I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata at age 5.
For 13 years, I lost small, unnoticeable patches of hair off and on. When I was 18 I began losing larger amounts of hair, and by the age of 20 I developed Alopecia Universalis and have been completely bald since then (May 2013).
There are so many incredible experiences I have had since entering the world as a bald woman- which gradually happened between August 2014-March 2015. The moment that sticks out to me most would be when I first decided to go bald in public the week before I started my senior year of college. My friends had seen me bald, but never acquaintances nor the general public.
I walked into a room full of people, some I knew, some I didn't and I was immediately embraced by all. In fact- everyones face lit up when they saw me walk in. It was this magical moment of fear washing away and new kind of confidence and enhanced self-esteem replacing that fear of being bald, and the fear that I had while wearing a wig, so afraid of being "found out". There was so much love and acceptance in the room I felt I had been set free, I felt invigorated, and anxiously excited to take on the world with a new sense of what beauty meant to me.
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease with no cure.
So technically permanent. However, my hair could grow back at any moment. For those of us who did not choose to be bald- the lack of autonomy is difficult to cope with. What I have learned in the 4 years that I have experienced life as a bald woman is that there are some choices we can make everyday to take back control of our lives, and make baldness something that you own as wholly yours. A choice that I made was to enhance my natural features with makeup, and in turn I re-developed my sense of pride and confidence in myself. To me, makeup gave me the choice to feel beautiful when I needed a lift, and I have begun outlining my experience with makeup on my website,
baldisthenewblack.com/@baldisthenewblack on Instagram.
Furthermore, through re-defining my beauty in the world
I re-defined the very meaning of what beauty was to me. Society as a whole favors a narrow definition of beauty- and it is easy to fall into this trip. I have learned that the definition of beauty is fluid, and the most beautiful thing in the world is self-love. Looking a specific way will not bring happiness, but instead owning who you are outside and inside is where true happiness and inner peace comes from.