I went on vacation. I was lucky. My Aunt put together a family reunion cruise. A cruise to Bermuda. A 5-day cruise. I roomed with my twin sister, which is an extra bonus - sister time together.
This was my first cruise. We boarded and went through customs, and met up in the dining room for lunch. It was served buffet style. I've never seen so much food in my life. I was sitting at the table as all of the family met up.
A table next to us, a large family with about 4 children, 3 girls, 1 boy, mother, father and perhaps an aunt. The smallest child, about 6 years old yells out "Look Daddy", while pointing at me, bald-headed me.
I anticipated a "that's not nice, you should not point, apologize" or an "I'm sorry" from the parents. I got neither. Being the bigger person I smiled and said to her "I'll bet you've never seen a bald headed lady before..." The mother says "oh, her grandfather's bald..." and my response was "her grandfather's supposed to be bald, he's an old man".
This child acted this way because her parents act this way; I don't have a doubt in my mind.
I was taught when I was a child that pointing at some thing or some one was "rude" and that I was never to do it. I have become comfortable and accustomed to being bald, I have forgotten that I am hair-less on my head. Walking around the ship, many a time I wondered "why is everyone staring at me?" Oh yeah, I'm bald, I'm not supposed to be bald. One tires of smiling, of being the "bigger person". I reached a point that I'd stare back and they'd stop. I'm 6 ft. tall; with my heels, I'm about 6'2". They'd stop staring, alright.
On the beach in Bermuda a woman walks up to me, a total stranger, and she asks "when was your last chemo treatment?". I responded "excuse me?" as those were words I am not used to hearing. She repeated her question. I responded "No, I don't have a cancer". This is not what I responded, but I have a suspicion my original blog was deleted because I posted what I did answer. She asked me what that was and I took the opportunity to spread awareness. I think it presumptuous of people assuming I might have cancer, but I also understand that they DON'T KNOW what Alopecia is and they've never heard of it.
I own my Alopecia and take responsibility for letting people know. Hopefully the next time they see a baldheaded woman, they won't assume the worst. Alopecia is definitely NOT worse than cancer.
Before leaving on my trip a young woman I know, a musician, called me hysterical crying. She said she'd not told anyone. She found a dime-sized bald spot on her head. She is 21. She said "I don't deserve this". I explained to her none of us deserve it, but there was a way to handle it all. I assured her the first thing she needed to do was see a dermatologist, who would run blood tests and check her thyroid, check her for Lupus other diseases which cause hairloss. She said I "calmed her down". She said she was grateful that I could help her by imparting information. I gave her my dermatologist's number. She went and saw him. She has a mild case of Alopecia; he found 3 additional spots. I don't know if she will lose all her hair; perhaps it will take her years, as in my case, it took me 18 years to lose my hair. Perhaps she won't lose any more of it . I've never heard of a "mild case of alopecia"; my understanding is you have it or you don't. Sort of like being pregnant. I am glad that I could calm her and give her information. She has some tools now to move forward.
I continue in the world, an Alopecian. It is sometimes not easy, especially when some snot-nosed kid with no manners, who reflects her parents, does something so humiliating - and in front of family, some who are just getting used to the fact that I've lost my hair, that I have not seen in 24 years.
Bottom line; it is, what it is. I'm handling it. Some instances easier than others.
For my Alopecian sisters and brothers, continue in the world; in the famous words of Monty Rock, III: "dig yourself."
"This Above All Else; To Thine Own Self Be True" - W. Shakesphere