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So at work yesterday I was being told about this Big meeting I had tomorrow, and I was being advised on how I need to wear official clothing because I can usually just go to the office wearing whatever. Lol, THEN I was told ‘you need to fix that thing on your head and find a way to put it down’ ( my fro). Was I offended? … Slightly , but hey, it’s going to take a while for Kenyans to realize that hair doesn’t make a person. So I straightened my hair, lol and I felt really silly.. It’s so wavy, and just …bleh. #iamnotmyhair #untouchmyhair #straighthair #lookssillyonme :D

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this is a rant

The second thing people say to me when we first meet is: You have such pretty hair. The first is a comment about my height.

The first conversation people want to have with me is usually about my race. what are you? where are you from? what are you mixed with?

I’ve always wondered why they ask this. What makes me look so different? Not my accent or my skin tone or my language or my mannerisms. 

it’s my stupid hair.

this has been going on for so long I felt inferior to my own hair. I felt a responsibility to keep it how everyone else wanted because I desperately wanted to be beautiful. 

So I’m cutting it. 

I demand that you look at me. I demand that you listen to my words, my laughter, and my anger. I demand that you recognize that I’m more than my hair and that without it I’m beautiful. 

this is a rant.

Me + Alopecia

This is a picture of me when I turned 25 years old. I celebrated life, as I usually do, feeling as though life couldn’t get anymore interesting. I had gone through a major breakup early that year, my mom had decided to stay in Ethiopia a little longer, and I had just moved to my own place. I had so many moving parts but didn’t realize that everything I was experiencing was a preparation to what’s to come.

Now at 27, I have accomplished one and half year of public health program at USF, have joined force with amazing advocates of the habehsa community and developed professionally and personally. However, what I wasn’t ready for was issues with my own health. 

Exactly a year ago, I was diagnosed with a cruel disease called alopecia. Alopecia is basically an autoimmune disorder that affects your hair follicle and causes your hair to fall out. I had and still have lots of hair but this hair loss business was not something I was not expecting at all. Additionally, there is no cure and you cannot control when it will appear. I wake up every morning praying that a new patch doesn’t appear or that I stop shedding hair. I am also self-conscious and working on empowering myself to flaunt all that I have.  It sounds horrible and every traumatic and it is; however, I am learning to take it day by day. I am focusing on self-love and appreciation for the good and bad. 

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I had gorgeous hair and was one of my strongest asset. And I know that I still have beautiful hair and it is my strongest asset along with my divine smile, strength, awesome organizational skills, and my ability to keep moving. The only thing different is that now I have a different story - a story that says you are not defined by your hair or physical attributes but more so what you can offer with what you have. 

I choose this picture because with or without my hair, you would have not recognized me. But you would have if you saw my face or the work I put in for the community. So - I am not my hair.