volume. I use to cry and cry about how much I hated my hair.
April 11, 1997 changed my life forever. (Why do I remember this exact date? It was my mom’s birthday!) I walked into Kevin Charles Hair Salon and had my hair chemically straightened for my first time. I felt like a brand new person and finally started to fall in love with the thick hair that God had given to me. It still took many years to truly love it and get over being so self-conscious because of the hell my hair had once caused me.
But I finally did it. I could look in the mirror and truly say, ” I LOVE MY HAIR!” It was still a lot of work and I had to schedule my life around it, but it didn’t matter it was worth it. Man, I would do ANYTHING to have to schedule my life around washing my hair again. It’s amazing how much we take for granted in our lives and it takes losing something big in our lives to realize it.
By December 2015, majority of my hair was gone and there was no hiding it anymore. There wasn’t enough makeup or hair fibers or big enough headbands to help cover majority of my bare scalp that was once covered with the most beautiful hair. I started to wear a “scarf” to cover my head and hide the few strands of hair that I had left. Shaving them had crossed my mind many times, but I was holding on to any type of hope possible. Unfortunately it was false hope.
I was in complete denial.
If I held on to those last few strands then maybe all of this had just been my worst nightmare and I would wake up to a full head of hair again. (I still dream about that today…)
The difficulty to take this picture is undescribable.
Christmas 2015 with my oldest daughter, Karsen.I started to take fewer and fewer pictures not wanting to remember this part of my life, but I knew I had to stay strong for my daughters. I had to prove to them that regardless the battle you are facing you ARE strong enough to get through it.
People started staring at me in public and I started to get messages from friends on social media concerned with my health. Everyone was assuming that I had cancer. If I did not know what Alopecia was then I too would assume that someone without hair had cancer.
It was time. It was time to face my demons and come to (somewhat) terms that my hair was almost gone and I had Alopecia Totalis. It was time to let the world know what was going on. I had appreciated all the concern and prayers, but I wanted people to know that I was completely healthy (even though I didn’t feel like I was. ) I wanted all those prayers for strength to go to people that were (and still are) battling something much bigger than I am.
At the end of December I called Kevin Charles, who once changed my life by helping me fall in love with my hair, to help me one last time. It was time. It was time to shave my head. He allowed me to come in to the salon after hours when we had the place all to ourselves. I was as ready as I ever could be.
I kept my eyes shut the entire time hoping for that liberating feeling that a lot of people have when they take control of their life instead of allowing it to control them. That feeling never arrived. When he was finished, I opened my eyes and instantly burst into tears. I saw something I NEVER imagined EVER seeing. . . myself without any hair.
I felt like I looked like one of the Coneheads from the old Saturday Night Live skits wearing a bald cap on.
I felt so bad for crying in front of Kevin. I was so appreciative of what he had helped me do, something I could have never done on my own. The tears were uncontrollable. My worst nightmare was now a reality.
I couldn’t touch my scalp or look in the mirror for months.
Again, still in denial.
It was the beginning of a VERY hard and long journey to get to where I am at today. And I am not saying I am in the best position mentally and emotionally because I am not. Still far from, but in a much better place. . . thankfully.
Discovering Under Armour fitted hats was a COMPLETE blessing. They give me the strength to walk out of the house today. They give me a sense of comfort that I just can’t explain. If I am not wearing a wig (and buying my first wig is a WHOLE other story) you will always see me where my UA hat even relaxing on the couch. Who knew a hat could affect your life so greatly?!?!?
After three years I still do not feel comfortable just walking around bald, even in my own house with family that loves me regardless.
We are all on our own journeys. We must respect and support one another regardless of the journey we are on or the battle that we are face.
We are ALL in this together.