Hair Raising ~ Part 2

(Please refer to Hair Raising - Confident Curls part 1 ~ this is Vanessa's Story Part 2)

© Confident Curls
My childhood was a stereo-typical childhood filled with Kool-Aid, Slip & Slides, Camping and tobogganing…..I was blessed to have what one would call a ‘normal’ childhood. I remember swimming lessons, and always hating to have to have a bone cold shower afterwards to get all the chlorine out of my hair. I vaguely remember my mom brushing my damp hair before bed, and putting it into a scrunchie so that I had wavy hair in the morning. I remember the smell of my freshly shampooed hair after my mom would blow dry it, and never being allowed to go outside with wet hair, or I’d ‘Catch a cold!’

I also remember the day my mom found my first bald spot on the top of my head.

I look back at pictures of my very first haircut at 1 years old, and more pictures of my gorgeous brunette hair as I grew into a toddler, and then a young girl. I look back at pictures of myself and it seems that between the ages of 9-12 there aren’t many pictures of me, or the ones that there are, are sad and hidden poses of me.

© Confident Curls
I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Alopecia shortly after my hair started to randomly fall out in patches on my scalp. At first, we were not alarmed (at least I wasn’t, I’m sure my mom was more concerned then she led on). This was the beginning of a very different life then I was used to. Within 2 years all of my hair had fallen out and I was left with ‘baby fine hairs’ that to this day grow to an inch or two and fall out. Constantly repeating itself.

I always remember feeling never good enough, never as pretty as the other girls, even at a very young age. I started to feel ugly and began wearing hats, and as I grew up I started wearing baggy jeans and oversized hoodies. I was very aware at a young age how much hair was a defining part of who you were, as I watched my mom style her hair in the same way every morning. I was teased daily for not having hair and one day decided that I would do anything to get back to normal, so we decided to buy my first wig. This was nothing like I hoped for, expected or wanted. The wig was way too big, heavy and had way too much hair for a 12-year-old child. This just fueled the teasing even more. My parents only wanted the best for me, and didn’t know what to do. I stopped wearing wigs for a couple of my teenage years, and opted to go au-natural, even with my teenage bravery I barely made it out of Jr. High and High School alive.

It wasn’t until I was about 16 years old that I really started to notice all of my friends talking more about their hair….trying new styles and colors. I remember one year, almost everyone had the ‘Rachel’ haircut from the TV Show ‘Friends’. I cute little bob in brunette with blonde highlights. I remember really starting to feel the need to have my hair back around this time. I wanted to talk about the same things, and it seemed like life revolved around boys, our first jobs, boys, makeup, boys and well…. Hair.

© Confident Curls
I started looking into my wig options again at 16 years old and came to learn that in the short 5 years, Wigs had come a ways into the younger styles. I was in luck! They weren’t the coolest styles, but at least it wasn’t horrid. I remember the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach when I walked into school again with hair. We had bought it over the summer and thought that with having a break, the transition would be easier. I was wrong. Kids pulled my wigs off, they still teased me and the little bit of self-confidence was killed.

Boys picked on me while all of my friends had boyfriends. I had a few close friends, lots of friends that grew up with me in school, and even to this day I think of how many of them dropped off over the years. A few, including my best friend stuck by me, and always tried to keep me included. I always hated when we would get together to go to a movie or out for dinner and all of my friends would be sitting around on the floor with little mirrors trying to get their hair styled perfectly (in case we ran into our Prince Charming). All while I sat on the bed or couch and waited…. patiently, usually annoyed because I would have killed for BAD hair let alone decent or great hair. It always made me wonder why on earth would someone fret over one or two strands of hair that just wouldn’t stay put? I never understood and I probably never will.

© Confident Curls

Now, I have much more self confidence in who I am, and I have chosen to wear wigs during the day while out running errands or out with friends. It will never be the same as my own real hair, but it makes me feel put together, sexy and I hate to say it….but normal. I can blend in with everyone else at the grocery store and focus on my children. I can sit and be engaged in a conversation while out with my husband or friends without feeling like a million eyes are on me. I don’t have to worry about my kids seeing people stare at me, or approach me and ask how my treatments are going. I like to use my own discretion when I tell people about my hair loss; I am still guarded when it comes to telling someone about my Alopecia because of all the teasing growing up. I’m getting better and my goal is to be a stand up advocate for women and children dealing with my same issues every day.
It’s amazing that Hair, something that’s dead and is mostly a nuisance can have such an impact on someone’s morning, day, month (ever had a really bad haircut?) or life.

Hair is Hair, but to some people it’s quality of life.

~ Vanessa McWilliams

Join us at the 1st Annual Hair Raising Gala.

Confident Curls is proud to support the 
Kids Cancer Care and Angel Hair Foundations by hosting the
March 1st, 2013 at the Deer Foot Inn & Casino.
Our goal is to raise $100,000 and donate 100 ponytails.

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