“He that speaks much, is much mistaken.” ~Benjamin Franklin
I love the above quote. It rings such truth in the day in the life of an alopecian.
Since losing my hair to alopecia I have decorated my crown in many ways. I enjoy wearing wigs, headwraps or sometimes just sharing my crown out in the open for all to see. That’s my favorite by the way!
But it’s interesting how people perceive you no matter how you choose to adorn your lovely crown. Even more interesting are the things that come out of their mouths.
“OH, I’M SORRY, NO OFFENSE TO ANY ONE GROUP, AFFILIATION OR LIFESTYLE… OR ANYONE’S LOUD-MOUTH MONSTER-CHILD! I THINK YOU SADLY HAVE ME MISTAKEN FOR SOMEONE ELSE.”
Now maybe this may seem like a boring topic to most, but I have an inkling that my fellow alopecian brothers and sisters will understand.
Hear me out for brief moment:
Below is what I like to call my “Mistaken Identity List”. It’s a list of incidents and statements that actually happened to me as I went about in my daily activities. Keep in mind that I don’t know any of these people and they caught me off guard and at different stages during my journey to “self-acceptance” after having lost my hair to alopecia.
Head-wrap…door slam incident
A man that worked in the law firm I worked for at the time slammed a door in my face as I walked through the same doorway he did. He was a known bigot.
Restaurant…thought you were muslim
A waitress in a restaurant I used to frequent saw me on the local news promoting alopecia awareness commented, “Oh, I just thought you were a muslim because of your head-wraps. Anyway, are you sick?
Bald in the train station…thought you were gay
I was kindly minding my business walking in the underground subway train station in Philadelphia when man asked me out of the blue if I was gay. I asked him, “Why?” His reply, “Oh, I thought you were gay.”
Bald sitting on the train… thought I shaved my head on purpose
I was looking out the window on the train into work. A man just blurted out, “Why do you shave your head like that?”
Bathroom stall..she cried when she saw me washing my hands in the ladies room
A lady I worked with saw me in the ladies room and started to cry as she said, she knew I was suffering from cancer.
Lady in market…wanted to pray
While picking out spaghetti sauce, a woman stopped me while her husband looked on. She asked if she could hold my hand and pray for me and that she understood what I was going through.
Little girl in Walmart line who started to cry
As I stood in the checkout line in a crowded Walmart store, a little girl took one look at me and let out a loud cry while calling out to her Mommy. All this after she licked her tongue at me.
Guy in the bar who sent his friend to talk to me
As I sat quietly and minding my own business, a man came over to tell me that his friend was afraid to talk to me but thought I was attractive. I’m still not sure if it was because he thought I was hideous looking and didn’t want to be embarrassed or because he was too shy. Anyway, I talked to his delightful friend instead.
Beware! They are out there! Creeping through your email, your messenger account, and all your social media pages trying to get you to interact with them and not in the nicest way. I’ve had to close down a few accounts and leave a few groups because of them.
Shaving fetish people…
They are sometimes men but could be women . Never the quiet ones, they let you know what your bald head does to their sexual libidos and that all they want from you is to send them a video of you shaving your beautiful bald crown!
People who think I have cancer
They are a dime a dozen. They just automatically associate you with this disease. I have brought down the vibe in a room many a day with people thinking that I am dying from that life threatening disease.
People who go out of their way to help because they think I’m sick
I’ve gotten so much special treatment that it’s ridiculous! People give up seats, smile at me, give me money, you name it! I’ve had to stop people. I don’t want to take advantage of people. Even then, they still seem to feel sorry for me when I tell them that it’s just my hair loss.
Lady who lifted her wig to show her bald spots from chemo in home improvement store
I don’t know what it is about me wondering stores and people coming up to me but another lady couldn’t wait to start a conversation with me to let me know she had the same disease as me….whatever that was! She lifted her wig to show me the hair loss…then she revealed it was from chemo. My heart dropped.
Man who asked me out
He shared that he was attracted to me, and that I reminded him of his wife who died of cancer. What an opening line of invitation.
People who think, I’m just trying to be stylish
Well, they’re just annoying…so sorry, but they are to me. I don’t really know why they make me feel this way, but they do.
People who tell me that if I use their magical oils or ointments my hair will magically grown back
They also annoy me. I mean, they are relentless in their sales pitches. You’d think they’d own stock in the companies that manufacture the stuff!
People who say that I shave my eyebrows and hair to get attention and it’s not really falling out due to a medical condition…….blah…blah…blah…blah…
“Boo!” They’re in denial!
But the gag is…..drum roll please…….
Not once did I ever ask for any of these people their opinions. I understand that when people see something that they don’t understand it’s hard for them to process at times, but what about me? What about how I have to process their comments, views and beliefs? It can be so hard at times. Other times I’m able to let it roll off my back with no worries.
In retrospect, I really think it depends on where you are with your acceptance of your alopecia. Once you own your alopecia, the comments, thoughts, beliefs, actions or whatever people dish out doesn’t sting as much.
Make no mistake about it. Understand that somewhere, someone will still pop out of the woodwork or from around that corner and say the unthinkable! Just know that they’re out there. Don’t over think it!
As a matter of fact, I don’t mind people asking me questions or listening to people if they want to share their experiences…I’m just saying..I wish they could .be mindful and respectful. That’s what I was taught. I just need to understand that everyone was not taught the same core values that I was taught growing up. The word is “understand”. It doesn’t mean that people can disrespect me with rude comments.
So going forward, I will at least listen to what people have to say and if there is an opportunity there to educate and bring awareness to this unpredictable disease alopecia or even console someone who is experiencing something much worse than me, then I’m all for it!
Own your alopecia. Own it your way! That’s one more step to self-acceptance and self-love! Once you have that, you have arrived! And at that point, folks comments won’t feel like much of anything anyway.
And they come up with new ones every day! In the beginning of my journey, I used to cry, get hurt, bury my head in the sand. I wanted to become this big activist this huge voice of reason, and educator! I wanted to hand out flyers. Do you know I actually did that once? Haha! I didn’t know how to deal with it all.
SO WITH THAT IN MIND, I’VE COME TO REALIZE…I don’t have to deal with other people’s feelings about MY ALOPECIA! I only need to deal with me and how I process my own feeling about MY alopecia. All the other stuff is everyone else’s issue. I’m simply not equipped to fix everybody else’s issues anyway! Once I got this mindset in motion, I began to calm down within my heart and my mind.
Other people’s stuff is always going to exist and there is nothing I can do about that part.
What has changed now is how I choose to deal with it. How I choose to process it.
I got alopecia! It ain’t got me! Be Bald and Be Happy! Holla!
~Love Crowned Regal