We live in an era of selfies, narcissism and high beauty standards. Even the most down-to-earth of us, still place great importance in the physical. It is hard to escape from our reflections because they have become us. Therefore, when something dramatic happens to the way we look, we perceive it to be something dramatic happening to who we are.
This is exactly what I have experienced time and time again. I have gone through hair loss three times now. The first time, an eating disorder pulled clumps of hair from my scalp. The second time, stress ripped my hair from its roots. Now for the third time, stress has returned or maybe male-pattern baldness has begun, and my hair is becoming thinner.
I cannot possess with words the emotions that follow hair loss. As you wash your hair, strands get knotted between your fingers. As you comb your hair, clumps fall to the ground. As you style your hair, bald spots make themselves known. It is a painful thing to experience because your self-esteem, which may already be awfully low, is dropped even further to its knees.
I know that our self-worth should not hinge on our physical appearance but as I said, society has made it difficult to embody such an affirmation. Social experiments and studies have proven that those whom are more attractive, usually live a more prosperous life. When you see each strand of hair fall to the ground, it is almost like watching your life’s potential decay. I know how truly superficial that sounds, but that is the truth of my heart.
Nevertheless, I am trying to fight it. We should all fight it. Our value is not determined by the hair on our head, the size of our waistline or the symmetry of our face. Although it is true that this world has become increasingly materialistic, we have to rise above that and find our strength.
I remember with such clarity my first appointment with a trichologist. I left the building in tears and sat on the side of the road, wallowing in self-pity. I had fallen into the trap and let my reflection become me and thus I was devastated. That was until a phone call with a friend.
“Thorne… Your hair does not define you. Without it you are still Thorne and without it, we still love you. You will still have the same opportunities in life, because you are so much more than the way you look.”
That is the epitome of how we should perceive hair loss or any change in appearance for that matter. I know how hard it can be, trust me I do. You could read a thousand articles about self-empowerment but still struggle to look in the mirror. Like all things in life though, it is a journey. Some days are going to be difficult and some will be bliss. Just try to embrace it and realise that the way you look is not indicative of who you are or what you can do.