I shared the post below at the beginning of the year on the UK Alopecia site. Was reading it again a few minutes ago. Wow, what a year it has been. 2010 has certainly been the year i finally made peace with living with Alopecia. I voluntarily left full time paid employment at the end of last year and decided i wanted to spend this year on a journey of self-inquiry, integration and rediscovery. What a journey, what a ride! I have finally learnt to love and accept myself unconditionally and certainly healed the shame that bound me for such a long time. In reading the post just now, i was tempted to edit here and there as it no longer reflected my feelings today, but what i have learnt this year is that there is no need to censor my past, for the past brought me to where i am today and i love, deeply love, where i am......

"I developed alopecia when i was 10, i am now 41. The years have flown by and it still feels just like yesterday. It started in patches, like with most people and then a friend of my mum suggested she shave it all to make it grow back all at once, it never did. I remember going into school on the Monday and by the end of that week, the profile of the people i hung out with had changed - one friend had told me that her parents told her not to play with me as she might catch what i had. During that week, my mum gave me my first cap which was to be a feature in all my photos for 8 years - Life was never the same since.

Never really talk about the fact that i live with alopecia and in fact growing up if someone asked me about it, i would immediately exclude them from my life. So as you can imagine i am now surrounded by people who've never asked me about it. When people do ask me now, i do tell them and i am conscious of my feelings of shame as i try to articulate my words. On the odd occasions when i have dated and a partner asked, i tell them i shave! Explaining the eyebrows is always difficult! Have not had a relationship now for years as i just feel so flawed and broken - sounds silly as i write it, and intellectually i know this - but deep in my belly i do feel that no one would really want to be with me.

Cannot remember ever having a day when i have not thought about alopecia. I'd like to think that after living with this condition for over 30 years, i'd be okay about it. But the fact is i am still as insecure as ever about it and feel tremendous shame; dealing with being gay and black has been a stroll in the park in comparison.

When i was younger, i could not wait to grow up as i thought i'd grow into my bald look; which in fairness i have - but now if only i did not have these feelings of shame, ugliness and being unlovable. One tactic i did develop was to try and find ways to compensate, so i focussed on my career and have done pretty well, also became a people pleaser - so on the outside everything looks perfect and meeting me you'd not even guess i have all the 'issues' i talk about. That tactic has become so tiring and i don't want to play that game anymore.

Growing up i went with my mum from clinic to clinic, name the rememdy we tried it - name the church or ritual we went there or did it. I wore a cap all through high school, somehow survived the bullying and name calling. In my early 20's wore a wig - God, what was i thinking! But my mum had thought it would be a good idea.

Anyway, it's a new year and it time to face my demons and deal with my stuff. I used to put life on hold waiting until my hair grew back, i no longer do that as much; but i am conscious that i still need to accept and embrace all of me, warts and all.

Well, here's to an authentic 2010!"

Views: 29

Comment by Tallgirl on July 28, 2010 at 10:23pm
When you mentioned a new year, I suddenly had a vision of all these AW people coming into acceptance at midnight when 2010 becomes 2011. Shall we think of one another at that moment and say a little prayer?
Comment by Ade on July 29, 2010 at 1:25am
Thanks Rosy.

I like that idea Tallgirl.... we don't even have to wait for New Year's eve!... :-)
Comment by Cheryl, Co-founder on August 7, 2010 at 4:08pm
Hi Ade, Today I am in an emotion mood. Alopecia World, is a great place to visit when you want to allow your emotion to be free. This site offers so much vulnerability it sometimes catches me off guard. The struggles we have had to endure are tremendous and sometimes looking at us today does not reflect them. People often tell me that I handle alopecia so well, but they were not there when I was falling apart and desperately trying to put the pieces back together again. So I am glad you shared your thoughts from a year ago, it reminds us that we are all human and have all struggled. Hugs, Cheryl
Comment by Ade on August 8, 2010 at 3:54pm
Thanks Cheryl. As i read your posted i was reminded of something that went through my mind a couple of days ago. I have a friend staying with me at the moment and a few days ago i got back from the gym and he had applied shaving foam over his head and had shaved it - he likes having his head bald. As i looked at him i felt relief that i did not have to go through that drama and was reminded that living with Alopecia is such a personal journey and we all land in different places. A place like Alopecia World gives us all the opportunity to share in each others journey and allows us to be open with ourself and others about what is really going on beneath the surface for us. Hugs, Ade


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