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The Coveted Collection part 4: Hair

If you’ve been reading this blog series, you may be wondering if I was ever satisfied with anything about myself! I know right... it’s exhausting to think that nothing is right with you; that everything would be better if it was different somehow; that I should just be happy with the hand that I’ve been dealt in life. And maybe, the one thing that I did like about myself, at least by high school, was my hair. Now I went through the jheri curl phase in middle school but for high school, I needed to be different (lol.. maybe some things didn’t change) so I decided to get a perm (better known now as a relaxer). I always had a lot of hair, very thick, course but usually manageable hair, that would grow really long if I let it. And I’ve had long hair, short hair, braids, locs, a low fade, even a pretty much bald head over the years. Not to mention the colors, highlights, finger waves, buns, and all the other current hairstyles that came along in the 90s and early 2000s. It was great, and I loved it, I loved my hair. But I started noticing some thinning, particularly in one spot kinda left to the center of my head. It unnerved me a bit and eventually I went to a dermatologist who informed me that I had alopecia. She didn’t really make a big deal about it, didn’t really tell me about any future consequences, and suggested Rogaine as a possible resource. That was in 2004. By 2007, the quarter size spot had drastically increased in size, to the point that I was now using coloring my hair as a way to camouflage my hair loss rather than a fashion statement. By 2010, when I had my son, it had gotten even worse, with the spot not only getting larger but other areas of thinning and baldness appearing. I went to see another dermatologist, and this one shared that I had scarring alopecia, that it would get progressively worse, and that there was no cure. She mentioned cortisol shots (applied directly to my scalp) as a possible intervention, but they were painful, expensive, and not covered by insurance so I only tried it once. And to no avail; I was still balding. So I started my journey with crochet braids, sew ins, and now wigs. It was crazy because, over the years, so many people would ask me “why don’t you wear my own hair?”, and even when I’d say, I’m losing mine, they didn’t seem to grasp the full concept. Or understand my pain, or insecurity, or embarrassment, or feeling like less than a woman because I couldn’t, or didn’t feel comfortable, wearing my hair out. They didn’t seem to get how much I wish I could wear my hair freely, that I would longingly look at women with thick full hair and reminiscence about how that used to be me, and how desperately I want those days back. But, alas, it is what it is. I still try to hide it, but I am trying to get comfortable with what my hair looks like now, and what it may look like in a few years. Even though I am progressively balding, I find peace in the fact that the Lord knows the number of hairs that I have on my head, no matter how many, or few, that may be.

Be blessed, Dr. S #BeYourBestYou

Read earlier "Coveted Collection" posts:

Part 1: Whiteness

Part 2: Family

Part 3: Body Image

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