Why I went BALD! Losing all my hair and learning to love myself regardless.
As a young girl, I had beautiful long kinky 4c hair. Unfortunately, I didn't always see it that way. As a black girl growing up in predominately white environments it became difficult to love the beautiful things about myself that made me so different. My hair especially. By the age of 9, I was used to my friends telling me I would look so nice if I would just make my hair straight like theirs. I would run home to my mother and cry because there was no way I could possibly achieve that silky straight hair. My hair grew up instead of down and was the topic of many conversations and the punchline to a lot of really mean jokes. Names like spider head, medusa, and ratchet echo'd through the hallways and back in my ears every day again as I looked in the mirror. I remember yelling at my mother in frustration one day saying "I wish I was bald!"
"Be careful what you wish for Maya. One day you'll appreciate this hair."
She sure was right about that.
I was in the sixth grade the first time I experienced hair loss. It was as if my hair had just disappeared on it's own. I was heartbroken. From the back of my head to the left side of my head I had balding. I covered it up with headbands until it eventually grew back. The doctors said that it was because of my anxiety. Some days I wish I could go back in time and tell them that the issue wasn't me but the way I was being treated that caused me this much stress.
My hair grew back but sadly so did my insecurities. Once I reached middle school we began to perm my hair. For the next 8 years I would damage my hair with chemicals on top of chemicals to cover what I was already blessed with in hopes of being acceptable. Until one day I decided I didn't want to be society's beautiful, I wanted to be the beautiful that God created me to be NATURALLY!
I remember the day I cut off my perm ends, looked myself in the mirror with a smile and finally felt like Maya again. I was so happy. For the next two years I grew my natural hair back to a beautiful length! It was the longest I had ever seen my hair in maybe 10 years. Then one day everything changed.
I had my hair in a protective style as I usually do when I reached to the back of my hair and felt a bit more space between my braids than usual. I took out my braids to do a treatment and sure enough I had found a great big bald spot in the back of my head. In a panic I began to wash my hair and suddenly it all began to fall out in large clumps. I broke down in tears. Why would God let this happen? How could this happen? Why can't I just be beautiful like everyone else?
That's when I realized something. For my whole life I was taught and believed that beauty could only be associated with hair. The more I thought about it the more ridiculous it was. As women we're pushed to shave in all the right areas and grow beautiful hair in others and for what? The approval of others? Hair at the end of the day is just that, HAIR! I am beautiful with or without it and anyone who disagrees isn't worth the time anyways!
I picked up my phone and I contacted a friend of mine who is a barber and booked an appointment. The next day I cut off my hair. YUP ALL GONE!
and guess what else...
I loved every single moment of it!
We still aren't sure what is causing the hair loss and to be honest I'm not sure if I will ever be able to have long hair again. At the same time I have peace, because now without or without my hair this journey has taught me to love myself for who I am and not what I look like.
I hope this encourages someone else on their journey too. Sometimes life throws curveballs and everything feels like it's falling apart trust me I know. Don't give up! Learn what you need to learn from your experiences, apply it to your life, and then move on! Whatever you are going through, use it to build you up! Don't let it knock you down.