living with alopecia

been using these 3 Aphogee products since July & i cannot begin to explain how they have helped my hair to grow back. they were just lingering bottles from 2 years ago in one of my bathroom cabinets & i really wasn’t impressed with them initially, when i had hair. so i didn’t really expect much when i lugged the shampoo out; just needed something to clean my scalp & patches.
2 weeks later, my hair was filling in & growing noticeably overnight…& when i ran out, i bought more.
the shampoo & restructurizer run about $8 a bottle & the treatment, which is not a daily treatment & must be followed exactly as the directions say, is around $24. i bought them all at Sally’s.
i know not everything works for everyone but this seems to be working for me(although with alopecia, it can be thriving today & gone the next day).
so maybe you have some tucked away or maybe you need to go to Sally’s or maybe you are bored with your hair products…maybe you should try it.
just saying.
carry on, alopecians :)

4

[Four images: 1- a 20 something white woman with alopecia smiles into the camera with lots of trees in the background. 2- same woman and her partner look super cute together. 3- same woman and her friend sit side by side on a grassy hill. 4- same woman on a hike with trees and the ocean in the background.]

Happy International Alopecia Day 2013! I decided to take pictures of bald people (ok, maybe just one person, myself) enjoying life.

1-Me loving Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

2-My partner and I showing that people with alopecia can have loving and meaningful relationships.

3-My wonderful friend and I showing that some people with alopecia look like they have a full head of hair and others don’t!

4-Some people with alopecia go on gorgeous hikes!

To simply exist in a world that wants denies your existence is radical.  There are so many people who can only imagine baldness being a result of chemotherapy, so they assume I have cancer without ever giving me the opportunity to explain my identity.

I envision living in a world where I can choose to explain my identity to others if I desire, and where I do not feel forced to explain it because people make assumptions about my identity based off my appearance. 

it’s sometimes so hard explaining alopecia to people…
i spent 5 minutes of good breath arguing with a broad the other day about what caused it, when the fact of the matter is that alopecia can be caused by anything, everything and nothing.
i used to dye my hair Manic Panic Purple Haze before this happened. this dumb broad’s claim is that’s what brought my alopecia on.
Manic Panic is made with vegetable dyes and is all vegan. kids use it. it washes out within a week. i used to put it on my natural hair, unbleached and unprocessed. my hair was in excellent condition.
i finally gave up trying to defend Manic Panic and just shut up. i could’ve revealed the shitstorm of personal events i endured in the months before my hair began rapidly falling out but it’s not my style to trade intimate details of myself to others to prove a point.
people are going to believe what they want anyway. they know no more than the dermatologists do…

hello, alopecians. just wanted to share something w/ all you lovelies…
i buzzed it off again back in the middle of may & at first i wondered why i did it. i was making some progress in some spots & buzzing it back off seemed to make the patches shift around.
probably like a lot of you guys, i had a bunch of leftover shampoos & hair products. so i started using some, just to see if anything would happen(hell, since there’s no cure, what do i have to lose?my hair?pffft…)
anyhoooo, i’ve been using Aphogee shampoo for damaged hair, which is protein-based & ph balanced. after i towel dry my “ghost" hair(anybody know what ghost hair is?), i spray Aphogee’s keratin & green tea restructurizer on it & kinda massage it in. i have been doing this every day for over 3 weeks, & something is working, seriously.
i have a particular big patch that has always hung out on the right side in the very front that has been getting smaller & smaller. the bald behind my ears is beginning to fill in. i still have plenty of lil patches throughout but since the rest is growing fairly fast, it’s beginning to cover those up.
i’m trying not to be but so happy about all this, because i know alopecia can come & go. but still, i do want to share it w/ you in case it can help you, too :)
&, incidentally, when i had hair, i was disapppointed w/ Aphogee. it made my hair brittle & stiff, from the protein in it. same w/ the keratin & green tea. but, as i have researched on alopecia, green tea is supposedly a great stimulant for hair regrowth & hair is basically keratin & protein. so, perhaps these products are beneficial to us, the alopecians.
just wanted to share. chin up.

it's just hair...

my hair began falling out something fierce back in January…
like, not “oh, it’s winter; just some seasonal shedding.”
try, “hello, Karma; i’ve been waiting…”
try fear of showers, a thing i normally relish, due to having to clean the hair clogs in the drain up to 5 times every time & prematurely bail on my shower time in order to not lose any more hair.
try a basin full of hair every morning as i tried to flat iron it.
try bizarre thinning behind my ears & nickle-sized spots throughout, as smooth as your baby’s rump, w/ no signs that hair follicles ever existed there.
try denial by slapping toboggans & hats on my head.
try trippy sensations of cold & numb spots running from my neck up to my temples.
try sitting at my kitchen table gently running my fingers through the remains & laying the hairs caught in my fingers on a small plate to collect w/ the baggies of hair from my shower & basin.
progressively, it got worse & as it got worse, the worse i was. i sat at my table & boohooed & felt sorry for myself. why would God do this to me? think i’ll take up binge drinking & self-loathing.
waaaaah.
this went on for 3 weeks.
& then, on the way home from work in a major snowstorm, i stopped at Walgreens for a 6-pack of Yuengling & some clippers.
i have not shed a tear since.
being in that mirror, naked like that(& yes, totally naked, because there was a lot of hair & i was directly getting in the shower, but naked in the sense of the soul), i saw myself, raw & unfiltered. just a human. my hair was never my indentity. it was never what defined me.
what defined me was looking me eye to eye in the mirror. & it said, “you’re still classy & beautiful, bitch; roll w/ it.”
so i have.
since January 17th i have:
*worn toboggans or head wraps every day to work.
*had my dear ol’ mama buzz my head 3 times.
* been to the dermatologist & diagnosed w/ alopecia areata.
*prescribed a topical steroid, which produced very fine hairs that fell out.
*taken the herbal path & have been using essential oils, which DO help.
*felt no insecurities towards other women. in fact, i have to remind myself at times that i don’t have any hair.
this all has made me step back considerably as a woman, as a human being, & LOOK at how we place such stigma on things like hair & physical attributes. beauty plays such a key role in life…
& my mama, she said as she was buzzing my head one afternoon, “good thing you aren’t dating right now…”
pffft.
i would not want to be w/ anyone who could not see the reality set before him. i am patchy yet beeyooteefull. so i am still a lil weird about going out there in society as is; i make a t-shirt into a lovely headwrap/do-rag on a daily basis & rock that shit like no other.
if anyone else is struggling w/ alopecia, chin up. it’s just HAIR. it does not define you, make you or take away from you. yes, it’s a definite, infinite struggle. but for myself, if Miss Karma is reeking havoc upon me, i am grateful…
it could always be worse.

ALOPECIA MOMENTS

The next thing I’m working on (and this, I think, will be a continuous project) is to collect anecdotes and the little incidents that happen daily for people living with alopecia. The things people say and do (well intended or not), and the random things you encounter that affect you differently because you have alopecia. 

If you have any of these stories, please send them along! Or submit them! 

XOXO

my brother’s girlfriend was trying to “relate” the other day. she has long, beautiful brown hair and she was trying to locate a “patch” she has.
she couldn’t find it so she had to get up and go to the bathroom to search in the mirror.
i waited patiently.
she came back with her finger over it. “see?”
i pretended to see a tiny little area that was thinning, most likely because she’s 50 and well, hair thins as you get older.
“you aren’t the only one,” she said triumphantly.
*sigh*
you’re right, bitch. i’m not the only one. my tumblr is filled with heartbreaking stories and images of all ages, ranging from spots to complete baldness all over. let me take a picture of your relatable, dime-sized place that is missing a few hairs that you couldn’t find without a mirror. you’re in the club now.
THE NERVE…