One Girl’s Alopecia Made Her Rethink Society’s Definition of Magnificence

 One Girl’s Alopecia Made Her Rethink Society’s Definition of Magnificence

My alopecia began with a couple of bald spots right here and there, ones I may simply cowl up with strategically positioned French braids. I used to be 12 years previous on the time, and I wasn’t too frightened about my hair. I often needed it out of my face anyway.

By the point I used to be half-way by means of highschool, it received worse. I’ll always remember spring break of my sophomore yr: I used to be wanting ahead to per week off with my pals and boyfriend—sleeping in, not worrying about homework—however my hair began falling out like loopy. I took a bathe mid-morning, and I may really feel extra bald spots on my head. Once I pulled my arms out of my hair, strands lined my wrists, all the best way all the way down to my elbows. It was actually graphic.

Over the course of that week, my hair would clog the bathe drain and I’d get up to a pile of hair on my pillow each morning. On a windy day, strands of hair actually blew away and landed on one my pals. However the factor with alopecia is, you by no means know if it’s going to get higher or worse, so I waited it out for a couple of months.

Grass, Player, Ball, Team sport, Smile, Soccer ball, Competition event, Happy, Football, Photography,

Kylie earlier than alopecia, in 2005.
Courtesy of Kylie Bamberger

It didn’t get higher and I knew I wanted to deal with the issue. First, I received a bob to cover the truth that my remaining hair was tremendous skinny, which was an enormous deal as a result of I used to have actually lengthy hair. Individuals in school had been already taking discover, however even I didn’t know what was happening, so I couldn’t reply any questions. I feel folks thought I used to be dying.

And for some time, docs didn’t know if I used to be. I used to be consistently leaving faculty for appointments and assessments, however nobody may work out what I had. They had been testing for critical issues like lupus and most cancers. This has been happening for 3 years, how may this be alopecia? It was by means of elimination that we got here to the conclusion it was, the truth is, alopecia. As soon as we reached that verdict, virtually all medical professionals had been speechless. Nobody had solutions. On the finish of the day, we solely understood this: Alopecia is an autoimmune illness with no identified trigger or treatment. So, there I used to be: Fifteen years previous with a prognosis and no answer.

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After all, I’m glad all of the assessments got here again unfavorable, however I hated wanting sick despite the fact that I actually wasn’t. That’s why I made a decision to shave my head. I used to be executed feeling like a sufferer, executed holding on to one thing I may not ever have once more.

Shaving was a strategy to take my management again from alopecia, and it felt good. My household and pals made an entire factor out of it (you’ll be able to watch the video on YouTube): We listened to Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson, my mother drank wine, and everybody took turns making an attempt on my new wig. It was a enjoyable approach of accepting the playing cards that I used to be dealt and transferring ahead with life. I used to be regaining management of one thing I let management me.

I used to be regaining management of one thing I let management me.

I began sporting a wig from there, which appears counterintuitive, however shaving was extra about transferring onto the following step. I liked my wigs, however they held me again in a number of methods. For starters, I prevented swimming just like the plague, which is an enormous deal in southern California the place I’m from, and I by no means went to Disneyland or Six Flags with my pals as a result of I clearly couldn’t go on curler coasters with my wig on. It stored me out of the social scene for a very long time.

I first began ditching my wig for sensible causes. When you’ve been to SoCal in the summertime, you’ll be able to think about why. Temperatures can attain 100-plus levels, and sporting a wig is loads like sporting a beanie: scorching. I additionally performed soccer and I promised myself I wouldn’t put on my wig on the sphere—it might intrude with my sport!—so I wore a hat as a substitute.

However even the hat didn’t keep on on a regular basis. I used to be enjoying goalie throughout a event within the desert my sophomore yr of highschool, and I threw my hat to the aspect and charged full-force on the ball. It was a kind of scary one-on-one moments between a goalie and striker, when you want to make the choice to both come out and meet your opponent within the 18-yard field or await her to make a shot. I definitely wasn’t ready, and I wasn’t going to let something cease me—least of all a silly beanie. I beat her there by a blade of grass, kicked the ball away, and turned the momentum of the sport in our favor. It was such a climactic second for the sport, for the weekend, and for me. It’s when it hit me that my hair—or lack thereof—ought to by no means maintain me again.

Soccer helped me in different methods: My teammates accepted me for who I used to be, they usually inspired me to turn into extra snug with myself. They made me understand that anybody who can’t settle for my alopecia doesn’t should be in my life.

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