Written by Fern Clark
When I was ten I became extremely sick and nobody could figure out what was wrong. They still can’t.
I felt horrible every single day of my life and I cried all the time. I suffered through headaches, abdominal pain, sores and infections on a regular basis. I began to not remember what it was like to be well.
After visiting fifteen medical specialists and naturopaths they each wrote me off, telling me that it was in my head and then referring me to another person.
I didn't look sick and that is partly why no one believed me.
I didn’t look sick, except that one strange patch of hair that had fallen out.
I didn’t mind my bald patch too much. I didn’t tell anyone and it was easy to hide. It was annoying and I had to change where I parted my hair, but it was ok. Until it got worse.
After a few years of having various bald patches come and go my hair suddenly started falling out in chunks. It was untamable and dying. My scalp burned. The patches were getting impossible to hide. There was more hair in my hands than on my head.
All my life I had taken so much pride in my hair. My hair was beautiful. It was gold with ringlet curls. It was my defining feature. It was my security. It was me.
Nobody knew why my hair was falling out. No treatments worked or even helped a bit. I started losing hope that it was going to grow back.
So, despite the love I had for my hair, there came a point where I started to imagine myself without hair at all.
And then I shaved my head.
The day I shaved my remaining hair off was a nightmare. I was numb and angry and absolutely terrified. It was the one thing that I had that I loved and it was being taken from me. I screamed and cried out in anguish for what I knew I had to do. Because I didn’t really have a choice. And my identity was being stolen.
But when it was done my scalp was smooth. I smiled and even laughed. And I looked at myself in a mirror and I thought it was beautiful. I was so proud of what I did.
Being bald made me feel really brave. It was one thing that I overcame that nobody else around had had to do. I was unique and gained admiration and respect from every corner of my world. People were so kind to me and I felts loved.
Whether a friend, a family member or a complete stranger, people are good. They lifted me up from my worst, complimented me, told me that I was beautiful, that I inspired them. Yet, I could receive an abundance of compliments on my body and I would never believe them. Although every time I was told that I was brave, that I had inspired them, I felt so worthy. I realized that I could inspire an individual just by being myself and accepting who I had become. That took me to the realization that your body is amazing but your story is beautiful. You are beautiful BECAUSE of your circumstances, because of your hardships. It’s your story that is admiring.
Beautiful friend, you can do hard things, and you are so, so worthy.