July 29, 2021
A year ago today I shaved my hair for the first time.
It had been weeks of unrideable bald patches, hats, and fear. I felt ready to regain control and was naively confident that this would be the only time of ever have to shave my head. I thought that by shaving my hair, my bald patches would regrow and all my hair would grow in again at the same length. I truly believed that I'd only have to put up with a buzzed haircut until Christmas, by which point I could get some extensions and look like me again.
Whilst this didn't turn out to be the case, I'm grateful for the optimism (and honestly, the denial) that I felt throughout the beginning of my alopecia journey. It made the process of losing my hair much less daunting and helped me believe that it would only overwhelm a small portion of my life.
I remember this night so clearly. I'd been contemplating the big shave for a while but knew I should wait until I was completely certain. In the middle of the night, I took the clippers we'd been using for my dad and brothers' lockdown haircuts, face-timed my boyfriend, and began the most heartbreaking haircut of my life. I cried as I watched my hair fall to the ground. I was angry at the situation, I was grieving my 'normal' appearance, and I was terrified for a future of hating the way I look.
But I was also relieved. I no longer had to watch alopecia take my hair from me. I didn't need to constantly clean up the debris that covered every floor in my house. I was grateful that I am strong and resilient, and healthy.
I took a while to process my emotions. For a few days, I didn't tell anyone, giving myself time to try and accept the situation. Then I posted this picture on my personal Instagram, making my alopecia public knowledge for the first time.
A year on and my patches have filled in and I'm finally in the regrowth process. I used the same clippers to trim the back and sides of my hair today, for what I'm hoping actually will be the last time.
Whilst has such a profound impact on your thoughts, feelings, and perspective. I'm eternally grateful for the lessons I've learned over the last year. I can't wait to see what my hair looks like in 2022.
My love for wigs is absolutely second to none. It's such a gift to be able to experiment with different hairstyles without any commitment and is undeniably the silver lining to losing my hair last year.
Jen is wearing UniWigs Chrissy Human Hair Lace Wig
I find it so funny when I bump into friends on the street and they have to do a double-take to check if it's really me because my hair is so different from the last time they saw me.
I don't even acknowledge the fact that I look different in each of my wigs. I'm so used to them all and I'm too busy having fun and embracing all the different variations of 'me'.
I do think it must be really bizarre for the people who work at my local supermarket and post office, or my neighbors, or other students in the library, who see me all the time but never looking quite the same. I often find myself wondering what they could be thinking. Do they think I'm a completely different person? Do they think I have a twin or sisters that all look similar to?
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