A couple of days ago, I shared a post on Pretty Bald Facebook linking to this article by Sarah Seward. In it, she describes her own experiences of hair loss and alopecia and the challenges she had coming to terms with it.
Like many of the personal stories that we have shared, there are many points raised by Sarah that I, and many like me will easily relate to. Expectations from society, negative reactions, and ultimately coming to terms with it are all included! As usually happens when I read something else on hairloss or alopecia, this blog has inspired a few more from me (which I'll write at some point over the next few weeks) but my first will focus on Sarah's analogy that we are WARRIORS...
In her write-up, Sarah makes the point...
"My hair continues to fall out in circular patches all over my head and starts to grow back on its own terms until it is ready to bid adieu again. My body is at a continuous war with itself. I repeatedly get sick, my lymph nodes in my armpits swell to the size of golf balls, I experience pain throughout my body and when my body inevitably surrenders, my hair soon departs. Alopecia is not only physical; it is a brutal, unrelenting mind game. I like to refer to those of us with Alopecia as warriors. We crawl out of our beds every morning to face the attacks our bodies will put us through and every single day we suffer the ignorance of our peers’ thoughtless and hurtful comments."
I have to say, when I read this, I LOVED this analogy; but I loved it and relate to it in a different way to how Sarah seems to. Where she talks about the battle with our bodies and the courage and warrior-behaviour it requires us mentally and physically, I have another relationship; one that Sarah does allude to too. We are warriors because we are survivors; we are warriors because we challenge expectations and prevail. Sounds a bit cliché and possibly even a little twee I know, however for me, our battle extends beyond the everyday personal and individual challenges of our bodies to the wider ones too - the lack of awareness of alopecia, the lack of understanding, the lack of solid research, the feelings of isolation and loneliness - I could go on! It is this that makes us warriors, and you only have to look at the inspiring stories of other alopecians to see what an army we make!
What I should add is that I don't see us as the only warriors - every person battling with something difficult is their own warrior and I won't diminish that. What we must ensure is that we remember we are worthy warriors too!
More will follow on Sarah's post - thanks go to her; it was a good one!