Sunday, 26 July 2015

Glasgow is a go...!

You may or may not have spotted my ramblings about Glasgow last week, highlighting my excitement at the prospect of a potential trip and asking you to keep your fingers crossed!

Well this is a very brief Sunday update for you, to let you know that I got the call today to say it will be going ahead! Yippee and thanks to all your lovelies for keeping everything crossed.

Unfortunately, I still can't reveal what is happening, and may not be able to for a while, but I can tell you it will be great awareness AND there's a great fundraising opportunity for Alopecia UK to boot! What could be better?

I promise I will keep you updated and share what I can, when I can!

Victoria x

Friday, 24 July 2015

Neighbours; everybody needs good Neighbours...

When I initially lost my hair, my default solution was a wig; I wanted one and I wanted one now! It was all about keeping my hairloss hidden, both from myself and from other people.

Over time, that attitude changed. I came to love myself, bald head and all, and the accepting response from friends and family made that all easier. Gradually, step-by-step, I got used to going around bald. First at the Alopecia UK Liverpool Flashmob, then at a Spa with my mum; step-by-step, balder and balder (see what I did there).

What this has culminated in is a 'totally what I feel like' approach to being bald. If I'm in the mood for a wig, or it compliments my outfit, then a wig I shall wear. If it's hot or I'm relaxed or perhaps just in the mood, then I don't wear a wig.

Before now, regardless of the mood, I always took a wig with me; partly out of habit, partly out of the desire for flexibility - much the same as if I'm wearing heels, you'll always find flip flops in my bag. Over the last few months, I have entered a new phase; where before I left the house on a bald day with a wig tucked in my bag, now I've taken to leaving without one at all, in part to save the condition of my wigs.

For me, meeting people bald falls into one of two categories:

  • Category A is meeting people in a fixed capacity for a period of time; I have the opportunity to explain to people, answer questions, stem querying looks and correct inaccuracies. For me, this is part of the educational and awareness approach I take to my hairloss and leaves people clear on the causes of it.
  • Category B represents situations where a meeting is transient or fleeting. The parcel delivery man at the door, someone who walks past me, other spa users - anyone I am unlikely to see ever again.
Over the last couple of months as my confidence has grown and I've left the house with no wig at all, I've come to the realisation that my neighbours fit into neither of these categories. I am on talking terms with my neighbours and they are actually really lovely, but at the same time, we have passing chats about recycling, parking and other neighbourly pursuits, not the in-depth discussions shared with friends! At this stage, not one of my neighbours has seen me bald; not because I covertly leave the house under cover and refuse to expose my head, but because as I've been leaving the house without a wig on, they just haven't been there! 

This morning, I looked like a madwoman; I left the house without a wig, hunched to avoid the rain, juggling all manner of bits and bobs in my hands and most oddly with a piece of toast and peanut butter shoved unceremoniously between my lips that I was trying to eat without hands. I leave my driveway and step onto the pavement not really concentrating and nearly bump into a smart young man in a suit, clutching an umbrella. He immediately apologises and I try to make a muffled apology through my slice of toast. Naturally, he does a double-take, although at the toast or the baldness I am not sure, his eyes lower and he hurries past me, clearly uncomfortable. I'm going to go with the baldness here.

To be honest, I'm not bothered, but what it has done is cause some of my original guilt to resurface. This man does not fit into Category A where I have dutifully explained my condition, but nor does he fit into Category B and I'll never see him again. Nope, instead I am at the centre of a situation where my neighbour from a few doors down, probably now thinks I have cancer, or potentially just thinks I am a mad-bald woman! Either way, it isn't an ideal solution and short of hunting him down and knocking on the door, it's a situation I am stuck with. In fact, highlighting the issue and trying to force a discussion could very much make it worse, so now it's just a situation I am stuck with! I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough though!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Don't forget Factor 30 SPF sun cream...

I first appreciated the need for a high-factor sun cream last year during the photo shoot for the Pretty Bald Calendar, as did every other lady on the shoot for that matter! We're all pretty intelligent, we all bought sun cream with us, yet in the excitement and nerves of being nude, outside in the middle of June, we all forgot to apply any at all! A major error on a warm summer day in June! The result? A series of heavily burned, red scalps, similar in colour to a tomato, later to peel in large patches as we all lamented our lack of caution! 

I know I'm stating the obvious, but the more regular sun-exposure your skin gets, the more its own Melanin protection kicks in, lightly tanning the skin and preventing serious burns. As you'd expect, your scalp, which has likely spent many years covered in a thick mop of hair, it is a little more sensitive than most, particularly if you opt for regular wig wear too! Obviously the longer you've been without hair and the more it sees small doses of the sun, the less sensitive it becomes, but that does not mean it'll ever have the tolerance of the rest of your skin.

What this means is a need to select and regularly apply a sun cream with a good SPF. Ideally you should buy a new one each year to ensure it is still functional and useable and you should use it on your face, scalp and body. In fact, if your hairloss is the result of either Alopecia or Chemotherapy, then the body's own abilities to protect itself will be diminished and you are likely to need a higher factor than before, plus to apply it more regularly. Your body's natural defences will change and in many cases lessen, so the need for Factor 30 on your whole body will be higher.

One final point to make as I sit here in the garden enjoying the gorgeous weather, you can burn your scalp through wigs; granted it isn't significantly likely, but it does happen. It will of course depend on the design of the cap, but thin, flexible and uber-natural lace can be incredibly thin and if your parting used to burn before you lost your hair, it is likely to burn through lace too! 

I'm not trying to patronise you with this post; merely encouraging you to learn from my own lesson - sunburn on the scalp is the single most painful sun damage I've done and even sleeping on a pillow is excruciating! 

Happy sunbathing!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Monday, 20 July 2015

Enjoying mum's new convertible...

'How does it feel to become a middle-age stereotype' my brother asked my mum as she entered the driveway with her new BMW convertible. 'Fantastic' she replied without hesitation! Later that day, my brother understood exactly what she meant as they soared along the motorway with the top down...!

I on the other hand had a slightly more reserved consideration. There are times when I opt for a wig as a mainstay to my outfit. Meetings with potential or new clients, times where it simply matches my outfit and moments when I don't have sun cream to hand and require additional protection. All of these factors left me with one mild worry - how would my wig fare in a top-down convertible?!

In my mind, I had visions of travelling with the top down, minding my own business, then watching in horror as my wig behaved like a flying squirrel, to land on the windscreen of the following car! A few months ago, you may have spotted my post on wigs in the wind, putting it to the test in gale force gusts (video below) so what's my worry about  being in a car with the top down? Well it's simple - unlike blustery weather, the breeze generated by a car is constant - it is a constant speed in a constant direction, not letting up for anything. I was worried that the constant pressure would be too much on the wig, on the fitting and off it would go.

There was only one thing for it; to put my trusty Codi to the test and see how it fares...

Watch the video below to find out what happened!

With the top-down:

Earlier this year on a blustery day:

Just to say, this video is shot with a Codi synthetic wig, properly adjusted with zero glue or tape. I would have proved these factors, but I didn't trust myself in a moving car!

Anyone else put their wig to the test with the top down?

Victoria x

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Hair Regrowth in Sunshine; an update from yesterday's post...

So yesterday, I posted an update about the strange link between sunshine and hair regrowth...

Almost immediately after I had posted it, the lovely Angie Reilly responded on Twitter and said:
First off, see I told you it wasn't just me. Second, a good conversation ensued and Angie made an couple of excellent points.

Her first was that Alopecia couldn't be linked to Vitamin D / sunshine, otherwise there would be no Alopecia in hot countries:
Her second was the confirmation that like mine and many others, the initial hair regrowth is blonde / white, which apparently is completely 'normal' (for want of a better word.
I just wanted to share this with you, both so that you can see I'm not the only one, and also because I love these kind of conversations on Twitter!

Happy Sunday!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Saturday, 18 July 2015

My very own solar panel...

There's hugely conflicting information out there about suncare; from the assertion we need SPF protection year-round to the news that there's a growing trend of Vitamin D Deficiency because we're too diligently avoiding the sun! 

I'm neither a scientist nor a skin cancer specialist, but one thing I believe is that the old adage 'everything in moderation' is probably very apt - we need some sun to keep our bones healthy, our body balanced and our immune system on course, but literally cooking our skin cannot be good for us, no matter what some people say to themselves.

Since losing my hair, I've had little, if any hair regrowth; last summer however something happened. Myself and a couple of others I know with Alopecia Universalis started to see small amounts of downy regrowth on our scalps. Not much, but a little and it was noticeable enough that we each commented on it and then discussed it in detail. There were a few things in common; the hair grew in patches, the shafts were soft, downy and blonde and none of us had experienced noticeable regrowth since we'd lost it fully. What's more, in each case, the growth was finite; the hairs themselves didn't get any longer and the patches didn't get any bigger. To this day, none of us are sure what was so special about last summer!

At the end of the summer, we all lost the hair again and other than the odd shaft I've not seen any regrowth. Again this year, I've been back out in the sun, and low and behold, I'm regaining the same patches, only this time they're coming back brown! The only difference is that where last year direct sunlight on my scalp was few and far between, this year, I've been walking my dogs every morning completely bareheaded.

What the sun gives you is a little endorphins, a dose of Vitamin D (which in turns helps the absorption of calcium) and probably more than a little bit of relaxation. Potentially, just one of these things (or maybe all of them combined) is supporting the follicular regrowth in each case.

As you've probably gathered by now, I am not actively pursuing hair regrowth; I'm happy bald, I like and enjoy it, and pining for it to come back seems a waste of energy, mental capacity and a whole heap too much worrying! Still, I do find any sign of regrowth interesting and do like to research what could be causing it.

Something that has come up consistently when discussing general health with other alopecia sufferers is a Vitamin D deficiency; I have suffered from it and have met a high number of others that have too. Perhaps the sunlight is upping my natural levels of Vitamin D and allowing my body space to heal a bit?! Unfortunately, despite the obvious commonalities, the tests by the Doctor following my hairloss did reveal a Vitamin D deficiency, yet plenty of sunlight and Vitamin D supplements for seven months reverted my levels to the high-end of normal, yet there was no regrowth at all. Similarly, at the end of a holiday in the sun, my hair hasn't shown sign of regrowing, despite the sun and relaxation.

At the end of it all, there seems to be nothing definitive about either my behaviour or environment which is clearly linked to this random regrowth and shedding; nothing I can pass on for people to try out! In the meantime, I like to think of my bald head as my very own solar panel; gaining a little extra sun exposure in small doses, and helping the natural production of Vitamin D which maintains natural levels and keeps me healthy!

Anyone else notice any summer regrowth?

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Friday, 17 July 2015

Hairloss Side Effects: Blackheads...

This is not something I would EVER have expected to deal with when I was first losing my hair, but body blackheads have become a reality for me and a few others I know...

I've always had oily skin and blackheads on my face have been a constant battle! They've been kept in check though by a good cleansing routine and a facial once in a while, keeping my skin relatively clear. Roll forward to Alopecia however and they've spread, not because of oily skin, simply because of extra opportunity. In fact, as part of my Alopecia, my immune system also attacks and affects my skin and nails, and has dried my skin right out, leaving me frantically moisturising rather than trying to neutralise excess oil!

Anyway, as normal I digress - back to the kind of gross topic of my blackheads! (Sorry folks)...

At the top of my arms, my skin is no longer silky smooth as it should be, but instead is rough to the touch with lots of little tiny blackheads putting in an appearance. When I first noticed this, a few months after my body hair fell out, I was wearing a long, curly, synthetic wig; I assumed that the synthetic fibres were retaining dirt and grease and this was blocking the pores in my skin. I exfoliated regularly which helped stay on top of them and I took to washing my wigs more regularly. It didn't help. A switch to a short wig (my favourite bob) which doesn't even skim my shoulders and it soon put paid to that theory.

That of course triggered some research and what I found was really interesting; contrary to my belief that these were normal blackheads, they weren't. Where normal blackheads are a result of high-levels of sebaceous excretion which block the pores, the 'blackheads' on my arms are in fact blocked hair follicles. Normally, the hair shaft grows from the follicle and as it does, the sebaceous glands produce a lubricant, helping the hair to grow out; as no hair grows anymore, the dirt and debris is not pushed out of the follicle and so it blocks, leaving a small blackhead and a rough texture.

Now, it isn't all bad though, a good pair of exfoliating gloves gets rid of the problem fairly quick, certainly far quicker than an actual blackhead. It's the exact reason that you need to regularly scrub or at least cleanse your body, as well as your bare scalp, helping ensure you're doing the work that your hair would normally do!

Anyone else have this problem?

Not to be too gross, but I did try to take a picture to show you what I mean (I'll be exfoliating tomorrow), but they're way too tiny to see on a camera. I guess that does put things in perspective and highlight how little effect they actually have - it's more that the rough texture annoys me and seeing them when I peer ultra closely!

That's it for now!

Victoria x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Packing / Suitcases

Once upon a time, I used to be a terrible packer, squeezing in everything I could in fear that I would forget something! Then I grew up and become far more blasé, turning into a last minute, late packer with a more casual 'oh well' attitude to the idea of forgetting something - I can always buy it nearby...

Along came alopecia and my packing style changed again; granted, I'm still last minute and I still pack fairly light in terms of quantity of clothes, yet somehow, the average size of my suitcase has doubled! Why I hear you ask? Simply because of my wigs!

As you've probably gathered by now, my wigs are an accessory rather than a necessity, something to enhance my look or outfit, rather than something I NEED to wear. Each person will be different here, but one thing is certain - whatever the reason for wearing wigs, I won't go on holiday without them, in just the same way I won't leave without flip flops, sunglasses or handbags. I want the flexibility of wearing a long sundress with a curly wig, then a pair or shorts and strappy top with a bob. What's more, there's a sun protection angle too - without hair, only kiddie's hats are a good fit on my head (and tend to have some off-putting childish design or feature) leaving me with a very real need for wigs in the sun! Yes, my scalp does get some sun exposure, but it's sensitive too, so can't handle too much!

Anyway, back to the suitcase - the addition of a protective box, along with a portable wig stand, tangle tamer, several wigs and all the associated paraphernalia, and my suitcase has gone from small and neat to big and bulky. My boyfriend moans about it - I look like the woman that can't pack light - I crash it into everything, and it takes up just that bit more space in the boot! It also means I'm lugging a big bag around alongside other people's neat ones (just like at the hen party) and I find it pretty annoying!

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is going to change this - I've bought the smallest items I can. pack them as neatly as possible, but short of finding a replacement / suitable hat and making a huge decision to spend an entire holiday bald, there's not much choice left!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Tuesday, 14 July 2015


Sometimes in life, I become attached to an idea or sentiment which I like and which I just cannot get out of my head! Every once in a while, that same idea relates to me and my bald head... You can see where I am going with this!

Anyway, as you may have noticed from my 'Sorry I've been absent' post, life has been pretty busy, one activity which has been drawing my attention has been a 'surprise' redecoration of my parents living room, while my mum was on holiday. As an aside, the '60-minute makeover' I had in my head turned into a two-week one and my mum was 'surprised' by a half-decorated room, but as I keep telling her, it is the thought that counts! It's nearly done now, but I grossly underestimated the time frame!

Anyway, I digress! Back to it!

Picture this, there I am balanced on a ladder in paint splattered clothes, trying to neatly 'cut-in' a bright turquoise for the feature wall, next to a brilliant white wall and a brilliant white ceiling. Much as I want them to be skills of mine, both neat edges and the ability to balance on a ladder sometimes elude me, leaving me with a pristine vision and a slightly less than perfect reality.

As I step onto the top rung of the ladder, it feels a little high and whilst I'm pretty happy up there at the top, I know in reality, I'm likely to stretch just that little bit too far and end up on the floor! Anyway, there I am painstakingly painting a thick teal line and I notice, my head is naturally resting against the ceiling, acting as a stabiliser for me up on my new perch.

I didn't think too much about it then, but two days later I met up with a friend who has a baby, and during dinner time, I had a handful of some tomato-based purée chucked in my general direction, much of it landing around my face and head. I laughed and so did she and then I casually wiped the concoction off my cranium. At this point, my friend looked at me with a SLIGHT glint of envy and said "God that's so easy. You're like the perfect human - baby-proof and wipe-clean without the hassle of a shower and shampoo". I have to say I could not stop laughing! The idea that my head has a better baby-proof 'design' than a normal one, simply because I'm hair and hassle-free! Perhaps if you look at the bottom of my foot or on one bum cheek, I'll have a little tiny label which says "Wipe-clean and machine-washable; do not tumbledry".

I know this is random, but since then, I've been seeing this as an advantage here, there and everywhere - from a lack of paint in my hair to my natural baby-proofing, there are also advantages at a mud-run, in the rain, out gardening and I'm sure many others too! I wanted to share this post with you not because it is in any way serious, but because it tickled me and I hope it will tickle you too!

I'd love your suggestions on your 'wipe-clean' situations, so please feel free to share them with me!

Victoria x

Monday, 13 July 2015

Fingers crossed for Glasgow...

Other than a holiday, I never thought I'd get the opportunity to go to Glasgow! Oh I'm sure I'd get there at some point, but with Norway, Iceland, Scicily and Croatia just a few on my travel wish list, it was unlikely to happen anytime soon!

That is, until I got an email from the talented Author Sue Hampton, passionate activist and campaigner for Alopecia awareness. Sue is also a trustee for Alopecia UK and you'll often see her sporting zany trousers and huge earrings at one of their events!

Now at the moment, the contents of the email and the reason for a potential trip to Glasgow must remain Top Secret! Needless to say though, if it comes off, it will be great nationwide awareness for Alopecia and there'll be a fundraising opportunity for Alopecia UK to boot too!

I hate not being able to share it with you, but equally I don't want to and can't give it away, but right now, what I really need is for everyone to keep everything crossed that we'll make it to Glasgow!

In the meantime, you might enjoy this post about raising awareness and as soon as I can reveal all, I promise I will! 

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Handling a hen party...

First, I need to thank you for your patience and apologise for being so absent! I've had some lovely emails while I've been away and have enjoyed what people have shared!

As you may have seen in my 'I'll be back soon' post, I've been to all four corners of the UK and have been doing all sorts of things! One of those was a hen party for a lovely lady who I dub my 'Sister' although we aren't related and who I will be a bridesmaid for later this year. As often happens when you don't live close together, I know very few (actually just two) of her friends and so I was embarking on a weekend away with lots of ladies I don't know, haven't met and won't see again until the wedding.

Like me, my friend Meg is very open and so when I appeared in Cosmopolitan, she proudly flashed it around, showing her friends and telling them about me! I was very touched, but what it did mean was that they had an expectation of me, and I had none about them. For the second time this year, I got into my car, hopped onto the M5 motorway and aimed towards Alton Towers. Alas, a car fire caused huge delays and I arrived hours after everyone else, making it even more daunting walking into the group.

Everyone was fabulously friendly and I was rocking one of my favourite wigs so my confidence was fine; I blended with the group, spent a lovely day in the park and then headed back to the 'Enchanted Woodland' house we'd rented (which are beautiful if you get the chance to try one), including a private deck and hot tub. Despite my general lack of body hair - super smooth legs for example - this was the bit I was dreading. As you know, I'm not unhappy with being bald, but what I am conscious of is making other people uncomfortable when I don't need to. For me, a wig isn't about hiding something, but it is about being considerate and not forcing myself and my situation on those who didn't ask for it! So, back to the hot tub - a decision between a wet wig and going bald in front of a group of girls I've only just met! That decided it - I won't make others feel uncomfortable, so I'm into the bikini and into the hot tub, wig and all.

Meg comes out, takes one look at me and says 'Get. It. Off'. Not that she was applying pressure - it was caring actually - but I was quick to explain I didn't want other people to be uncomfortable. Cue the silence and some odd looks as if the ladies had no idea what I was talking about or worrying about for that matter.

As you might have gathered from this blog, I'm not exactly shy, so for me, this was pretty reserved. I took one look at the faces and in that minute I knew - I was being an idiot and making it more not less uncomfortable by being so awkward! Off came the wig onto the deck and then I relaxed - a hot tub, some fabulous girls and the ability to be myself.

From that point of the evening on, I minced around the house with no wig on and they didn't blink! It was liberating and was great to know that most people couldn't care less - genuinely they don't give it a second thought. How fabulous!

Before now, my three main 'types' of experience of being bald have been:
  1. Being amongst family, friends and colleagues that know and like / love me, where a lack of hair changes nothing
  2. Being bald with other baldies, in public or in private where I'm not 'the odd one out' so it's a moot point
  3. Being bald on my own in situations where I neither know nor worry about their thoughts or feelings because frankly, I'm hardly likely to see them again!
For me, this hen party was a first - people I don't know, but also don't want to upset and most importantly will see again in the not too distant future! A potent combination where I was truly keen to do the 'right' or 'best' thing for the scenario! Stupid really and I realise that I had unfairly judged and negatively assumed wrong about this lovely group of ladies!

I guess the moral to this story is easy - we spend too much time worrying about others and actually, it makes us act differently to the way we should or really want to. At every stage, people have suprised me and actually I should know by now just to be myself!

As I reread this before posting, there is one thing that strikes me - despite my love of being bald and my confidence in my own looks, I do still care about other people and worry about what they think and how I make them feel. Something more for me to ponder at some stage - what is the right balance?!

A not too great picture of me in the hot tub!
Hope you enjoyed my first post in a while! I should stay on track now and be back filling your feeds and inboxes on a regular basis!

Big love and thank you!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Sunday, 5 July 2015

I'll be back... soon!

First of all, I owe you an apology! I promised two blog posts a week for a short while as I was so busy and then I failed to write even one! For that I am really sorry - it was not intentional, however despite having a LOT of blog ideas, I haven't had a minute to myself AT ALL...

Since I've been gone, I've been to one wedding, on two hen do's, I've been in charge of two dogs with my mum away, I decided it was a sensible (in reality stupid idea) to decorate the living room for my mum while she was away (we didn't quite finish), have been working full-time, and that's about all I can remember at the moment! Needless to say, I have been getting home late, doing the basic chores, then flopping into bed, before repeating all over again!

Whilst I still have a couple of things to catch up on this week (which I neglected during the busy period above) I should be back with a vengeance by the weekend, writing a post a day again and keeping you posted on everything!

Sorry for the delay and thanks very much for your patience you lovely people! I have also enjoyed the tweets, poking and reminding me how long I've been!

Thank you!

Victoria x Twitter: @PrettyBald

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Different experiences Twitter: @PrettyBald -- My Twitter: @baldguyproblemz 

Hi, it's the 1st of the month so here is my blog... If you haven't read it already, my story can be found here: 

I have already talked about my opinion of alopecia, and this time I wanted to talk about the different experiences people can have with their alopecia... Although I do think I have come to the conclusion that the experience is pretty similar but there are different stages of the journey.

Pain --> Learning --> Strength

That's my experience with alopecia in a nutshell.

Of course it was painful, it was probably the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in my life.

The lesson I learnt was that with hair or without hair, it didn't change who I was, I found I didn't need hair to have a good time.

This is my latest stage; this journey has helped me become stronger as a person and I genuinely think that it will help me with any hardship in the future... And strangely, I think it has helped build my confidence.

I do acknowledge that everyone's experience with alopecia will be completely different and I wanted to see how it differed. I did a little research into others' experience's of Alopecia; I went onto a Facebook group that I am a member of 'Alopecia Areata' (we are about 5000 strong now) and posed this question:

'If you could describe your experience with alopecia in a word or phrase, what would it be?'

I received well over 100 responses and my findings were quite interesting... Some results were as expected and some were very encouraging.

Of course words like 'depressing', 'pain', 'stress', 'scary' and 'sad' topped the list with 27 in total, this is what is exactly what I expected... However, promisingly, 35 responses were extremely positive and included words like; 'freedom', 'gift', 'strengthening', 'loving self', 'learning', 'empowering' and others. I was extremely pleased to see so many people see it in a positive light!! Additionally, it was nice to see so many people enter funny answers which really demonstrates the good humour and comfortableness with their condition, my favourites included 'suddenly smooth' and 'bad hair year'.

After asking this question and seeing the answer 'a gift' from a lady called Rachel, I asked her more about what she meant... Her story was truly inspiring, she described her alopecia as a 'cataclysm to redefine myself and become a more authentic version of me, my best self'... She has learnt to love herself and believes that alopecia has improved her life; she is genuinely thankful for her alopecia. This may seem odd to some of you but I think this is the last phase of everyone's journey through alopecia... 

I don't feel like I have reached this stage as I still struggle with it and have only been suffering fully for just over a year. It seems pretty far away to be honest, I cannot imagine myself rather having alopecia than not... Rachel says she would not change anything which is vastly admirable, because if I had three wishes... Having my hair back would definitely be one of them! However, I do acknowledge that alopecia has strengthened me, I still think I have a long way to go as I haven't truly accepted it yet. I still look at myself and wish for improvement but I do think this will gradually go away, soon I hope.

Personally, at the moment, I feel inadequate and to be honest a little self pitiful because I am really concerned that no one will find my attractive. When I say this to people, they tell me not to be silly but it is a genuine concern of mine that I just look too weird to find attractive. I am not looking for a relationship but still, it does upset me. 

I do not like to feel sad about it, I feel guilty for doing so... I tell myself others have it worse, which can be useful but it is important to remember that we are allowed to feel sorry for ourselves... Saying you can't be sad because others have it worse is like saying 'you can't be happy because other people have it better'. Which makes no sense!! 

I would like to finish as usual by saying alopecia doesn't define you, which I know is true but I have to be honest and say that I am struggling at the moment. On the bright sight, I have come a long way and bumps are to be expected. I do think that eventually, I will come to fully accept it and love myself; Rachel's story has been very encouraging in that it helps provide a promising future.