Hair Doesn't Define Me Photo Series: Empowering women to embrace their baldness RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
The Hair Doesn't Define Me Photo Series was created and directed by Nell Coleman to bring forth women who believe that Hair doesn't define who they are and use their story to empower our readers why it's important to understand that, it's not what lies on top of the head that determine one's beauty, but what resides within.
Everyone has a story and for the longest time I truly hid from mine. A little background on myself; I have Alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes my body to attack my own hair follicles at any random time. It has been an ongoing process since I was six years of age. I lost all my hair in first grade. It was devastating as I was the only child that did not have hair, and there could be no explanation to be given. I remember thinking why doesn't any of the other kids look like me at school, at the mall, or on tv? By the next school year, my hair grew back, but to only fall out again for the following school year. By the time I was ten it started to grow back again, however, my eyebrows and eyelashes were always sparse. The constant process of losing and growing was difficult to understand, let alone trying to explain why I looked this way to kids and adults. In all honesty, adults were crueler than the kids. So I just never, and I mean never, talked about it! If the topic of hair came up, I quickly changed the subject. You see, I grew up in a house where the motto was, ' if you don't talk about it, it doesn't exist.' Well let's face the facts, that's no way to address any issue in life.
Growing up, I only saw woman with long hair. My mother has long beautiful thick hair, and she has never gotten a hair cut that changed her appearance, even to this day. She is attached to the idea of hair making her feel beautiful. (Which we need to all know she really does have beautiful hair. ) At a very young age, all I knew was hair defined a girls beauty, it was one of the major characteristics that made her an attractive female. Plus, how do we describe someone? By their weight and hair! In my family and societies defense, in the past we did not embrace or educate on the difference of what is beautiful, like we are in today's times with access to information. We were only taught to see beauty as a Barbie figure, from head to toe.
After a decade of having a head of hair (my Alopecia stayed dormant), during my second year of college I lost my hair completely again. But this time I was facing Alopecia as an adult. When I started losing my hair I didn't dare talk about it with anyone. I didn't want people to know I was scared how I endured Alopecia as a weakness. I felt my only absolute option was to go to a short haired wig. A look that was not known in my world. At the time, it felt like the only choice I had. Feeling alone with no one to relate to, I had to tuck away what felt like impossible emotions, and try to continue concentrating on my studies. I didn't speak about my Alopecia at school or to my friends. I simply said, "I cut my hair short. " For almost ten years I didn't admit or talk about it with my in laws, peers, and majority of my friends. If the door bell rang I had to quickly run to put my hair on. I lived in constant fear someone would discover what I felt like was a flaw.
Let's speed up to today's views! Finally, after almost a lifetime for me, I now will NOT let hair define me.
A few years ago I connected with others who have Alopecia and I suddenly didn't feel so alone. I saw how happy, beautiful, proud, and outspoken they are as individuals. I learned what self love ultimately was by surrounding myself around positive people. It was like a light bulb clicked, and I realized I have allowed myself to stay hidden from who I truly am.
Today, I am happy to wear hair when I want, and go out bald. I can actually talk about being bald without being nervous and crying. One of the most important tools to finding happiness is being true to yourself. If cutting/shaving or even just embracing lack of hair makes you feel more like you, than the world will only see beauty. When you compare yourself to others you're robbing your own beauty and happiness. Nothing is more freeing then being true to yourself. Push the bar for others to see you, not just the lens of pure judgment that we are taught by the standards of society. Change can be scary for anyone. Embracing change gives you strength. A female who has a shaved/or bald head, helps the human race to realize that beauty isn't defined in only traditional female looks!
"How am I going to live like this?" these were the word that were uttered from my lips when I realized my hair wasn't cooperating the way I prayed it would. At the age of 16 I was combing my hair and realized something wasn't right. My hair was falling out and getting super thin so I cut it all off and started growing my natural hair. Having the same problem for about 3 years my natural hair was growing but the middle of my head started getting thinner and thinner so I decided to start slicking my hair with gel and wearing a natural puff so no one could see.
By the time I was 20 years old I was bald, bald as in hair everywhere on my head except the middle . By that time whatever hair I had started breaking from the gel I was using to slick and cover this bald area. I was so self-conscious and embarrassed that even at home I would wear a head band from my family who knew about this problem.
Four years later I had to make a decision to get a Caesar's cut and spray the middle with a black hair spray, oh boy, after seeing different doctors and turning down the last two who wanted to take pieces of my skin from my head to test and figure out the problem, after about a 7 months of sweating black from my head, getting black stains all over my clothes, I got really frustrated and shaved my head and that was the day my life changed!
It has been over 6 years since I became a "baldie" and I'm confident again. I like to say I'm fearless and free. People approach me everywhere I go only to compliment me about how beautiful I am. Some of them would even share with me "my hair is thinning or I'm going bald and there are times I wanna shave what's left but I'm scared of how I might look". My music and modeling career got so much better because I feel much better in my own natural skin. I stopped wearing wigs all the time especially to churches, something I would always do because I was scared or worried about what people would say or think of me.
Sometimes we have our own perception of how life should be in order to work. Pressure our bodies about the way it should look and we put up this fight and sit behind certain barriers just stifling ourselves and not being open or accepting of what life really should be. Sometimes life gets all crazy so things can fall into place. My mom looks at me all the time and says "God knew what he was doing when he gave you that beautifully sculpted head" and I know its not by coincidence it's destiny. So how am I going to live like this? by being unapologetically bald. And if anyone ever ask me again why I shave my head I will no longer lie and say " for style or because I wanted to" I will simply say because this head was made for the world to see, hair will never define me. Trust your battles!
When I was 19 years old, a small bald patch took residence on my head. Of course initially I freaked out but I thought this won't last. As more patches came and more doctors' visits filled my calendar I started to become very depressed. I stopped dancing and swimming which were two things I loved to do. I stopped looking in the mirror without a wig or scarf, essentially I stopped recognizing who my reflection was. She wasn't beautiful, in fact, she lost the thing that made her so. But after three years, God said enough, change your prayer to match my will and life will be yours again. Essentially that's what happened. I can't say everyday with Alopecia is easy, because it certainly isn't. But I can say that everyday I accept myself as perfectly made by The Creator, my confidence grows, and more and more I know, that Hair Does Not Define Me!
I was diagnosed with Androgenic Alopecia when I was 18 years old. The moment I was diagnosed was the moment I decided that being a baldie was something that I was going to take part in, in my life journey. It was super challenging because as a Hispanic women, culturally, hair holds a huge part of identity, femininity and sexuality. My family weren't too pleased with the idea and my friends were constantly reminding me that I was beautiful with the hair I had. I, however, did not feel beautiful. I was constantly holding my hair down with bobby pins, always worried if the wind was going to blow to hard and expose my shining spot, and found that where ever I went, I was comparing myself to other women who had the thickness of hair I would never have. I was at my lowest as far as my insecurity goes and never really felt my true beauty.
Last year, [Dec 28th is actually my one year anniversary :)] I woke up one day and decided that I was going to take charge of my life. I was not going to live life according to other people's standards of beauty and asked my boyfriend to shave my head for me. To my surprise, my boyfriend fully supported my decision and razor shaved my head completely bald. The moment my hair was gone was the moment I really saw 'me.' Since going bald, I find that I am always confident and happy in my skin. I wish I would've shaved bald when I was first diagnosed! Living with hair, I felt like I was living a lie. I wasn't my true self.
I am blessed to have been able to share my experience and story with Alopecia through my Blog & YouTube channel - the amount of love and support from girls all around the world who deal with this, too, is beautifully overwhelming. When I was first diagnosed, I felt so alone. Now that I've shared my story, I find that I am in a community where we all support each other to the utmost. It's been an honor being able to take part in this campaign for the same reason and I hope to continue to use my platform as a place for women who deal with any kind of hair loss to come and feel less alone, and for them to have faith and hope in being able to find their beauty and confidence.
Be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi
This is the quote I forever find my motivation to be that positive change we need in this world.
In a world where we put so much value on our hair, we forget that our true value has nothing to do with our hair and everything to do with who we are as beings and how we see ourselves.
Growing up, though hate is a strong word, I hated everything about myself because people always bullied me about my hair, teeth, and skin. I've had a piece of my hair cut off with scissors without knowing it, I've had my food spat in, I've had kick me written in permanent marker on my brand new jacket that I would hide my head, face, and body in, I've been threatened to perm my hair or lose my scholarship while on a dance team, I've been constantly encouraged to put chemicals in my hair to make it look more acceptable so that others would feel comfortable around me in public, and much more.
I was convinced that there was no way out until one day, I decided that I had enough of being tormented about my hair. Hair is a huge deal within the black community and I no longer wanted to depend on it to feel or look my best self. I wanted to prove to myself that I didn't need it to beautiful.
January 2010, I declared that hair would no longer define who I am and I shaved it off. Though I chose this look, it took some time for me to fully embrace it because I still cared what others thought of me. I didn't realize at the time that self acceptance was far greater than seeking the acceptance of others.
I still face challenges as a baldie today but the best thing about this bald head of mine is, I don't wake up feeling attached or dependent upon hair to be who I am. I wake up with pride saying to myself, I am Bald and Free and Hair will never define me.
Thanks for reading,
Founder, The Baldie Movement
Stay connected with us
Nell Coleman @imabaldie
Max & Will Darius @maxwillphotography
Alicia Smith @kahlia99
Danielle Henry @danieandthebloom
Chanique Rodgers @iamchanique
Glendaly Corona @lamamahada
Ashlee Crump @stoneywho1
Eso Shanie @eso_shani
We have women from all walks of life who come together and use their words of encouragement, photos, and testimonials to inspire those who aren't confident with their baldness.
I'd like to introduce to you 6 beautiful women who joined me to showcase the beauty in bald women and how together we can truly make a huge impact in the world with our photos and our words of encouragement.
Whether you're bald by circumstance or by choice, just know that you are a part of an elite group of women in the world that do not let their hair define them. You are strong and you are beautiful and don't let anyone dare tell you otherwise! Own it!
Surround yourself with positive people who will uplift you and motivate you but spend a lot of time by yourself, getting to know who you really are and what makes you happy, spending time alone you will learn a lot about yourself and learn to love yourself becsuse it is within you the answers you seek.. Never look back unless it's to see how far you've come and once you accept yourself as you are because you are freed from the burden of needing the world to accept you.
I decided to just go as short as I could. I know who and whom I belong to. I am from a chosen generation and I am apart of a peculiar people. I love my choice to wear my hair as a Baldie.
Always remember you are your own person and no one can change who you are, except God!
When you begin to love and accept yourself everyone and everything around you will demonstrate how you feel about yourself. LOVING YOURSELF TAKES TIME AND PRACTICE . You can begin by doing mirror work ten minutes a day and see how this will make a difference in accepting your baldness. The beauty of who you are a child of God that reflects him without or without hair.
Loving yourself first plays a major part in embracing your baldness. Just look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that God never make mistakes and that you are beautifully and wonderfully made! Once you love yourself on the inside your beauty and confidence will shine right through.
It is okay to feel uncertain at first. I wore a wig for a year before I built the courage to finally stop hiding who i was so that other people wouldn't feel uncomfortable.
Your true beauty lies in your confidence. Your hair should never define you because it is merely a mask that hides who you are. I never truly knew who i was until I lost my hair. Being bald has helped me become so much stronger and has helped me in my personal growth more than i could imagined.
If you ask 28 year old me if i thought i would be where I am today i would have cried uncontrollably and told you no. But sitting here almost 4 years later i can tell you making that decision to let go of what little hair i had left was the most freeing an empower decision I ever made in my life. I feel more beautiful now then i ever did before.
Always remember you are beautiful, you are strong confident and you are never alone. Hold your head up high and know you have a strong network of people who are here to lift you up because we have been there and we understand. You are now part of a movement
that is here to show society that the true beauty of a person lies within their being, heart and soul. Most importantly you rock that bald head with confidence and pride.I'm a firm believer that God would never give me something he didn't think i could handle. Society can go and kick rocks because YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, STRONG,PHENOMENAL AND LOVED!!! Welcome to the family my fellow baldie!!!
Thank you all so much for your Love and Support of this amazing creation I call The Baldie Movement. Please help us to get this blog out to millions of Baldies around the world who need these words of encouragement and to know that they are not alone.
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Nell Coleman - Founder/CEO
Photo Credit: Tony Green & Tye Martin
Happiness begins with you therefore you should never allow a person, place, or thing to have so much power over you that it dictates your happiness. Here are some easy steps that I followed which helped me to become more happy with myself and I'm sure it can do the same for you. Give it a try.
1. Accept you for who you are.
Your uniqueness, your weakness, your
flaws, the good, the bad. If there is something you wish to change
about yourself to make your life, career, personal/business
relationships, etc better then do so but change doesn't come over
night so be patient and don't depend on that change for inner
2. Accept that it is okay to be imperfect.
Besides life would be so boring if we all were perfect. How could we continue to learn and grow from each other, our mistakes, ourselves, if we knew everything and
got everything right.
3. Surround yourself with other happy people.
Let me tell you, those people can become super contagious. To see people so happy makes you want to be that way too. They can be your guide to become more happy
4. Compliment yourself.
Look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself how amazing you are,
how beautiful you are, how capable you are. Compliment every body
part, let your body know how much you appreciate it for the things it
can do for you.
5. Exercise and eat foods that make you look and feel your best.
Our bodies are like vehicles and we must give it the proper fuel and take
care of it to function properly. Our bodies talk to us and we must
take the time to listen and pay attention to it. Your body will
appreciate you for this one and you will love the way you look and
feel when you properly take care of yourself.
I don't know about you all but it makes me so feel so happy inside
when I give to others. To see their response, to know I've
done something to make someone else's day much better makes me feel
good about myself and that's all I need, no return necessary. Of
course we aren't able to help everyone but do what you can and do it
with a cheerful heart.
Happiness isn't always easy to obtain but once it resides within, it's
an amazing feeling that you just can't get enough of. I pray that
these steps will help those in need to become happier, healthier
Any questions, comments, a story you'd like to share?
Peace & Love,
written by Nell Coleman
Today I'd like to share some super fun facts about being a hairless beauty. I'd love know your fun facts. Share them with me below.
1. You save money on hair products. Now you can take that extra money and treat yourself to clothes, beauty products, shoes, and more.
2. You don't have to do your hair in the morning, just get up and go!!
3. You never have to worry about having a Bad hair day!!!
4. You can shower, exercise, and swim with no worries of getting your hair wet or sweating your hair out,
5. Your facial features stand out more!
6.You can easily change up your look.
7. You stand out in a crowd, besides who wants to fit in.
8. It feels so free and liberating
9.We are cooler during the summer. No hair No problems
10. For our Alopecian beauties who don't have any hair anywhere, you don't have to worry about shaving at all. You ladies are truly the lucky ones.
You see, there are so many wonderful benefits of being a baldie, so have no fear, The Baldie Movement is here to help you overcome the struggle of embracing, loving, and accepting your baldness more.
written by Nell Coleman
Tooter Turtle was never satisfied with his life and was looking to be someone else. Each week he experimented with what it would be like to live another's life by visiting Mr, Wizard, who would cast his spell on Tooter, allowing him to explore living someone else's life.
Tooter Turtle always got himself into trouble trying to be someone he was not. Just when the mess would become too much to handle, Tooter would yell, "Help, Mr Wizard." Mr. Wizard would say the magic words: "Drizzle, drazzle , druzzle, drome - time for this one to come home." Tooter came home as himself, the only self he could ever really be. Mr. Wizard would say upon Tooters return that "he is what he is - not what he is not.
Own who you are, quirks and all, so that you don't waste your life wishing to be someone else. Live and thrive as your authentic self, it's absolutely worth the effort.