I’ve had my hair cut short. Really short. Why? Because I like changing my hairstyle and doing radical stuff with it.
But if you look closely on the photo you can see it looks a bit strange. There’s a bald patch! Perhaps that’s part of the style? It’s not quite that radical! I actually have alopecia areata. This is the third time in my life I’ve had it and the largest patch, and the most prominent.
For those of you who have never heard of it, alopecia areata is hair loss in large round patches. It’s to do with the immune system and can affect people due to stress, illness and all sorts of things. Anything that affects the immune system basically. It also affects one or two people in every 1,000 in the UK making it REALLY common. We don’t like hair loss as women though do we? Hair is a fashion statement, it’s sensual, it’s a way of expressing ourselves, we spend billions a year on getting it just so. So we don’t talk about it. . The only role model we have for alopecia is Gail Porter, a now forgotten TV presenter who had a very cute blonde haircut, and now is completely bald. She’s been so brave to go bald, but still admits she is completely devastated.
At least she doesn’t hide behind a wig, but would her career have continued to skyrocket if she hadn’t have lost her hair? Consumerism needs us to care about our hair, go to the hairdressers, buy hair dryers and straighteners, and products to get it styled. I can’t say I don’t use products, I do, although only the key few. I am trying to be minimalist after all.
So back to my alopecia, I have spent the last couple of months hiding it with some slightly longer short hair, and inspecting it daily for growth. Then I thought on, ‘Hang on. What am I doing?’ I have spent years accepting my body is my body and very unique, and I’m not your average mainstream woman. I’m like an overripe plum hanging low on a branch, but overripe plums are juicy and just as needed as the small green ones waiting to ripen, so after about 20 years I have come to accept myself as I am. So why not hair loss? It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing I can do differently, and trying to hide it under a side comb over is a definite no. I am alive, I am free to accept how to deal with my alopecia and I choose to be proud. It’s growing back and in the grand scheme of things it’s nothing compared to what some people have to address on a daily basis.
I want to inspire others to feel that we can talk about things that are usually hidden, and not accepted. Plus size women have been taught to feel they should be apologetic for breathing and wear a tent to cover up all that unsightly flesh and I don’t subscribe to that myth either. So I am sorry if my bald patch offends you, but it’s here to stay for at least a few more months. Feel free to stare, I’ll even let you have a stroke if you’re not weird and you ask nicely!