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Alopecia and me

The feeling of hair coming out in clumps is something that I do not think I will ever forget.

For me, my hair controlled and defined my femininity. It was my tool in hiding the part of my body I found undesirable: feel like my arm is too fat? No, bother my meticulously curled hair can cover that. If I don't love my outfit then it did not matter because my hair could fix that. I believed that my long thick dark hair was the most beautiful thing about me, after all it was my main source of adoration.

Being plus-sized in the 2010s meant that for me compliments felt sparse and I had evolved to only feel beautiful when I was given compliments. I craved it so much that a wave of anxiety would crash over me if no one gave me any sort of compliment. I always registered that it was mainly my hair people complimented but I did not care because a compliment was a compliment. So when my hair started falling out, that fear of being ugly got in the driving seat and sped away from any semblance of confidence. In my head I just kept screaming at myself that

“You cannot be the fat bald friend.”

But why? Why did I feel as if being fat and bald was so bad? Those clumps of hair that

fell out forced me to address my fear of fatness and what I actually thought femininity was. If you asked me in 2018 if there would ever be a day when I was grateful for my alopecia I would have instantly cried and screamed “no of course not!” Today, a large part of me IS grateful for my alopecia. I mean I hate having to buy eyelashes and wigs are so expensive. Oh and don’t even get me started on the pain of eyebrow microblading. But despite all of this, having no hair freed me. I was forced to address my insecurities and to look at myself in a new way, I am an insanely strong woman who has overcome so many difficulties. Whilst I count alopecia as one of those difficulties,

it was the thing that held a mirror up to my life and forced me to learn how to love myself. My hair loss made me see that yes, whilst I may be the bald fat friend I am also the strong friend. Hair was never what made me beautiful, the only thing that my hair really gave me was regular head lice and tangles. Not having hair gave me the luxury of deciphering who I would benefit from having around.

By this I mean those who positively benefited me and whom I could grow around and learn from. Which would hopefully lead to them being able to grow around and learn from me. Before my alopecia, I felt that the quantity of my relationships was more important than the quality but now, despite the sentiment’s cringe-factor, I understand the importance of the latter. My hair loss made me address my internalised fat-phobia and fear of body hair, two things I felt made me less of a woman. As women, we spend our lives ridding our bodies of hair whilst piling on hair care products in a weird juxtaposing cycle. Since my hair loss I stopped shaving the rest of my body because I was sick of my complicated relationship with hair. I am a beautiful woman with my patchy armpit and head hair.

I am a strong woman who is able to tackle the world.

I am a brave woman who does not need long thick hair to define me.

Fuck hair and all of it’s pressure.

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