Photo Credit: Yoann Boyer via Unsplash.
“Why is your hair so thin?”
*Riya asked me this question with an air of superiority and a tone of condescension. “My hair is really thick,” she said.
Up until middle school, I had been blessed with thick, wavy black hair. In sixth and seventh grade, my hair loss started. At first, I thought it was caused by the shampoo I was using at that time, but even after I switched to a different shampoo, my hair kept on falling. I went from dermatologist appointment to dermatologist appointment, trying to figure out the cause for my hair loss at such a young age.
My hair went from being the beautiful black mass of waves it was to becoming a small frizzy collection of wavy-ish hair that society did not deem beautiful. I tried to hide the shapeless, messy mass of my hair by straightening it every day in eight and ninth grades. It wasn’t until an aunty I had known for a long time expressed her admiration for the beauty of my natural hair, which she had seen in curls on a rare good day, that I decided to stop straightening my hair every day. Later that year, during my freshman year of high school, I took into Supriya Aunty’s advice of leaving my hair in its natural state. However, my hair still wasn’t cooperative like I wanted it to be, and I would still continue straightening it the days I wouldn’t surrendering it to messy buns and ponytails. By now, I had been putting Rogaine on my hair for a few months as per my dermatologist’s recommendation. I did notice that the fulness of my scalp seemed to thicken, the Rogaine meeting my expectations. It wasn’t until towards my junior year of high school when my hair finally waterfalled into beautiful, waves and curls that I became content with it. Still, as many curly-haired people know all too well, there are still some bad hair days when the curls just keep going crazy.
My female pattern baldness was something I was very embarrassed about, hiding it from even my closest friends. It wasn’t until months ago when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and became intrigued by a post from Kayla Itsines, a personal trainer and fitness expert I have been admiring for multiple years, that I felt inspired to open up more about it. I love Kayla for her constant positivity, inspiration, and encouragement to others for reaching and maintaining their fitness goals. This particular post really resonated with me–Kayla was talking about her hair, revealing that she, too, had hair loss problems. And she was revealing it to her followers–a number of millions of people. She explained how she has felt insecure about it, but how she doesn’t put too much focus on it. While I don’t feel like I worried too much about my hair, and was able to appreciate my physical features beyond it, my hair loss has also been something that I’ve been insecure about. Sometimes, despite wanting to have a certain hairstyle on a particular day, I will opt for a different one that hides my baldness. It really helped seeing that there was someone else like me who experiences female pattern baldness, especially seeing how confident Kayla is, not letting her hair loss “rule her life.” Her boldness in being upfront about her female pattern baldness propelled me to do the same; so, thanks to Kayla, here I am, being open about my female pattern baldness. It’s really not a big deal if people know about one of my flaws–everyone has flaws. And my flaws, especially my physical ones, don’t define me.
**Name has been changed to protect the person’s identity.