thejessence

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. – Aristotle


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Beauty and the Beast

READER ADVISORY: Some photos and descriptions in this story might be disturbing to some individuals. Use discretion when choosing to continue. Previous blog posts leading up to this story are located at the bottom of this post. It is suggested that the previous posts be read first for a full understanding of this post.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

My hair was not only falling, but starting to thin. I had to make a doctor’s appointment. I was backed into a corner and had no other option.

I did everything I could to take my mind off of things. I was out of options, but it would be ok.

On a shopping trip to the outlet stores in Oklahoma City, I discovered a wide set head band in the Oakley store. $15 is an expensive headband, but it conveniently covered everything I needed it to. So, I bought it.

I was actually quite excited. This was a small victory in the world of losing your hair in your 20s. I could put my hair in a high pony tail like my cheer days. I could wear my hair down again. I could wrap it in a bun. I could have a normal hairstyle with the head band. It was more freedom than I had experienced in two years.

I styled my hair curly with mousse and tousled it around. I let it dry a bit, and then strategically maneuvered the headband to cover the beast. It was the happiest day for my hair in two years.

Photo by: Jessica McBride July 8, 2014 After being criticized for my new headband to cover my balding head, I spent my lunch crying in my car reminiscent of being called names by a high school bully. Every time I look at this picture I can see the tears in my eyes that I was trying to hide with a smile.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
July 8, 2014 After being criticized for my new headband to cover my balding head, I spent my lunch crying in my car reminiscent of being called names by a high school bully.
Every time I look at this picture I can see the tears in my eyes that I was trying to hide with a smile.

For two years I was stuck parting it and wearing a low pony tail or clipping it to the back of my head. I was victorious in this purchase. I had beaten the beast.

At one of my meetings that day my heart sunk. Correction. My heart was ripped from my chest and brutally stomped on.

Who could ever learn to love a beast?

A couple of comments from the peanut gallery related my new style to that of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. It took all I had not to cry instantly. I dropped my head and tried not to say anything the entire meeting. When it was over, I hid myself in my office with the door shut.

People can be so inconsiderate and so mean. I didn’t ask for a compliment. I just wanted acceptance.

No one knew my struggle. No one knew how bad it hurt to not be a normal woman with luscious locks of hair. No one knew that I was ashamed to go to a hair stylist because of this awful thing that had happened to me. No one knew I hadn’t had a haircut in two years and the only pair of scissors my curls had seen was held with my own hands to trim off split ends.

For once it might have been great to just have someone understand.

No one knew the pain of having one small victory ripped away. Going to the salon or styling your hair a different way is a typical part of being a woman, but not for a woman losing her hair.

I went out to my car during my lunch break. I wasn’t hungry. All I could think was that what I thought was a brilliant idea made me even more of a target for the people around me.

I’m a very self-conscious person. I’m always so anxious about food in my teeth, about my eye brows being brushed into funky positions, about mismatching socks, about mixing black and brown clothing, about my bald spot showing.

I cried for at least 30 minutes straight. I was completely broken. I told myself that I was letting the comments get the best of me and that they would just have to deal with my disorder. I had to deal with it, so they did too.

A doctor’s visit was inevitable. I could no longer deal with this on my own and my anxiousness of having something terribly wrong with me was eating away at what dignity I had left.

Photo by: Jessica McBride July 8, 2014 That same day I decided I needed to start facing the fact that this was something that would be around for the rest of my life. The small battle turned into an all out war, which I was determined to win.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
July 8, 2014 That same day I decided I needed to start facing the fact that this was something that would be around for the rest of my life.
The small battle turned into an all out war, which I was determined to win.

I had to face myself in the mirror every day, yet all I was doing was covering up the problem and not dealing with it.

I hadn’t documented my journey. It was difficult, but the beast needed to be released.

I took a deep breath and pulled off the $15 Oakley headband. I pulled my hair away from the bald area so that there was no mask or camouflage.

I raised my hands which grasped my phone above my head, and I snapped what would be the most monstrous and repulsive photo of me.

I forced myself to look at it, and in turn forced myself to understand that this wasn’t me. Though it wasn’t beauty on the outside, I needed to remember to love myself and not let this tragedy define me.

Don’t be deceived, for true beauty is found within. And that’s something I knew I had to realize to make any of this better.

For clarity on the story above, please read the blog posts below.

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/word-vomit/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/and-then-it-appeared/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/radius-diameter-and-the-curious-spread/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/shimmering-dresses-and-comb-overs/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/the-monster-within/

https://thejessence.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/peach-fuzz-but-not-peachy-keen/

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When Teasing Goes Too Far

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently I let a month slip by in writing my blog.  I have no excuse.

I do find it ironic, however, that of all the topics I have brainstormed up to blog about, I am choosing a topic that I am writing an entire series on for work.  I typically write about social programs, issues, etc. and this one hits home a little bit.

Growing up, I was always shorter and smaller than everyone else.  I never understood why, and always hated the fact that I wasn’t “normal”.  To make matters worse, I was never a popular kid and combining my introverted personality just added to the pile.  Then let’s take the fact that I was homeschooled.  I was one of the more intelligent kids.  I have always been really pale.  My hair is incredibly frizzy.  If anyone was going to be picked on, it was me.

One of the most devastating memories for me was being called a midget in elementary during lunch, and being told that I wasn’t allowed to hang out with a certain group of girls.  I spent a lot of lunch recesses sitting against the walls of the gym outside.  By myself.  I remember each incident.  I remember where I was.  I remember the names of the people who picked on me.  At the time, it was the most awful part of my life.  I would cry during recess.  I would cry when I got home.

I got my share of bullying.  I learned to take it.  I learned to brush it off.  It’s probably why I am very sarcastic and comfortable making fun of myself.  I learned to adapt.  Does it bother me that I was picked on?  Yes, because to this day I don’t understand it.  I don’t see what I did wrong.  The memory will be forever with me.

I watched the documentary “Bully” last night.  I highly recommend that everyone watch it.  What surprises me even more is the CDC statistic that over 95% of people report being picked on in school.  Wow.  Maybe I’m not alone.

What should really bother you though, is the fact that some of this picking and bullying is getting so intense that young people are taking their lives.  Parents are reporting that kids are ganging up on a particular kid, sending 10s of 100s of text messages at a time, calling to say horrific things, encouraging a kid to end his life, punching them, hitting them, verbally abusing them, and then wearing nooses around their necks the day after the kid disappears from school forever.

I’m as guilty as anyone else as playing the part of the bully.  I’ve picked on kids.  I’ve made my brothers cry.  But these kids have no concept for the value of life.  It’s almost like a game.  And unfortunately, no one is immune.  But to me, this isn’t a kid problem.  This is a parent problem.

Parents haven’t taken their responsibility seriously.  They haven’t taught their kids.  Well, I’ll change that statement.  What they have taught their kids is to bully.  They’ve taught them that it’s ok to hate.  We’ve breed a culture of hate, and parents are to blame.

Parents, step up and teach your children.  They’re watching what you do.  They’re watching you bully other parents.  They’re watching you bully co-workers.  They’re learning from you.