Since I haven't shaved my head in several days, I was able to notice that my alopecia is active and I have several new spots that are completely bald and a large patch on top that is almost gone. I have to admit that I'm a little bit more upset than I probably should be, mainly because it caught me off guard.
After 36 years of living with alopecia, you would think I'd know better than to get upset when my hair starts falling out again. After 36 years, you would think that I would have already shed all the tears for this damn disease that I could shed and made my peace with it - and to a large extent, I have. I got through bullying because of alopecia in school, I've gotten used to the stares and the pointing in the general public, I've gotten used to being constantly asked if I have cancer, and I've gotten over being in relationships where my partner told me he didn't want to be seen in public with me unless my head was covered up. And in those 36 years, I've also spoken out and written about alopecia awareness, shared my alopecia story with other alopecians, and discovered my bald family, who I love just as much as my biological family and will understand EXACTLY what I am sharing right here.
And yet despite all the ups and downs that come with a lifetime of living with alopecia, here I am, shedding tears for something I should have gotten used to a LONG time ago. I know intimately how isolated new alopecians feel when they see their hair washing down the drain in the shower or coming out in clumps in their combs and brushes. I know intimately how upset they must be when they look in the mirror and see giant bald patches where hair used to be. I know how isolated they must feel, because right now, even though I know that I'm not, I feel very isolated right now as I try to calculate exactly how much of my hair is gone. It may sound irrational AF, but it's something ALL alopecians do at some point or another. If I had to make an educated guess right now, I'd have to say about 40-45% of it is gone, with another quarter of it on its way out.
As my best friend Erricka Mystorie likes to say, even iron breaks eventually. However, there's no use crying over spilled milk, so I'll give myself a little bit of time to be human and be upset, and then I'll clean my face up, grab my razor, and keep doing what I've been doing, which is shave what's left off, and keep the party moving. You see, I'm a survivor, and if alopecians aren't anything else, they're survivors. We have to be to survive living in a society where people are judged by how they look before learning about the character underneath the package.
For the record, I didn't write this because I'm looking for pity, or even because I feel sorry for myself, because neither of those things are true. I wrote this because once every few years, alopecia reminds me that I'm human after all, and that it's okay for me to be upset about it sometimes. Writing about my personal experience is the catharsis I need to get everything out of my system so I can move on.
If ANYTHING comes out of this, it is the hope that maybe THIS time, alopecia will be kind and take ALL of the hair that I've got left away permanently after all this time. From my point of view, being AU is infinitely preferable to secretly getting my hopes up that maybe - just maybe - if I forget to shave, there aren't any new spots. Oh well, a girl can dream, can't she??
***I shared this yesterday on my Facebook page, which is when I actually had this experience.***