One of the main reasons I started the OpticOptimist.ch was this posting. I wanted to write this for a long time. The target audience is my former self so you might not find much value in this.
Hello former self,
This is your future self and I want to give you some advice about life, hair loss to be precise.
I. Growing up
Growing up everybody always complemented you about your hair. I know you have not been proud about much except your hair. Your hair was for a long time the one thing that you had positive associations with.
No wonder it came as a shock when you started discussing this topic during your teens and you learned about hair loss. You realized that there is a high probability that you will be affected by this problem.
II. Self esteem
Your self esteem took another hit when you thought about the future of your hair. How is hair loss going to affect your life, especially your love life is what you asked your self. Let me assure you that there is nothing to worry about. But more on that later. I know you are scared and slightly depressed about what the future holds for you.
III. An insecure young adult
As you feared, hair loss is affecting you and at an early age. Around 19 years old you started seeing the first signs of it. This instantly put a target on you. Already low on confidence, this made it much worse. Friends and family started to notice. Every time someone mentioned the topic, a cold shudder went down your spine. You realized how insensitive people were about this topic around you.
Some people even point your hair loss out in front of others. This always makes you cringe and stutter out a lame excuse. You instantly tried to change the topic right away in such situations. Also you realize how uncomfortable people around you become when someone wants to discuss your hair loss.
The worst situations always arise when you meet people that you haven‘t seen for a long time. „Hey what happened to your hair?“, „did you study so much that you lost your hair?“ or „are you already loosing your hair at this age?“ are some of your favorites.
The outlook on life and getting older turned you sentimental, sad and sometimes lost. The world was a dark place around this time and you felt vulnerable.
IV. Lying to yourself constantly
Your low point was a birthday where you thought that probably in your next life you will have a shot at being happy. You did not beliefe in a next life but at least it sounded comforting.
You also learned something valuable about people during this time of weakness. There were three camps.
There were the rude insensitive jerks that made fun about your predicament. The people that had no shame mentioned this in front of a crowd also belong to that group.
The second group realized that you suffer and avoided the topic at all cost.
Camp number three were people that wanted to support you. These people tried to help you, even though you did not see that at the time. „Why don‘t you shave of your hair“ was a helpful phrase some people told you.
But you don‘t have the courage to face your demon at this time. Instead you keep lying to yourself. You compare yourself to others with less hair. Compared to them you still have lots of hair. The problem was, the moment you know you are going to get bold, people know as well. There is no point in hiding it. Hiding it makes it even worse. Look at all the poor saps roaming the streets trying to hide the fact that they are loosing their hair. The first thing you notice when looking at this people is their attempt to cover it up, exactly what they don‘t want.
V. Taking action
After a couple of years and a lot less hair you decided to finally take action. Shaving your hair was the plan for a while. The timing was never right tho and you postponed it for months. The opportunity presented itself before a 2 week vacation in Greece. After making the decision to shave your head you already felt relieved. You will feel uncertain in the beginning with your new look because you are afraid what people might say.
In the end you get mostly positive feedback and after a while no one really notices anymore. Instantly you notice some benefits.
- You save a lot of time because you don‘t need to care about your hairstyle
- You will look a lot younger
- You feel more comfortable being just yourself for the first time in your life
- The opposite gender notices your new confidence (should have shaved the hair when I was single).
- With the hair gone there is a heavy weight lifted from your shoulders instantly
VI. Not looking back
Afterwards you will feel silly that something so trivial as hair bothered you for so many years. The realisation that most fears were just in your own head is a relief.
Your outlook on life changes with that realisation for good. The way a person looks is not important, only the way you feel counts. Fitting in is not required to live a happy life. Pleasing other people, especially people you don’t know, is a game you will never win.
Being just yourself is enough and nothing more is required. If there are people that don’t accept you that way (and there will be many) ignore them. Surround yourself with interesting people that are open minded.
Life is to short and you should not waste time agonizing how people think about you. If you do, you will never feel worthy and you are always on the defense.
The whole experience occupied me for a good part of my life and I am grateful for this lesson. After I decided to attack instead of hid in shame, the path revealed itself in front of my eyes. I came out stronger, wiser and more confident than I have ever been. That would have not been possible if I did not have hair loss. So in a way I am thankful for this because in the end it made me the person I am today and I couldn‘t wish for more.
Stay positive my friends and don‘t let anyone drag you down. Keep in mind there is always an upside to every problem, sometimes it just takes a while to find it.