thejessence

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


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Fake and Fancy Free

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.

 

To finally catch up to the present day, I will go back to February of this year.

That was my last dermatologist appointment. A week before, I sunk down beyond frustration.

I felt like nothing was working. I was the girl with the headband. What I thought would help me grow my hair was turning into a monthly fiasco of prescriptions and doctor’s appointments with no light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t see improvement.

So, I told myself that this was it. I was possibly ending any and all treatments for alopecia. I was tired of having my hopes up of one day not having the bald spots. I was done. I was ready to shave my head.

The doctor encouraged me not to give up hope just yet. She suggested taking photos again to show any progress. She said we would take another look at the next appointment and evaluate our options. I received a couple more steroid injections and would come back in a couple of months.

I paced back to my car with my eyes to the ground. To keep the tears from coming I decided to go ahead with my progress pictures.

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

As you can see, my scalp hates injections.

My head was throbbing. I sat in my car looking through all of the previous photos I had taken. The depressed fever set in and big, hot water drops rolled down my face.

I was so tired of being in limbo. Maybe I would have hair. Maybe I would shave my head. Maybe I would look at options at a later date. No answers. No when, no why.

Journalists don’t deal with unanswered questions very well. In fact, a no comment would’ve been better for my emotions.

I decided to make myself options since my body was taking them away. I threw the car into drive and went to Target.

I grabbed three different color scarves and checked out. I sat in the parking lot and taught myself how to tie them around my head via YouTube.

With a quick Google search I was on to my next stop.

I wasn’t real sure what to expect when I walked into the wig store, but I knew that I had to leave for the better.

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

The lady helped me look at options, and answered my questions. I tried a couple on.

I went short. I went long.

I went blonde. I went brunette.

I wore bangs. I went curly. I went straight.

The possibilities were endless. I enjoyed that.

Eventually I could buy several. I could be a red-headed wild child on the weekend, and an elegant brunette during the week. Maybe even a dumb blonde on holidays.

Who cared that people would know it was a wig. That wasn’t the point. This was something that I could do before and after if I decided to shave my head. This was the ultimate dream of being able to be blonde, curl my hair and change my look with no consequence and no commitment.

 

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

I decided bangs weren’t my thing, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to afford multiple wigs at once. Just a heads up, wigs are VERY expensive.

This would be something I would have to build up over a long period of time, which would also mean that I wouldn’t be able to wear the wig on a daily basis because it would wear out.

I never thought in my younger years (HA!) I would one day purchase a wig for something other than for Halloween or to goof around.

I settled for something more natural to help with the transition for myself and those around me. You’re welcome.

When I returned to work, I encountered something that I hadn’t even realized had been absent from my life for the past four years. People told me my hair looked nice.

… and cue the tear roll.

It wasn’t anything I ever thought about. It was a change I hadn’t anticipated. It was bittersweet. I thanked them, and corrected that it was a wig and not my natural hair.

The questions flew, and it was relieving to discuss. Most of my co-workers were aware. Most that were unaware of my alopecia are now. The conversation was comforting.

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One person asked why I purchased it. I happily explained that I needed it for my mental and emotional health.

Then they took me back several years to when I told them I had alopecia.

When I tell people, I typically show them. The visual element is very impactful to some people, and though I don’t want sympathy, many times it helps them to know I’m not lying, or exaggerating.

When I was initially sharing this piece of me with this person, I made a comment about my bald spots being weird, or gross, or scary.

The person repeated their response at the time, that it was me and that it wasn’t weird or scary to them. It was physical and not part of my personality or heart.

Acceptance.

The biggest thing about alopecia that I can relay to anyone is the emotional pain and anxiety associated with it. Sure, it sucks to not have hair, but after it’s been gone for awhile it becomes the physical portion of you just like a scar or glasses.

Because so many people do not know or understand alopecia makes it somewhat embarrassing, difficult to explain and gut wrenching that your body struggles to make hair.

Additional layers of being a female with a “beauty” issue and that there is no cure and not much known about the auto-immune disease tear into a vulnerable mind and create an anxiety that is difficult to communicate.

I am constantly worried that my bald spots are showing. I am constantly worried that the wig might blow off in the wind. I am constantly worried that people won’t understand.

And while I shouldn’t have these worries, I do.

It’s been four years since my first bald spot reared its ugliness, and I’m still fighting.

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Photo by: Jessica McBride

I took my pictures at the one month mark for the dermatologist. We’ll see what she says next week.

 

 

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

Word Vomit

And Then It Appeared

Radius, Diameter and the Curious Spread

Shimmering Dresses and Comb Overs

The Monster Within

Peach Fuzz But Not Peachy Keen

Beauty and the Beast

25,000 Strands Lost

1 + 1 = 2

Bandana Bandaid

Reflection

My Hair is Full of Secrets

Follicles of Hope

Show Me The Progress


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But My Lips Hurt Real Bad!

When my husband and I first started dating, we argued over the subject of chapstick*.  And no, not like in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’.  I always have a tube of chapstick in my purse or car… well, usually.  My husband typically keeps a tube with him as well.  He uses chapstick twice as much as I do.

You would think we would argue about what kind to use.  You’re wrong.  In his opinion, no one ever used the entire tube of chapstick.  I disagreed immediately.  I almost always end up throwing away a tube because the twister is at the end, and the edges of the plastic tube scrape against your lips.  He said that it never happens, that people lose their chapstick.

This is true.  Sometimes, people lose their chapstick.  I usually find mine in another pocket in my purse, or somewhere in my car (Hopefully not melted).  Or even worse, the pocket of your pants after taking them out of the washer or dryer.  But for more times than I can count on my fingers and toes, I have finished a tube of chapstick.

For a couple of times since, and most since we’ve been married, my husband has had the privilege of finishing a couple of tubes of chapstick.  I think he now feels accomplished.

Now for the metaphor.  Men, listen to your wives because they are always right…

Just kidding.  Though, men probably should listen more.  Sometimes you just need to stick with something for awhile to get to the end.  The end isn’t always the greatest, but it leads on to something new.

 

 

*My apologies to Chapstick, but I call all lip balm, protection stick chapstick.  I prefer to use Burt’s Bees, and not the Chapstick brand.  That is why I do not capitalize the chapstick.


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To Pee Or Not To Pee

pregnancy tests (T = test, C = control)

pregnancy tests (T = test, C = control) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, if you saw the picture and clicked on the blog because you think a little red-headed hobbit is in the works, you’ve been mislead.  Hopefully you’ve seen this in the news.  If not, you’re in for a treat!

There are pregnancy tests for sale online on Craiglist.  I know what you’re thinking, I can get those at Wally World so what’s the big deal?  They’re used tests.  They’ve already been peed on.  Oh, and you can also buy pregnant women’s pee.

So as I discover this absurd fact, my mind begins to wonder.  What would one want with a used pregnancy test?  OHHHH!!!!!!

I don’t know whether to be disgraced by my fellow women, or to high five the pregnant chicks for exploiting the idiocrasy and  stupidity of the female gender.

The sales pitch from these so called merchants is that they don’t judge why you would need it.  But why else would you need it?

If you have stooped so low as to buy a used pregnancy test to lead on that it is your test, I really don’t know what to say except that I suggest you seek some help.

The problem is that we live in a society where this is deemed acceptable.  Maybe not necessarily acceptable, but that this is not completely outrageous.  That is concerning.

The fact that there are women in the world that would spend money on someone’s “prized pee” is sickening.  I almost can’t think of a worse way to use a man for your advantage.  It’s almost a mentality of “I’d rather have someone who really doesn’t want me than not have anyone”.  The idea of “looking for the right person” has not crossed these females minds.

This isn’t a competitive attitude, this is a problematic attitude.  An attitude that our culture is fostering.  The only thing I can come up with for women in this situation besides to seek out help is that you should prove to him you deserve better and go out and get it.  Right now, all you’re doing is proving that you’re scum of the earth.

I’ve heard many women complain about the attitudes and actions of men. To be honest, I believe they’re warranted with the actions of women in relationships.  I mean, if there are women out there that would buy pee, what else would they do in order to keep a man in a relationship with them.  Is there another reason besides dependence on a relationship?  I can’t think of a reason of why you would want to show your employer, or any financial gain without the actual product; so why else would you need it?  If I were a dude, I’d be hesitant of the female gender.

To the men, props to you for verifying everything before you commit yourself to a life of affliction.  Maybe you should consider buying a pregnancy test to get out of the psycho relationship with the women who bought a pregnancy test to keep you.  Make sure it’s not legitimate first, of course.

A relationship is a mutual commitment.  If you don’t have both pieces, you don’t have a relationship.  So, to you women out there that have committed this act or have committed relationship crimes to the likening, the best advice I can give you is that off of an eCard that was posted on Facebook.  “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!”

 

 


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Caught Somewhere Between a Tom Boy and a Hair Bow

I’m not a girly girl.  I hardly wear dresses.  I hate lipstick and only wear eyeliner because I have small eyes.  I don’t fix my hair, for many reasons, and have actually considered shaving it all off.  I HATE BOWS! I am most comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts or yoga pants depending on the weather.  Girls don’t understand this.

I like musicals and fuzzy animals.  I like flowers and fruity drinks.

I’m not athletic.  It’s not that I would break a nail catching the baseball, I’m just more afraid it might hit me in the face.  I don’t like video games.  I don’t like to get dirty.  I’m a pansy and don’t like to get dirty or go fast on the jet ski.  I like sports, but mostly just watching.  I don’t like camping because I need to shower every day and my contacts would just get in the way.  I don’t like being hot and I really don’t like being cold.  Like I said, I’m a pansy.

I like shooting guns and stuffing my face.  I like hats, but they never seem to fit my awkward head.

So… I’m not a feminine female nor am I a “tom boy”.  So what am I?

I like to think of myself as a normal girl.  I don’t get a long with some girls because I don’t like the drama.  I used to think I was just one of the guys until I realized I had nothing in common with them.  We need a name for girls like me.

It used to bother me that I didn’t seem to fit in with the way society pinned girls and boys in how they should dress and what they should like.  Now, I could care less.  I see myself as normal.  I’ve tried make-up and heels and poofy dresses.  Believe me, I’ve probably wore more cupcake dresses than most girls thanks to my mom.

I think most of my personality dwells upon the fact that I see most of these things unnecessary and almost problematic.  Heels make my feet hurt.  Dresses make me have panic attacks about the wind.  Putting on make up means that I can’t sleep an extra 10 minutes.  I don’t knock anyone who likes this stuff, I just don’t have time for it.

I am who I am, and I’m proud to not be complicated.