The Pink Elephant in the Living Room

“I thought I looked great that day and even though everyone said that I looked great…most thought I was sick.”

On this day, I woke up feeling energetic and alive. Everything seemed to fall into place so easily and I love it when a plan comes together like that. It was one of those days where all the traffic lights throughout your day turned to green.

As I was preparing to go to a little gathering, I thought it would be great to put on something special. I took a relaxing shower and as the water trickled down my head I thought, ” Yeah, it would be a good day to grab those special jeans that looked as if they were custom made for me, put on that funky little top I bought last week and put on my best makeup. As the relaxing shower came to an end I got dressed stepped back into the bathroom and laid out the big guns! All my facial creams, and shadows, lipsticks and began to create what I thought was masterpiece in the making. You know what I mean… one of those times you look in the mirror and you say to yourself… “Yeah… I look good today!”.

After I received my stamp of approval from my family I headed on my way to that special gathering. Feeling self-assured and energetic, I proceeded out the door in hopes of having a great time.

I arrived at the gathering still excited to mingle and engage in some fun and enlightening conversation. And I did. Seemed everyone else was empowered with excitement and the room reeked of high octane energy. It was a fun time to be had by everyone! I ran into a few people I knew and made new friends along the way. We devoured full course meals of many varieties.

Almost everyone I encountered was generous in their compliments about me. Everyone said that I look great. I got compliments from my outfit to how glowing and pretty they thought my skin looked. Some folks took it a step further and said they thought I was one of the most stylish people they had known. Wow! I was on fire that night. As people danced around me and mingled with one another, I took a moment to quietly reflect on how inspired I was by all the energy and compliments that were given to me. I enjoyed everyone as much as they enjoyed me! Pictures and videos were taken with threats of posting them on one of those social networks for the world to see, but it was just fine with me. Outside of a few awkward poses and some candid facial expressions, I was certain the photos would reflect the positive and fun time we all had.

As the evening progressed, I could see people preparing their take home dishes, glowing from theirs cell phone screens while jotting down everyone’s contact information. It was time for us all to leave and I began working my way over to whomever was in my path to get some hugs, kisses and squeezes. All my actions were reciprocated and everyone promised everyone that they would stay in touch. The evening ended just the way it started. I was thankful for the good time we had.

The next day as promised, many of those candid shots ended up on a website or two. And just as I predicted you see how much fun we had. All those images were “photo memory book ready”! I scoured over the photos anticipating what I would find next. Before I knew it,… it was off to start my busy day. A week went by and folks were still talking about our little outing. A few more weeks went by as usual and then I got a phone call from one of the friends that attended the gathering. We laughed all over again about our event. Then she said, that one of the people who was at the event asked how I was doing and if I was OK. My friend then went on to explain that quite a few people had approached her about what was going on with me. I asked my friend what they were saying and if all the people inquiring about me were people who had just met me. She said, “No”. They all wanted to know if you were sick, did you have cancer and some weren’t quite sure what you had, heard it was alopecia, but didn’t know what it was or why it even caused me to lose my hair. But they all said you looked great! I listened quietly to my friend knowing this is nothing unusual for someone to be inquisitive about my bald head. No big deal there. Also, some even think I am just being stylish with all the creative ways to tie a scarf or embellish one of my cheap store bought hats.

For me, it was the fact that while I thought I looked great that day and even though everyone said that I looked great… most thought I was sick. How do you look sick and great at the same time? Most people would say that a person looked great in spite of being sick, right? Did I look like a sick person who in spite of being sick looked great? Why is it that a woman can go into a room, be bald and everyone assumes she’s sick? Had it been one of my male counterparts, no one would have paid any attention. Did all the people who said I looked great really mean what they said? I’m not sick. I get weary of people always associating me with being sick. Why can’t it just be that I looked good and leave it at that?

I kinda felt that people weren’t being sincere with all the wonderful comments I received that night. And at the same time, I totally understand that they are not going to just come out and say what’s on their minds. I would probably react the same way if the shoe were on the other foot. This issue is what makes having alopecia sometimes difficult to process. I was the “oddity”  in   the   room  that night. I was “the bald woman” that night. All the while, I thought I looked hot! (laughing)

Being a bald woman sometimes makes me feel like the old analogy… “the pink  elephant  sitting  in  the living  room “, that everyone sort of pretends they don’t see…or are too uncomfortable to look at, or talk about… so they just act like it doesn’t exist. The question then becomes, “What would you expect people to do?” I don’t have the answer to that question.

What ‘s important is that while I was having all that fun, I didn’t see myself as an oddity or the”pink  elephant   in  the living  room “. I felt beautiful, energetic and alive. I can’t control people’s thoughts about what I look like or expect them to not think that I could be sick…but what I can do is accept who I am and continue to feel beautiful, alive and energetic. You see, this way…the thought of me being sick may come up  in  their minds, but it will be as a quick afterthought. I believe that what they will remember is that I carried myself with dignity and pride. I want their ending thought and impression to be that they will look at me and say…”She is beautiful.”.

I’d like to tell others who have alopecia that no matter what type or degree, they shouldn’t treat other people’s reaction to them as “the pink  elephant   in  the living  room “. I feel you shouldn’t and can’t ignore the fact that people are going to question your hair loss….And if they do, don’t dissipate…educate!!! Whatever you do, just be you…which is beautiful, inside and out.

As always, “Be Bald and Be Happy! Holla!”