I started losing my hair when I was under 3 years old, so living with Alopecia is all I have ever known. It made it so much easier for me when I came to my school community because they have always known me as "the bald kid." When the 3rd grade arrived almost all of my hair had grown back, but just as suddenly, over that same summer, all of it fell out! I didn’t really care until I was getting bullied at school-- nobody really talked to me. What impacted me most was their negative impressions, not because I didn’t have any hair. When you are that young, you take criticism very seriously. I never stood up for myself; I just acted like I didn’t care, but in reality I was extremely upset. Slowly, my bullies grew up and realized there was nothing to gain from the torment they gave me. Now, as I have grown, as a sophomore in high school, criticism doesn’t even phase me nor do I care what other people think of me.
But before, what always made me feel uncomfortable was people asking questions or just flat out approaching me. A lot of people make false assumptions, like assuming those people with Alopecia must have cancer.
One time in my hometown grocery store, I was about to pay for my groceries but the man next in line stopped me. He insisted on paying for my groceries, which were a significant $40 purchase, but I insisted that I didn’t need his generous gift. I am confident that this man was assuming I was going through chemotherapy, as most people tend to, hence why he was willing to be so generous.
Confrontations like the one I had in the grocery store are exactly what I was afraid of before, but I've come to realize that people are just concerned about us. You should own these kinds of conversations, be honest and be yourself. People just want to make sure you are healthy.
If I could give a message to every concerned individual, my message would be this: I understand you are concerned, but I am just a normal person--I just can't grow hair.
There is no reason to worry about something you can’t control. If it bothers somebody else, let it bother them, not you. Honestly, there are times I forget I have Alopecia because it's just become a part of me. Even all of my friends tell me, ”I couldn’t imagine you with hair.” People with Alopecia stand out more, and we can use this to our advantage.
Show everyone that you are a bright and beautiful person, happy in your own skin.
Undoubtedly, Alopecia has made me into who I am today.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” - Dr. Seuss
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