Reminiscing the Loss – Hair Loss Takes What We Give

by Y on February 18, 2021

What If…. 

To avoid confusion, wigged up. All images are wigged. Except the obvious shaved one.

What if we accepted as truth, that this life isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is it, our one shot.

What if we realized our misfortunes, our angst… Is just that, our misfortunate and angst, but it does not define us, nor has to.

What if we accepted that we can actually live, despite not having every single thing we expected in our lives – like our hair. 

What if we could honor our feelings while simultaneously moving forward, without judgment of self.  What a concept. Abandoning judgment of self, and any real or perceived judgment from others – abandoning that too. 

If our happiness is relying on things we cannot control, we are surely in for a rough road. My suffering in hair loss came from just dealing in loss…. constantly, that and a loss of control, loss of self, and no matter what I did, an inability to get back “what should be.” 

Who’s to say what should be? Simply because I was born with hair doesn’t entitle me to have it forever. Everything on us is potentially on loan, including life.

If we focus on our loss we can lose gratitude for all that we do have, perpetuating a cycle of self-erosion. 

What if we focused more on some of what we have, what is good, rather than reminiscing the loss. 

If there was a sport for “Reminiscing The Loss” I would be a top contender, a front runner for sure. 

I am truly skilled in the art of living backwards.
Truly skilled.

Over analyzing what left me or what was taken, and to further detriment, thinking of it in those terms actually sets up the mind, and every facet of your constitution, to automatically be on the losing end, from the start.

That’s like starting towards the race of life, not a little behind where the line starts – but rather in a ditch.  It is our race, we race against ourselves, but who wants to start in a ditch?

What if we accepted, this was just life, not all great. Accept the past, live in the present, look towards the future. I know, it’s not always so easy, but what if.

What if I told you, you are stronger than you think.

2016 – The incredibly talented Sophie Hafner created this color for me for a photoshoot, and also dying her own hair pink for the shoot as an effort to help me to de-stigmatize wig wearing, showing what hair wearing CAN be.

What if we strive to not excel in the sport of reminiscing the loss, but work to build our now, and our tomorrow with the cards that are dealt, have been dealt and work with what is within our control. 

What if….

I have often been asked how I managed to accept and move past hair loss, and it’s worth noting, I don’t think I’ve necessary moved past it, more accurately stated, I learned to adapt and live with it.

No longer be a slave to it…Accept what I thought was impossible and change my preconceived notions that began with, “I could never…”

I could never wear wigs – I can
I could never live unless all my hair came back – I could
I could never be accepted with hair loss and wigs – I was and am.

Most importantly, I accept myself, which lends itself to the rest falling in place.

Taking back control in the ways I could – by cutting off my hair to be extremely short, wearing wigs and doing PRP, I minimized the role hair loss played in my life

For quite some time now, I have fully let go of any dream or hope that ALL my hair will return or even be close to the slightest fraction of what it once was. My bar changed over the years, and consistently does of what I’m able to live with, of what I’m able to accept, of what is “okay enough.” My “what should be” is now more in line with what is – so I can LIVE with hair loss.

That included last year, shaving not just the back of my head (which I’d been doing since 2012), but the sides as well, so I was sporting a Last of The Mohicans hair style. Interestingly, I didn’t see it as a loss, I saw it as adapting, it was more matter of fact and function than anything really. Adapting is something I think that is vital to self-preservation

Letting Go…

Something else I had to let go of was having my hair loss understood. Expecting that’s a thing from everyone in our life is a recipe for disaster. I don’t think anyone that isn’t dealing with it, can ever full get it, and EVEN in that scenario, we ALL deal differently, so even if they are dealing with it, they still may not get your feelings entirely. How we deal in anything is often shaped by our past experiences, our chemical makeup, and let’s be frank, who ever has the same EXACT same life experiences as us? No one. Similar, yes. Exact same, No.

2016 Think Pink Photoshoot With Sophie Hafner – Sometimes you have to just let go, and let it ride.

What if we let go of yet another thing we cannot control – if others will or will not get it. If others will or will not accept our wearing of hair. I honestly do not care if anyone “gets” why I’m wearing wigs, I mean after all there is still degraded follicles coming out of my head, so why on earth would I want to feel like I did once upon a time before hair loss hit me at 21, when I had hair that framed my face and made me feel good. I state that because inevitably someone may not get it and cite the remaining follicles on your head as reason for not needing a wig or treating your hair loss. The only person qualified to make the judgment for what you need to do for you to feel good – is you. 

2018

This aspect doesn’t affect me, because I know I am not going to battle the reasons with anyone, or feel compelled to, as I don’t need to justify doing something for me. I don’t need universal acceptance of my wigs to continue wearing them. I am not going to justify my loss. MY loss. My hair loss.  There is no need to prove the loss to anyone in your life or worry of the need to feel you have to explain and won’t be understood.

I have found that in having a very steadfast certainty of self in this regard, there is nothing to worry over or fear. It’s a wig, I have hair loss. It’s not a production that requires a symphony of explanation. When I do say, “It’s a wig” and “I have hair loss” it carries the same tone and weight as “I have asthma,” I have an inhaler.” I don’t give power to the words, and it’s actually not a thought of deliberate intention to do so – it’s only because this is a matter of fact situation, that is what it is now in my life – and has been for quite sometime.

Honestly, I’m not sure my family ever really “Got It” but they have most certainly accepted it, as I have found every person in my life has, but it honestly just doesn’t matter to me one way or another, because I’m the person that has to live in this body. Just Me.  

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I write this to only provoke thought, of the potential and possibility of viewing things differently (even if it seems unrealistic and isn’t what you want to hear at this moment) and caring for yourself more than caring of the potential opinions of others who are not you and don’t live in your body. 

Things are rarely ever black or white. We aren’t just in a state of perpetual hair loss suffering OR surfing the waves of a blissful wigged life. There is actually a middle ground too. It’s one where we accept, and maybe we feel that loss from time to time, and it’s ok – but it no longer owns us, it no longer rules us and consumes our every thought and moment, and we do find there is life after hair loss. What if…even if you don’t whole heartedly believe that was a possibility today, you let in the idea – that it could be tomorrow. 

To the person that is feeling unseen today, I see you. With time, things can and do get better. I don’t say that to spread false hope, I say that because I truly believe in my heart that if I was able to live beyond hair loss – you can too.

2012 – First wig I owned and a pivotal point in my journey, a step that allowed me to reclaim a situation that had owned me since 1999.

I went kicking and screaming, feet dragging. I prayed in churches all over, I’m not kidding. I prayed to God, I prayed to St. Jude and I was convinced my life was over before it even began. I was 21 years old when I started losing my hair. I started this site in 2007, at the lowest point of my hair loss journey.  I started wearing wigs in 2012, and it wasn’t all smooth sailing after that point – but at least I was sailing.  I struggled in various ways over the years, as rarely anything is ever a trajectory of upward success with continuous victories in any aspect of our lives, but since what was a pivotal point in my hair loss life (taking back control), I never once returned to the mentality that life was over because of my hair loss.

It seems worth noting that my life didn’t all of a sudden explode into epic greatness because I got my hair loss situation under a manageable plan which I outlined above, and I don’t write this to be negative, rather to be real and true. In many ways my life took a turn downwards. Holes in my life that were covered up by my all-consuming commitment and full-time job to be forever dead inside from my hair loss, all of a sudden came to the surface. Unhealed, undealt with, exposed. It’s like I stopped growing and dealing with other aspects of my life when hair loss took center stage and took my life for over a decade, or perhaps better stated – when I gave my life over to hair loss.

The only reason I mention that is we can so firmly believe, and hang our hat on ONE thing, and dilute ourselves in thinking if just that one thing was fixed ALL would be okay. It’s just not true. We are more than our hair and our body, mind and life are aware of that even if we are not. Even if we ignore or neglect other parts of our world, it’s still happening and it’s so important to take care of yourself the WHOLE way through, take care of yourself today and don’t just wait till you get past your hair loss hurdle in whatever way that is for you, to take care of you. Start now.  

Present Day. Just me, a wig and a three hole punch, cuz who doesn’t need one of those in their life? Ammiirrighht? 🙂

Hair loss is an adventure, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. The friends I have today, the true blue, tried and true – 98% I met through hair loss.

I turn 43 this year, and the one thing I hope to provide others with is the knowledge that they can move forward, they can get through, they can be happy. There is no one size fits all for everyone and our paths may be different or similar, but life does not end because of hair loss, not unless we allow it to.

Leave your thoughts and comments below, would love to hear from you.

Sending Much Love To All
XOXO
Y

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky February 18, 2021 at 11:14 am

Hello Y,

First of all, I am so grateful to have found you! And even more grateful that you have shared your journey with so many. It is truly comforting and empowering to have a source from which to learn and share. I applaud you for your hard work which is leading you to true self love. There is always a bigger picture behind our reactions to life.

I can pretty much ditto every single comment.

What I found in reading your blog is I want to see her real hair. Its like I have been looking for someone’s approval of how my own hair looks. I mean, how bad could it be? If one person is comfortable, why can’t I be comfortable in my appearance? I have been judging myself wayyy too long. So now I understand it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or does…its how I am feeling about it…warped feelings or not, it controls me. I want to stop that cycle so badly. Never realized until I read your blog, just how much I was allowing it to control me. And I am approaching 65 years old!!!

I have what is referred to as Lichen planopilaris. In addition I have always just had fine, thin hair as did my mother and grandmother. Then I had surgery this past August and even more shedding.

So I have been researching all the drugs, minoxidil, finasteride, dutasteride and found I am unable to tolerate any of them due to health reasons and I really don’t want to be on a drug the rest of my life!

I have also been researching PRP and an exosome treatment. Have you ever done the exosome therapy? My dermatologist uses bone marrow, not placentas for the injections.

What is your take on both PRP and the exosome treatment? Do you find PRP helpful? IF you haven’t done the exosome treatment, would you?

Finally, can you refer a great wig/topper source to me? That will be my next step.

Thank you again and may God bless you on your journey.

Becky
Charlotte, NC

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Angie T February 25, 2021 at 9:11 am

I’ve been following you since 2012, and watched in awe and amazement as you grabbed the tiger by the tail. I couldn’t believe *I* could ever do such a thing, and without watching you, and others do it first I don’t know I ever could have.

Out of all the years I’ve been reading your blog, this is by far my favorite post. Thanks for being you and putting it all out there to benefit others.

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Julie February 28, 2021 at 8:47 pm

Thank you Y! I have been following you on and off since 2012 also, I so agree with Angie, this one by far is my most favorite post! Thank you so much for putting this out, this is exactly what I need to read, and I am so glad that I came to your site today! Please continue to post. You are an inspiration!

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Mia March 3, 2021 at 9:15 pm

LOVED reading this! I found your blog back in 2012 too – when I was in a desperate and lonely place – feeling like there was something very very wrong with me. Before the time of crazy out of control Insta hair accounts – where pretty girls flash pretty wigs every day.
You provided me with company, information, wisdom, normalised hair loss and most importantly: left me with a clear suggestion that acceptance might be a path, and the clear message that : you are not your hair loss.
Love how you are now wrapping this up with Life after hair loss.
Brilliant. Thanks, once again, for sharing your journey with us!

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