September 3, 2010... this was the year that I took the first steps to liberation. Liberation from myself, liberation from disease and liberation from society's perceptions of what I should look like and how I should be. This date was the day that I shaved my head. 3 years ago I did the one thing that I never thought I would have the courage to do. I picked up a pair of clippers and shaved what remained of my hair. Alopecia Universalis had taken most of it and I finished the task. Its shocking sometimes looking back on how scared I was with the prospect of going bald. I had once been bald when I was a kid and it was horrible. I was teased and bullied constantly. No one understood what was happening to me and people constantly tried to "fix" me.
This was the 80's and there wasn't much information out about alopecia and treatments were ineffective. Treating the symptoms and not the underlining cause. And there was no support groups. Fast forward to today and treatments are still ineffective, much the same as before. Treating the symptoms and not the underlining cause. Alopecia is an autoimmune disease, and actually the word alopecia, a Greek word, is defined as hair loss of the head and/or the body. Meaning that any form of hair loss can be called alopecia. The autoimmune disease is referred to as Alopecia Areata (patchy hair loss), Alopecia Totalis (total hair loss of the head) and Alopecia Universalis (total hair loss of the head and body). And Alopecia Universalis is the stage I'm currently living with.
I hated it growing up and I was fortunate to have full regrowth a couple of years later. Only suffering with hide-able hair loss patches throughout the years. And suffering is exactly what I did. I hid my shameful disease from family and friends. It wasn't til my late twenties that the hair loss started to accelerate to the point that I sought medical assistance. I started to see a dermatologist where I was introduce to the start of the painful treatments that would become a regular routine for me for the next ten years. Like clockwork I would go the doctors every six weeks, to subject myself lotions, potions, injections and pills. All to stop the hair loss that my body was determined to rid itself of. To stop from anyone noticing that my hair was getting thinner. And to stop the progression of what society deemed necessary to be happy and "fit in" to an image of what is acceptable.
It wasnt til that night when I picked up those clippers that I stopped beating myself up from what my body was doing. Something that ultimately I had zero control over. That night symbolizes the day that I stopped living by what "society" believed I should be. I started the journey to owning myself. To loving myself. Something that I was unable to do for the majority of my life. And I havent looked back. That isnt to say that I dont have "bad hair days" or hair memories. That will always happen, we are undulated with imagery of women parading around in long luxurious locks. Giving the image that having hair not only means health but beauty and sex appeal. But that is something that today I work to change. To show society that a bald woman can be beautiful and have sex appeal. Its the confidence inside that shines through not the exterior cover. As the old saying goes "Dont judge a book by its cover" this holds true to the people around you.
Today I go by the self titled name Bald and Fabulous. For this is exactly the words I uttered after looking at my reflection in the mirror that day 3 years ago. I might be BALD but Im still FABULOUS. I work everyday to reach out to others that live with alopecia in all its stages, to inspire and support them. I educate others around me to the disease and what it means to live with it. I want to show the world that even though alopecia may have control of my hair I will not let it control my life. In the three years I have done things that I would never had the courage otherwise to do. Asking Slash to kiss my head just one of the many things I have done. Meeting and talking to new people that recognize and relate to living with an adversity. Gives me the chance to tell them what alopecia is. I have learned a great deal living with this disease and one of the greatest of these is believing in the strength I possess. To take chances and live. But not just live ...THRIVE.

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Tags: alopecia, bald, inspire, support

Comment by Cindie on September 3, 2013 at 9:42pm

I love it, Terri, I just love it! Peace and blessings to you!

Comment by Cheryl, Co-founder on September 5, 2013 at 4:45pm

Happy Anniversary Terri!

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