It seems dramatic, but sometimes we feel like our bodies betray us... Here's how to work through that.
I remember when I found my first bald spot... It wasn't me who actually found it, it was my dad's wife. I bent over to fluff up my hair and she gasped, "Jessie?!?! What's that?" "What?" I replied and stood up to look at her." "Your head... it's... showing?" She walked over to me and reached through my long, thick hair, to touch it. "Oh my god!" she cried. I remember not freaking out initially, but then my hairline around my ears started receding, and I went to the doctor. The doctor wasn't too helpful. He told me he didn't want to diagnose alopecia areata, but he thought that might be the case. He filled a prescription for a topical cream, and referred me to a dermatologist. I went to a series of doctors, which lead me feeling more and more hopeless. Pretty soon, I resorted to chopping my hair off up to my ears so it would look, "Just as thick as it had been." and then slowly that turned to top buns and head scarfs. All of that I was pretty numb to. I had alopecia before when my parents were divorcing about a decade before. My hair thinned, but I never really worried because it grew back pretty fast.
But I'll never forget the day I started hating my body. The day I looked at it and said, "Why are you doing this to me?" The day I felt completely helpless and totally afraid. I was in the passenger's seat. My boyfriend at the time was driving through downtown. I flipped down the visor and pulled out a tube of mascara. I lean forward to paint my lashes when the whole top half comes crumbling off my eyelid. "Oh my God!" I shouted. "What?!?!" My boyfriend said, scared. "My eyelashes just came out." I turned to him in panic and he seemed to shrug. We were on our way somewhere fancy and I told him to take me home. "But I already said we were going." "You can go, but I don't want to see anyone." I spent the night ignoring my worries in a front row seat to Netflix with various trips to the mirror to examine my eye lashes and brows. Later I walked to the store and bought myself a half-gallon of coffee flavored ice cream and ate every last scoop. I knew that was the beginning of losing my identity as I knew it. I had started the grieving process. My alopecia had progressed to universalis and I didn't know if it would stop. For the next three years, I spent my days hiding in my apartment, and when I left, I would have two personas: barbie doll, with full caked makeup, wig, and drawn-on clown eyebrows; or punk chick, which consisted of a black, chunky, knit beanie that covered up my head to people wouldn't ask if I had hair or not. Being in Seattle, everyone thought it was a style choice, and I could avoid the awkward cancer sighs and freak-stares. I avoided mirrors and reflections, because eventually my eyebrows were gone too, and I didn't recognize myself anymore. I never thought the Disney princess I would end up relating to was Fiona from Shrek, (yes, I know not a Disney princess, that's the point).
This was the black, chunky, knit hat I wore