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To the Girl Losing Her Hair

I have always had a hard time saying it out loud. I’ve been gradually losing my hair for years.

Part of me felt vain for admitting it bothered me. I thought I should be stronger. After all, beauty eventually fades for everyone, so why should it matter that it escaped me a little earlier than everyone else?

I realized thinking that way was my first mistake. It’s OK to be upset about losing my hair. It’s OK to wish things were different. It’s OK to fight against it. But it’s not OK to say that losing my hair makes me less beautiful. And looking back, I’ve learned a lot through struggling with the insecurity. I’ve realized that having less hair doesn’t define me. It’s something I deal with, but it’s not who I am.

I know — if you have lost or you are losing your hair, you’ve probably heard it before. It may not give you a whole lot of comfort when the only thing we really wish for is just a little more hair. Maybe you want to look in the mirror and not be afraid of what you’ll see. Maybe you want to run your fingers through your hair without worrying about the damage it might leave behind. Maybe you want someone to look at you and not notice the difference that feels so obvious.

You and I and so many others are connected through the thing we’ve lost. Some of us lose our hair over time. Others lose it all at once. But we are all losing a piece of ourselves in the process.

The good news is that even if your hair never grows back, you can. You can bounce back and be better than ever. Sometimes accepting that the waiting will never produce the result we want is the first step towards moving forward and becoming the person we were always supposed to be. With or without our natural hair.

No one in your social circles may be able to understand the panic or grief you’ve experienced through losing your hair. They may never know how it feels to be afraid of what sickness could steal from you. They may not know what it’s like to feel as if you’re constantly hiding or wondering if anyone can still love a girl without her hair. But that doesn’t mean you are alone. You definitely are not alone. The fact that you may not be able to spot the rest of us in a crowd I hope gives you assurance that this isn’t a life sentence of “un-beauty.” In fact, it may just be the reverse. You might be able to see a little more clearly how beautiful you really are.

When we all subtract the things on the outside, what do we have left? If there isn’t anything, then maybe we aren’t good friends, sweet daughters, partner-in-crime sisters, or precious young women with ideas, interests, talents, goals and opportunities. If none of us were more than our outside appearance, I believe we’d all be ruined.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. Spending money on wigs and hats or over-priced hair products to maximize what we’ve got isn’t a waste. It’s an investment in you and your confidence. But I believe it’s also important to remember, your beauty is not dependent on how much hair you have. Find people who understand that, and you can never be short on love. I believe the people who matter most in your life will let you show them your hairless or less-hair self and not run. I believe they will gather around and cheer you on as you pursue your dreams.

You can do this, sister. Nothing can take away the most beautiful aspects of who you are. Nothing can steal your beauty. Not even the hair that leaves us behind. It may be hard at times, but there is hope. We’ll get through this. And you will captivate the world with your loveliness.

black and white photo of girl on couch

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