Posted on October 30 2017
I didn't start wearing wigs until about 7 years ago but the journey to get here started such a long time ago...
At the age of 7 my hair began to fall out. My family, concerned about what could possibly cause hair loss in someone so young took me to the doctor. That is the first time I heard the word Alopecia. My family didn't quite understand what that diagnosis meant so they tried everything they could to help hair growth. Unbeknownst to them, there was no cure.
Alopecia Strong - Photo Credit: Steven Tippet
To say that going through my elementary years was tough would be an understatement. The longing to be "Normal" and " Beautiful" in a society that makes those words feel like something unattainable and who have completely misconstrued what those words actually mean, was dark and lonely. I remember praying every night that I would wake up the next morning with a full head of hair only to wake up to the same thin hair that hung over bald spots. I would make my way to school hoping maybe this would be the day, somebody wouldn't call me "baldie" or ask " What's wrong with your hair?"
I learned to put on a strong face in front of others and to stay in defense mode. I was going to make sure that nobody knew how much their words actually cut me to the core. I was fortunate to have a wonderful family and a great group of friends who never made me feel different.
The summer before my first year in junior high, my aunt cut bangs in to my hair. This was a life changer. Bangs a life changer? Yes, It allowed me to pull the rest of my hair up and hide my spots! Although this was a wonderful thing for my appearance, it sent me in to a different place of hiding from the world. You see, unless you knew me before the bangs, you wouldn't have known I had alopecia. My hair definitely looked thinner than other girls but my spots were now hidden. So, although now I was able to face the world a little easier, I was now holding this little secret.
Mallory & Me. A young Alopecia warrior. Photo Credit: Steven Tippet
Learning to style my hair and hide the spots made my teenage and high school years smoother than my elementary years but inside I still felt so alone because I had this secret I didn't want anyone to know. Anytime someone would get too close or reach under my hair for any reason, I pulled away scared they may find out.
As I came in to woman hood, I met the most wonderful man. A man who when I finally got the nerve to share my secret after months of dating, said " I don't Love you because of your hair." Wow. Something I had always dreamed of but never thought was possible, was real. Someone who really loved me for who I was. I continued to style my hair in ways to cover my spots and as with Alopecia tends to do it started to get worse. I started to wear extensions and color in my spots to match the color of my hair to help create the illusion of hair but that eventually stopped working. I found myself in tears one day getting ready for work because I couldn't hide it anymore...
This is when I started to really consider Wigs. The thought scared me at first... Because like with most things society had engraved in my mind that they were something shameful or bad. I thought Everyone would know my little secret I'd worked so hard to hide. In my head I pictured costume wigs, itchy things that didn't resemble hair at all. Yet I found myself consulting with a lady who helped me choose my first wig... "Always" By Raquel Welch.
The feeling of putting on a wig for the first time is almost indescribable. To see yourself with a full head of hair when for so long it's been sparse is surreal. I can't tell you that the first time I went out in public with a wig was this amazing feeling, quite the contrary. I was filled with anxiety. I felt like everyone knew I was wearing a wig and that thought was scary and overwhelming to me at the time.
With time I grew more comfortable in wigs and educated myself on the different cap constructions and hair fibers. I experimented with different colors and styles. They give me confidence I NEVER had! The reflection I saw in the mirror, now matched who I felt I was on the inside.
For so long I had longed for one simple thing. I wanted to put my hair up in a ponytail. I had never been able to do that because if I had it would have revealed that I had no hair underneath. Wigs allowed me to do so. They gave me a new-found freedom! They helped build me up, from the outside in.
I can now boldly and proudly say, I am a wig wearer! I am 35 years old now and finally feel like I have the confidence and strength that EVERY woman deserves to have. I love changing my style to fit my mood.
I have dedicated my life to reaching girls and women. I want every woman to feel Beautiful and confident. I know with my whole heart that this is what I was created for. I now consider Alopecia one of my greatest gifts, because if it wasn't for my Alopecia journey I wouldn't have this deep passion to reach women.
To any woman or girl out there who finds herself on a hair loss journey for any reason. Know this :
You are not alone. You are absolutely beautiful. You were put on this earth on purpose with a purpose. Do not let what society says dictate your life. Live loud! Live bold!
If you find yourself considering a wig, do not be afraid. The simple act of putting the wig on will help you find yourself in a way you had never known.
" When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, " I used everything that you gave me."
- Erma Bombeck