Alopecia pep talk of self-love to a younger me

I've been having conversations not only in my mind but with other people discussing self-love and what that means and what that looks like. Through these dialogues I’ve realized that self-love means different things to different people but yet we are all looking for purpose and self-acceptance. Self-love is something I’ve struggled with for years, and as I write to you at 43 years of age, I still have my moments of self-doubt. Learning how to love myself especially with the new appearance of a hairless me has not been easy, however in looking back there are things I would want to say to my younger self in the hopes that she hears me.

With any journey that forces you to look within can be painful. It can open wounds that you have chosen to surrender to the sea of denial, provoke unpleasant memories and force accountability to yourself and or to others. But what I would want my younger self to know is that she doesn’t have to carry such a burden any longer. In addressing such emotions there is healing and freedom. It took me a long time to get to this place, but it's a much healthier

space that I must put in daily work to maintain. Learning how to allow feelings of negativity to come is one thing but not allowing them to take up permanent space in my mind is another thing. You must acknowledge the feelings. Running from them or sweeping them under the rug cannot be a part of the process. You must recognize them, face them head on and let go. If this means speaking to a therapist to help you work through it then do it. Speaking out loud makes the emotions more real and can be scary but once it’s out there, fear has nowhere to hide because its exposed. This is why I decided to share my alopecia story, I did it in fear because I didn’t want to be held captive anymore.

In coming out with my hair loss I also fell into the trap of comparing myself which was a waste of time. Looking at others and how outspoken, brave, and bold they were in their alopecia journey made me wonder if there was enough space for me to share my story. After all, it took me over 20 years to unveil my truth. I know that sounds silly and it is. Let’s be honest, social media can be a rabbit hole of self-deprecation because it's so easy to want to be what someone else is or have what they have because society has trained us to believe that to possess more means you are worth more. I wouldn’t want someone impersonating me so why would I want to impersonate someone else? The world is made up of differences and my individuality is a part of this pool of diversity and I had to ask myself, was I willing to put in the work/sacrifices to have what that person has? Do I know if what I’m seeing is from honest works? It is so important to understand that you will never be like anyone else. Their walk is not your path so you must keep your eyes fixed on your own intentions. Set goals and parameters that work best for you instead of trying to be part of someone else’s prize. Which leads me to my next point of boundaries.

I've often thought that I was missing out on something. Whether it was in keeping up with the latest trends or what's happening on social media, the unspoken accomplishments I should have obtained by a certain age, committing to something I know I shouldn’t have, or being the sounding board for others and their issues when I’m trying to work through my own. It's tiring always trying to be “on” all the time and it's so important to set boundaries and learn when to clock out and say no. I’ve realized that saying "no" and disconnecting from social media is actually healthy; it protects my energy and mental health as I too need rest. Feelings of guilt cannot sit at the same table as forgiveness when you are focusing on self-love.

To be frank, forgiving myself is something I had a hard time with and at times still do. Understanding that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes is part of development and how can I grow in grace if I haven’t learned to fall? Self-love has taught me to practice the art of forgiveness. Letting go of past missteps has helped me to move forward. I had to learn how to be compassionate to Christal and cut her some slack. Focusing on my today’s instead of trying to figure out and control my tomorrow’s is an everyday practice. Mercy is a part of my frequent pep talks; I have to talk to me ALL THE TIME. Why? Because I can talk myself out of something very easily, but it takes more effort to consistently talk myself into something positive especially when I feel less than. There is no easy fix to self-love. It takes practice, commitment, and awareness. It’s a never-ending soul search that forces you to dive in and dig deep. You have to fight and keep fighting until your load starts to become lighter as you lift each area of yourself that is unhealthy and unproductive.

Creating and adapting to confident habits is one thing and maintaining them is another. So I would tell the younger me to be kind to yourself, embrace the journey no matter how uncomfortable it is because if I didn’t do what I was afraid of I wouldn’t have a platform today to speak to you on.

Remember "Love yourself, and the rest will follow" - unknown



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