by Linda, Brisbane, Australia
After reading Rachel Mascord’s inspirational post, LOVE – falling in love with my own hair, I felt to write about my own experience.
I lost most of my hair several years ago with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Androgenic Alopecia. PCOS is a complex hormone disorder that may be defined by symptoms such as irregular or absent periods, acne, hair loss, hirsutism, insulin resistance (diabetes) and fertility issues. Women diagnosed with PCOS can present with a unique combination of symptoms at varying levels of severity.
Hair loss, among other symptoms, became a real issue for me, because it was painfully visible and there was nothing I could do to stop it. As a result, I now wear a hairpiece. For years I went through grief going to hairdressers where I found myself being stared at because of my baby fine hair and receding hairline. I felt like an alien. I guess what I presented was a woman’s (and man’s) worst nightmare.
To lose your hair is to lose your ‘crowning glory’. At least that’s how I felt.
Year by year, my hair continued to fall. It started at my forehead and receded backwards. This was easy enough to deal with as I could cover it with pretty scarves and leave my long locks flowing behind. Even my partner at the time said I could bring scarves back in fashion. Great idea! Then, one day, as I was standing in a dressing room trying on clothes, I caught a glimpse of the back of my head. To my horror, I noticed a large balding patch. The hair loss had crept back so far I could no longer cover it with a scarf. What now?! I remember I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry.
I became obsessed with hair. I dreamed about hair. I found myself gazing longingly at women in the street with flowing, shiny locks. I even admired women with the finest of fine hair – at least they didn’t have bald patches like me. I didn’t know where to turn, so I started searching the internet for options. There were wigs, custom pieces, and laser therapy, to name a few. It was very overwhelming, but the more I looked into it, it felt the best option for me at the time was a wig.
Eventually, I plucked up the courage to make an appointment for a wig fitting.
I had a lovely lady helping me. She was so supportive and she made me feel at ease. We went through various style options and colours and chose my new piece. But when I got the wig home, I tried it on and felt so deflated. I was so embarrassed to go out in public. I didn’t feel like me. It was too shiny, too thick – just wrong. I left it sitting in its bag for weeks.
With my university graduation looming, however, I knew I had to get used to it. I swallowed my pride and started to wear it for a little while each day, just around the house, then down the street, till I got used to it. It was hot, and sometimes a bit itchy, but eventually, I started to feel confident in it and the admiring gazes I received from men affirmed to me that it must have looked somewhat natural. I called my wig ‘Louisa’ after the character in Doc Martin. I did this because the style was similar to hers and I looked a bit like her when I wore it, but it also helped ease my discomfort by being playful.
But as much as I wanted to hide my hair loss, I had to face up to the truth. My body was telling me something about the way I was living was VERY wrong.
You see, I had amazingly thick and shiny hair as a teenager. My body was presenting to me a major hormonal imbalance. Anyone who has experienced polycystic ovary syndrome or any form of hormonal issue will understand that it’s often a complex condition to treat. Over the years, I have visited numerous doctors and specialists, including endocrinologists. I have also invested a huge amount of money in alternative therapies, including acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal medicine. To my disappointment, the hair loss gradually worsened. In fact, my condition left some doctors slightly baffled. Many times I was simply offered the Pill to regulate my cycle and counteract the excess androgens. But I was sceptical, and I knew in my heart that there was a better and more honouring way to heal.
Then, thanks to my partner, I discovered Universal Medicine and the Esoteric Developers Women’s Group.
I recall the first one or two Women’s Groups I attended, coming away feeling very frustrated. I didn’t understand the concept of simply ‘being’ beautiful or lovely. I would think to myself ‘hang on, all the women in the group have glorious hair, they’ve not been through the experience I have – of course they feel beautiful!’ But as I let my stubbornness (and arrogance) fall away, I began to open up to women in the group and something, ever so slowly, began to shift. I found that just being in their presence somehow enabled me to feel a sense of loveliness. I felt at ease. It didn’t seem to matter that I wore a wig, or how inexperienced I was with self-love – they accepted me and my truth.
I remember too, after my second round of wig shopping, which was at Bloomsbury’s in London, I wore my shiny new piece to a Universal Medicine event at Lennox Head. I approached Serge Benhayon to ask a question. He commented on my lovely hair, to which I immediately replied in defence ‘it’s not real’. His very loving response to me was simply this – ‘it doesn’t matter’. In that moment I felt the truth in those words. Suddenly my defences fell away. I truly felt that it didn’t matter. I am beautiful. Why did I feel that I was any less because I was wearing a wig?
Some might say that a wig is simply a cover up and a way of fitting in. Indeed, I have not yet plucked up the courage to shave my head. This is something for me to explore. Rachel’s article, for me, was a timely reminder how much emphasis we place on our looks and how desperately we try to fit in with society’s expectations. I have invested in wigs because part of me still wants so desperately to blend in, as if nothing has altered, as if I still have my crowning glory.
Ironically, this process has taught me one thing: my WIG is now my crowning glory. People often comment on my amazing hair – and I’ve learned not to defend it or make excuses, but just to smile and say ‘thank you’.
I FEEL beautiful – and that’s what counts.
And so continues my journey into self and self-love. I know I have a lot of healing to do, but if my story can help someone else, then it’s worth telling.
I always assumed that I had to heal myself and grow my hair back before I could help another. In a session I had with practitioner, Tamara Chilton, at Universal Medicine recently, she reminded me that I could be of service as I am right now. What ever made me think I had to grow my hair back before I could ‘come clean’? I’ve been so caught up in my own embarrassment surrounding hair loss and wigs that I let it hold me back from sharing. So here I present my first blog.
So thank you, wonderful ladies, for being open and thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story. It has reminded me how important it is to love who we are and embrace the hair we have – whether it is long, short, frizzy, fine, mousey – or a wig! Mine is a continually unfolding journey and my baby fine hair reminds me daily how much I lost touch with my self. I now look upon my experience as a gift, for it has brought me back to the truth. The Polycystic ovary syndrome has made me stop and review the dishonoring way in which I was living – and inspired me to treat myself more tenderly. I don’t stress about my hair so much these days.
Maybe my hair will grow back, maybe it won’t, and maybe it’s lovely just the way it is. I have a feeling I might call my next wig ‘Linda’.
A special thank you to the wonderful practitioners, and my GP, who have supported me so lovingly in my journey.