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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Peach Fuzz But Not Peachy Keen

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.

Six months passed. A year passed. I had nothing to show on my head but a few little white hairs and the peach fuzz that you could feel but not see.

I had moved across state lines, and wasn’t going to be able to make the trip back to the same doctor.

I kept telling myself it would grow back. I took the maximum over-the-counter dose of biotin. I created concoctions of honey and cinnamon to rub on my head. I put olive oil in the refrigerator and shampooed my hair with it.

I researched essential oils. I picked one and started a nightly regimen of rubbing the lavender into my scalp.

I noticed the fuzz got thicker, but still no brown curly hair. I hoped the longer I would use these “miracle” supplements, I would start to see something. Anything.

Photo by: Jessica McBride Many never notice the creeping bald spot on the left side of my head because I would comb over the hair from the right side of my head to cover the baldness that developed. I retook this photo several times until I decided I didn't care if people wondered why my hairline gapped toward my temple.

Photo by: Jessica McBride
Many never notice the creeping bald spot on the left side of my head because I would comb over the hair from the right side of my head to cover the baldness that developed.
I retook this photo several times until I decided I didn’t care if people wondered why my hairline gapped toward my temple.

For another year I would dedicate myself to fixing this problem. Drizzle oil on my head, wrap my head in a bandana, go to sleep, wake up, wash out my hair, go to work, eat dinner, take some the supplements and then start the process again.

I found hope in each little hair that developed, but nothing more would come from it other than short, stubby fuzz.

How hard is it to grow hair? Apparently very difficult. Unless you’re a woman and trying to grow hair on your legs of course.

I knew that something was wrong, but after not getting help from those in the medical field before I was highly skeptical they would be able to do anything. Everything I read online didn’t give me much hope.

Surely I wasn’t the only one suffering from not being able to get my body to work normally. Rogaine is available over-the-counter so someone else was dealing with this.

I knew that if I went to the doctor again and demanded answers I would be poked, prodded and judged. I’m a very private person, and mentally I just wasn’t ready.

After combing my hair over like Donald Trump for so long, it started to thin where I would draw the part. I tried many times to shift the part towards the middle or further to the right, but there was either not enough hair to cover it, or it just didn’t look natural.

The tears, the anger, the obsession continued to grow after two years of watching my hair slowly disappear.

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/


11 Comments

Radius, Diameter and the Curious Spread

Photo by: Jessica McBride

Photo by: Jessica McBride

WARNING: SOME IMAGES AND DESCRIPTIONS IN THIS POST MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME INDIVIDUALS.

Being a pessimist and part-time hypochondriac is difficult to control sometimes. First, you think of all kinds of crazy diseases you might have and next you think of all the terrible outcomes.

Now add a fear of doctors to the mix. Sounds like a ton of fun inside my head, right?

I cried. I was angry. I was scared. I was everything you could imagine yet I felt nothing.

To lose hair from the top of my head was devastating to say the least, but I had no idea where to go or what to do.

I didn’t want to go to the doctor. They would tell me I was dying and then I would die in the office after they delivered the bad news.

Or, they would play guinea pig with me and poke me and stick me with needles and then tell me I could never have sweet tea and ranch dressing again.

They would shove me in a plastic machine that looks like coffin and force me not to move for hours.

They would lock me in a bubble and tell me I was allergic to life.

They would cancel my September wedding in a few months.

As you can see, I come up with some pretty good crazy. But, I wasn’t going to let this ugly bald spot stand between me and my wedding. September 2012 was going to happen and I was going to marry the love of my life.

Photo by: Jessica McBride

Photo by: Jessica McBride

But what appeared to be minor was only growing in diameter, which in turn stressed out this bride-to-be even more.

There were nights I couldn’t turn off the tears. There we’re days I thought it was the funniest thing. The range of emotions my brain traveled to felt abnormal.

I didn’t know what to do, but a doctor wasn’t the answer. My brain couldn’t handle it. My heart couldn’t handle it.

My plan was to take a deep breath and make the best of an awful situation. Between wedding planning and working in the mortgage industry during the busiest time of the year, I was completely stressed out and felt that seeing a doctor and worrying about my health would only stress me more.

So, in June 2012 I decided to wait. I told myself it would get better. I told myself that it wasn’t that bad.

The wedding date grew nearer and as every other bride in this decade looked on Pinterest for hair inspiration, I dreaded what I would do. Did I need a wig? A hairpiece maybe? Pre-wedding haircut on the checklist? Let’s just cross that one out.

I couldn’t go to a salon. I would be judged. I was a complete mental case, and I couldn’t share with anyone my struggle. But the wedding planning must go on.