Today we'd like to introduce to you Ms. Carly Pandza, a beautiful soul that is making a difference in the world with her beautiful spirit and soon amazing event called "You are not your hair" August 16, 2014 in Los Angeles that we had the honor of partnering with for this event.
Why are you BALD?*
I’m bald because I choose to be bald. Shaving my head was something
that I always wanted to do and I realized last year that it was as if I waiting
for someone to give me permission to do so. I was waiting for perfect
opportunity to present itself when I realized I needed to create that
opportunity. It is time because I say it is time.
That is one of the reasons I am partnering with The Bald
Movement to put on the event “You Are Not Your Hair” that will take place on
August 16th, 2014 in Los Angeles. I wanted to provide
the opportunity for women to access their inner beauty and transform their
confidence by through letting it all go.
Now there is an opportunity for women that have this taboo wish like I
had to shave their heads for a great cause.
How has being BALD impacted your life?
Being bald I get my inner beauty as an experience. Being bald allows me
the access to the possibility of being fun, free, vulnerable and self expressed
even without hair and I want all women to have the opportunity to experience
that if they so desire.
Being bald makes getting ready SO much easier. I don’t need shampoo,
conditioner or any sort of hair product anymore.
I have sensitive sensations of hot and cold on my scalp when there is
slight temperature shift that I never experienced before with hair. I usually
make sure I have a hair or scarf when I go places for that very reason. I also
have to be conscious of sunscreen on hot days or else my scalp will burn and I
will look like I have a big round tomato head.
Since I shaved my head one year ago in June 2013 I have lost 25 lbs,
become vegetarian and created a healthy lifestyle that was nonexistent in my
life before. I literally cannot have one drink anymore without getting drunk
because my tolerance has gone down so much due to my diet shift.
By letting go of my attachment to hair I let go of other things in my
life that were no longer serving me.
I’m not promising that this sort of physical transformation will happen
to every women if she shaves her head but it definitely happened to me and I
don’t think it was a coincidence. I believe that most things cause a ripple
affect in life. Shaving my head caused a spiritual, emotional and physical
transformation of mind, body and spirit. A metaphorical and physical rebirth if
What's the worst thing that has happened or has been said to you as
a BALD woman?
I don’t know think this is the worse thing or even a
thing at all. Someone mistook me for a man once. They asked me from
behind ,“Sir, can I help you?” while I was in Bed, Bath & Beyond. It really
wasn’t bad at all though. It was funny. The poor employee looked horrified when
I turned around and they saw that I was a woman. I think they thought I was
going to yell at them but of course I didn’t. I just let it go. It was an honest
mistake. Even though I was wearing a dress. I had the same exact experience of
someone thinking I was boy at 8-years -old while I was wearing a skirt in the
grocery store. I blame my bowl haircut that was a product of a haircut done by
my mom. I guess history repeats itself! HA!
I’ve had people stare at me. This one woman at a restaurant literally
stopped her fork mid route to her pie-hole and stared with her mouth agape. I
don’t take offense though. Seeing a women boldly walking around bald and proud
is a rarity. Our society has conditioned women without hair or breasts, these
things that we’ve been taught are essentials to being considered a woman or
feminine, to feel like they should walk around ashamed if they are lacking those
things. Hair does not equal beauty, nor does it equal femininity but it
definitely plays into our gender roles.
To be honest I haven’t had horrible things said to me being bald. I get
really positive reactions and compliments from people pertaining to my baldness.
People are drawn to my bald head. They are curious and I feel like being bald
creates this welcoming space that allows people to feel like they can approach
When I first shaved it all off I had the experience of feeling like my
bald head was a lightbulb. I felt radiant. Like my head was radiating energy or
light. I was beaming. People would flock to me like a moth to a flame to talk to
me about it. I felt vulnerable like there was nothing to hide behind anymore.
Nothing to protect me from being profoundly intimate with others. This was
freeing and I loved it!
I have a minimum of 5 people a day come up to me and tell me that they
like my hair. I know they mean lack there of. I’ve had someone say “I love your
head before” - haha!
Women will immediately confess to me, “I’ve always wanted to shave my
head but I can’t because of, insert ‘reason, consideration and/or excuse here.’
Now I’m able to offer, “Funny you should say that cause I’m
throwing this event…”
What words of encouragement would you share with someone going
If you embrace being bald it will liberate you and you will feel
reborn. Once women get that they are not their hair anything is possible. Then
that leads to them getting that they are not their bodies, their thoughts or
They are whatever they declare they are. That they can have a strong
sense of self that is not conditional or based on outside
Regardless of women, if the everyone in the world got that concept what
a different world we’d be living in. A world of people getting that they are
enough, that they are whole, complete and perfect just they way they are. Now
that would be some kind of world. That’s the world that I’m committed to
creating and transforming by creating the event “You Are Not Your
We'd like to introduce to you this beautiful Bald Lady name Larisha Nelson. We just love how she truly embraces who she is regardless of her circumstances and because of that she is Baldie of the month of May.
I have scarring alopecia that resulted in me permanently losing hair covering about 40% of my head.
It has made me come to the realization that the beauty I thought I had with hair had nothing to do with why I am beautiful at all. For the almost 6 months, I was depressed. I felt fake and every time I walked by a mirror I broke down. I had a constant fear of losing my wig and it coming off while I was teaching. 2 people saw that I was bald, one of my students and a colleague because my scarf had come up one day. The fear when my student saw, took me out of the classroom the rest of the day, but became a life lesson for them later. I know some women that can't deal with it the way that I have and I say to them, your hair cannot live your life, it cannot take care of your children, or go to work for you. It is, like many other things, an addition to the appearance as to which you wish to reveal yourself to the world. It is also, like many things, something that can be lost. If it was meant for you to live without hair, whether it is by choice or a life occurrence, it DOES NOT account for ANY of the reasons why you are who you are, you have what you have, or who you've come to love and who loves you for you! My loss has been a gain for so many! I will not let hair define me or my life. If I choose to wear it, it's because I CHOOSE not because I have to! I now have an advantage over so many who have it and don't no what to do with it!
My name is Ashlynn Geringer and I’m a very outgoing, spunky, OCD three year old little girl. I love Minnie Mouse, Dora the Explorer, my blanket that I’ve named “see”, and Chap Stick. On August 30, 2013 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. (ALL)
Around August 26, 2013, it all started with a normal head cold. My mom and older sister Kailynn had the same cold. A few days later my mom noticed I had two sores on the inside of my cheeks that looked like I had bitten myself. My mom kept a close eye on those sores, making sure they would heal. Two days later my daddy came home from work when my mom told him I hadn’t moved off the couch all day and wasn’t eating. My daddy came over to look at me and used a flashlight to see the sores in my mouth and he noticed I had blood blisters all over my tongue. My mom took me to the Emergency Room where they ran blood tests, flu test, strep test, and chest x-rays on me. After a long wait (3 hours) the doctor finally came back into our room to tell my mother the devastating news. There was a possibility that I had leukemia and that they were calling for an ambulance to transport us to Scottish Rite children’s hospital. Once arriving to Scottish Rite they ran more blood tests and it was then confirmed that I had Leukemia. My mom broke down crying. This news was very devastating to her. The oncologist came in to talk to my mom, Nonnie, and papaw about my diagnosis. They sent me to the PICU floor as I was very weak and needed to be stabilized. It was all a very scary experience for me, my parents, Nonnie, and papaw. I was finally moved to the Aflac floor where I would begin my treatments. I had a port surgically placed, a spinal tap, and a bone marrow biopsy on September 3. I began my chemo treatments that day as well. And so my 3 year journey battling this disease began…
My name is Kiana I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata in the beginning of 7th grade, I'm now in 11th. When I was first diagnosed with Alopecia, I had never heard of it before and it wasn't bad so I didn't really care It didn't bother me I don't remember feel sad, upset, or anything. I just remember feeling confused. I didn't know what it was.. By 8th grade I remember losing a lot more hair and that's when it started bother me I felt so depressed and embarrassed and let those feelings just take over because by then it really bothered me. I didn't want anyone to know I felt so embarrassed and ashamed I guess. I felt like everyone would notice that I had hair missing. By 9th grade I remember losing even more and being so upset about I cried myself to sleep every night unless there was someone there with me. After hiding it for so long, last year I finally told everyone I had alopecia. I felt like I needed to, it had already been so long I couldn't stand hiding it anymore because that would make me feel even worse. I got so used to just staying home everyday because I was too embarrassed to go anywhere I thought people would notice and say something (before, after, and during the time I wore wigs) Once I told people I had alopecia, I finally had the courage to shave my head in June. Once I did that it didn't take long for me to tell anyone I did that. My sister was the first to know and then not even a week after I posted it on Facebook. 🙈 I feel like once I shaved my head I became so much stronger. I don't cry anymore, I don't get upset about it as much as I did. I feel okay about it now. ✝ I'm not ashamed to have Alopecia anymore. I'm never going to let it get the best of me. It's just a little part of me it doesn't define me, I know accept the fact that I have no hair right now and may not ever have any again.
Shanice come here! I need to brush your hair!”
I hate when she brushes my hair. She always brushes too hard! I got up from up the couch, tired from staying up all night from the night before. I walk down the hallway, dreading what’s to come for me. My mom is already in my room, brush in hand, ready to brush out all the knots from my crazy bed head. I sit in front of her on the floor, preparing myself for the pain. My mom begins to brush away, pulling hard to get knots out. I feel like my hair could fall out at any second. Suddenly she stops brushing.
“What the hell?!”
“You have small bald spots….”
My parents took me to see the doctor the next day. The car ride was silent. I was sitting in the back seat, looking out the window, daydreaming away. My parents and I did not know what was going on with me. I honestly didn’t care. An 8 year doesn’t care for too much. They don’t worry about these kinds of things. They only worry about the next time they’ll be able to play with their friends outside. Once we finally made it to the hospital, I got out the car and held my mom’s hand. She looked upset and very worried. She didn’t know what was going on with her daughter, she felt helpless. I never liked going to the hospital, it always scared me. I always thought everyone just died at the hospital. But walking in between my parents made me feel better. We make our way to the entrance of the building. They have the spinning door, which were my favorite. I went and spun around in them a few times. Laughing like I was on my favorite fair ride. My parents called me to come inside and sit with them. The wait for the doctor wasn’t fun. As an 8 year old, I had a hard time staying still. I have too much energy in me to try and keep down.
“Come this way please.”
I followed the nurse, as if I were a little puppy, my parents followed right behind us. The nurse showed us to the doctor’s office. She did the normal nurse check-up; check my temperature, check my height and weight, ask if I was in any pain.
“You’re all good Shanice.”
“The doctor will be in shortly.”
The nurse leaves the room and closes the door behind her. Again it is silent. I always hated when it was quiet. To break the silence, I started asking my dad what everything in the room was and what it was used for. My dad knows a lot. He was always someone I could ask if I didn’t know something. But there was one thing he didn’t know.
“So dad, what’s wrong with me? Is it something bad?”
“I don’t know Shanice. The doctor is going to check you out and let us know. I bet you it’s not bad.”
My dad always made me feel better about everything. When he’d say “You’ll be fine” I always believed and trusted him. Suddenly the door opens. An older man, about my mom’s height, bald, wearing glasses, and wearing the normal doctor get-up, walks into the room. He introduced himself to my parents, shaking their hands, and then turned to me.
“Hello Shanice. I’m Dr. Hirota.”
After about five or ten minutes, Dr. Hirota finishes my check up. Then we finally got the answer we were waiting for. When Dr. Hirota told my parents what I had, they were shocked. I sat there, confused out of my mind. I was only 8; all this doctor language was foreign to me.
“She has an autoimmune disease called Alopecia Areata. It causes her white blood cells to think that her hair cells are a type of germ and attacks them. As a result, it causes hair loss. There are treatments to try and help her hair keep growing and not fall out, but there is no definite cure.”
From then on, my life changed forever.
As the years continued, my hair kept falling out more and more. When I was in 5th grade, I wore a bandana to hide my bald spots. It gave me that feel of safety. Still I felt different from all the other kids at my school. By this point I understood what I had and what it was doing to me. But I didn’t try to let it bother me too much. The end of my 5th grade year, my hair was gone. Nothing left but my little ponytail I kept in a plastic bag as a memory of my hair.
My middle school years were the most rough out of all my years of school. In 6th grade, I wore a wig for the first time. It felt so different. Felt out of place, heavy, hot and itchy. I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I felt like I was living behind a lie as a different person. But I thought to myself, couldn’t just come to school with hair one day and be bald the next. I went through so much verbal bullying because of my Alopecia. Different things like “Ew, you’re bald that’s gross.” or “You wear a wig? You’re bald!” or people would make up stupid rumors like “She has cancer.” or “It’s contagious! Run!” Even kids would threaten me that they would pull off my wig at school so everyone could see and laugh at me. I hated school with every fiber of my being. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to just stay home with my parents and sister, not having to worry about those stupid kids at my school. I would always talk to my older sister, Nakia, about what happened in school.
“You can’t let those kids get to you Shanice. You’re much stronger than this. If you leave, you let them win. Prove to them that your Alopecia isn’t going to stop you from doing whatever you want to do.”
“Yeah – I know.”
“Don’t make me or mom come to your school.”
“I got this Kia.”
I took those talks with my sister and even with my parents to heart. I didn’t want them to win. I couldn’t let them win. I went back to school, feeling stronger than before. I walked through the hallways with my head up high. Though kids still picked on me, I didn’t let it bother me as much as it did before. But once 7th and 8th grade came around, I was older and more worried about my appearance as any other girl would. My self-esteem was very low, as if it went through the floor. I hated having Alopecia. I hated it so much. I would always cry at night, not loud enough for anyone in the house to hear, wondering and constantly thinking about it.
“Why me? Why was I the one to get this? What did I do wrong? I hate this! It’s not fair!”
Months past and during this time I went through all the different treatments that were available to me for my Alopecia. I hated taking all of them. Most of them caused me some kind of pain. Some treatments would give me a rash on my head that would itch and burn so much. It was so hard not to itch it. I’d always have to put a cold rag on my head to cool the rash down. Some treatments changed the color of the skin on my head to a darkish color that looked like patches. It honestly scared me when that happened. But luckily the color went back to normal. But the treatment I remember the most, the one that caused me the worst pain, the one that I never want to take again, the one that made my hair grow back were the injections I got in my head.
I never felt such severe pain like that before in my life. I remember that day so clearly, no matter how much I want to erase it. It repeats in my mind like a horror movie, the part that scared you the most. That day, my parents picked me up from school and we went all the way up to Seattle to go to the Seattle Children’s Hospital. I remember going into the doctor’s room and lying down on the bed, holding my dad’s hand. I was so scared. More like terrified. The nurse came in, went to counter and got the needles ready. She told me I wouldn’t feel any pain. That was a lie. I felt everything. Every needle, every poke and even the blood running down my head. I was screaming my lungs out, squeezing my dad’s hand with a death grip. My mom hated seeing me in so much pain. What could she have done? She knew I wanted this but still. What kind of mother would want to see their child like this? A few weeks after the injections, my hair started to slowly grow back. Then eventually I had a full head of hair. I was so happy! I had hair again. I felt normal again. I didn’t feel like that bald freak. But then I got bad news. My doctor told me the only way to keep my hair from falling out; I’d have to continue with the injections. That’s where I drew the line. I stopped with all the treatments. I was tired of being some little guinea pig. I told my parents and the doctors I was done.
“I’m done. I’m done with all these different treatments. I’d rather live my life with no hair, than go through this pain anymore!”
“Are you sure?”
Now I’m high school and still bald. Each year has made me a better person and helped me deal with my Alopecia. I’ve told my most friends about my Alopecia and what I’ve gone through. Most of them say it doesn’t make a difference to them if I have hair or not, I’m still me and they’ll always be there for me. They have been my support system since I first came to high school. I honestly believed that high school was going to be worse than middle school, but I was wrong. It’s much better. I have people here that help me build my confidence. Even though I’m not ready to come to school without a wig, I know someday I’ll be able to forget about needing one and just be me, the real me. My family has also been there for me through all of this. I don’t know how I’d be now if I didn’t have them or my friends to help me along. Someday I want to talk to younger people who also have Alopecia and tell them my story. Be about to help them with it. That is a goal I know I will reach.
A poem my mom wrote for me:
Beautiful to Me
To my daughter
When you first came into my life
You were beautiful to me
When you smiled and had only two teeth
You were beautiful to me
As you grew older and become your own person
You were beautiful to me
When you asked me, if I lost all my hair would you still love me
I told you that I would love you forever and that
You were beautiful to me