Tuesday, 3 July 2012

This is My Story - My Hair(loss) Update

Okay, it's about time eh? Y'all have been waiting for this I know.
And... well... yes, I have been procrastinating... but you can understand why right?
The anniversary of that fateful day came and went... June 25th 2010... when the first bald patch appeared.
Do you know it still moves me to tears? God it's so painful...
Who'd have thought it would still have so much power?
*deep breath*

I've just looked back at my posts:
16 November 2010 : Images of the progressive hair loss
20 May 2011: More images

Staring at those pictures and reading my words - dang! I remember exactly how fragile I was feeling. 
Utterly devastated, humiliated and completely helpless. I tried everything to keep that hair on my head. *sigh*

And you know - I am still in tears as I type this. I have been avoiding giving an update because giving you an update means reliving that hell. Losing my hair was my public hell - for everyone to see. Whenever I left my house.

I felt totally naked. Stripped. ... and most of all I felt ugly.

Losing my hair brought me 'face-to-face (funny that) with my own face. And I hated it. I've never felt particularly pretty, I'm short.... I have puffy eyes... a huge forehead... and old acne scars... and did I mention that  I'm short ... and my eyes are HUGE (tennis balls - one brother called them, 'frying pan eyes' the other brother would joke).

All of that stared me straight in the face. Every damned day.
No longer could I draw confidence from :
"Ok so I may be plain Jane but at least my hair looks good today. I'm gon' work it girl!"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I idolised my hair but I sure as heck hid behind it. I drew comfort from it. Whether it was relaxed and cut in a Halle Berry-like pixie cut or natural and curling up all over the place. It was mine, it was me and I'm sorry India - but I WAS MY HAIR.

It was an undeniable part of me.
It had been every where I had been and seen everything I'd seen. 

When I was ill - it lost weight with me, thinning at the roots... and when I recovered, so did my hair, growing thick and lustrous once more. Even my locs bore witness to my testimony:

  that funny old loc with the skinny middle? Oh that showed where I had been strong and healthy (fat tip), then had a baby (skinny middle section caused by post partum shedding), then recovered (strong fat root).

I loved  every freaky little lump and bump - even the unruly bunching!

My hair told my story :
"yes dear, right here is where I defiantly stopped braiding and banding and my hair bunched up like mad (tut tut)".

My hair was MY STORY.

And then it was gone. 

And ... no lie people... it felt like a deep part of me was gone too. Maybe forever.
*deep breath*

For months I clung to the fragile hope that my hair would grow back. And everyday the stark naked truth staring me in the face was... BALD.

Not even peach fluff. You could ice skate on it - it so smooth and empty. I think a really good word would be 'Barren'; like a wasteland. Empty. Incapable of sustaining life. At least that's how it felt.

I hid from cameras and almost constantly wore a scarf (cold weather feels like a painful vice to a bald head - it gave me headaches!).

I graduated from scarves to wigs and back again. On a good day, I'd rock the old head (ie bald head) but it wasn't a fav look of mine, simply because I hated it so much.

No matter how many people would say "Oh you look stunning"; I couldn't hear it, and I couldn't see it because this wasn't a hairstyle I chose (like Amber Rose or Alek Wek) this was something imposed on me over which I had no control and I hated it.

By the end of the first year I made peace with 'the old head', I would love it even if it never birthed another strand of hair again ever! My emotional skin thickened - I didn't care so much when people pointed or stared. I learned to hold my head up again and stride with a little swag in my step - when for so long I had been scurrying along hoping the pavements would swallow me up before anyone noticed me (or it).

I left my banking job and started on a path of rediscovery.
Who is The Bajan Lily? Could I even remember? And what makes her happy?

And so I went home (to Barbados) and surrounded myself with MY family (& frenz!!!) and MY (kind of) people; and I sat on sandy beach and swam in crystal clear waters with silver fish, and walked barefoot across green pastures and ate good food and read good books and played with my children and my friends' children and chatted incessantly with old friends and... I started to remember who the hell I was and what I was capable of.

I could STILL BE ME just a different me. A me-with-no-hair, yes, but it didn't mean that I had to give up my dream of becoming a (superduperfantastic) Sisterlocks Consultant. Sure, it would be harder to build a portfolio when you're as bald as your client's bottom, having locs to showcase helps close the deal in 9 out of 10 case but I would just have to learn to be the best bald-headed consultant in London.

Years ago, something happened that almost killed me, I was completely crushed and felt as though I would never get up again, I had been knocked so far down... and I remember I had a dream about a dealer and a deck of cards. God was the dealer and 4 cards were placed face down before me.

I woke up before I turned those cards over but I knew that it didn't really matter what those cards were. The message was that no matter what cards I was dealt - my attitude would determine my altitude. The only way to work my way back up from where I had been beat down was to 'play my hand the best I could'. I took that message and ran with it.

I came back from the dead then... and I chose to come back again this time. I printed out a picture of random cards and wrote on it "These are the cards God dealt me, I'm gonna play my hand as best I can" and I looked at it and drew strength from that every day for over 2 years.

I did everything I could to strengthen myself.

Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physical and holistically. 

By resigning from Investment Banking I got rid of a major source of stress, strife and contention for me (you can't have two kids back to back and not expect war!lol)

I started training as a Holistic Therapist specialising in Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Massage and Reflexology. I learned so much about how the body is such a fine tuned wonder and how all the systems on the body depend on and interact with eachother - anything that knocks one system off-balance will invariably lead to a manifestation of dysfunction or disorder somewhere (sometimes sooner rather than later!). I had a new objective, now I wanted to be the most BALANCED BALD-HEADED CONSULTANT in LONDON. (Oh yes, I'm competitive).  Weekly treatments were a standard part of training - my Lord what a blessing!

Compare these two baldo pics. The first was more of a grimace than a smile (2010, and hating the hairloss). The second is a genuine smile that came with acceptance and the decision that 'hair or no hair - I would still rise".

(if you've managed to read this far - give yourself a pat on the back! Thwap! That one's from me.)

By August 2011, armed with a strengthened mind, balanced body and empowered spirit - SOMETHING STARTED TO HAPPEN (click below).
31 October 2011: New Growth

Y'all remember that post eh? Gosh - what a different space I was in!

And growth was coming in many different forms: my hair, my business, my skill set... my confidence and self-esteem...

Let me tell the rest of this story by sharing these photos cos I feel like I've been talking forever - in fact I'm sure I've done more than enough talking for today especially since His Royal Highness (HRH) aka the husband is starting to give me bad looks...

The journey isn't over yet, I still don't have a full head of hair but I want to share something else

Last August, when I told my Pastor about what was happening (not that he couldn't see for himself lol) he prayed over an oil blend I made and we did an experiment.

NB: As regular followers of this blog are aware, the 'map of Africa lizard shape' (kinda down the middle of my head) started to grow first with the usual TLC I was giving my head ie no affirmations, no prayers, just time and hope :) 

To the left side of my head I would apply the oil blend (every day) and I would give thanks that every hair on my head is numbered and declare that my whole body would work in accordance with God's divine will.

To the right side of my head I would have topical-immuno therapy treatments,  applied at a specialist hospital as part of their medical trials - once a month.

Fact: the left side of my head started to regrow hair before the right side.
Fact: the left side of my head has fuller coverage  than the right side.
Fact:  due to the first two facts above, the left side of my head has longer hair than the right side.
This is my testimony.
That is all.

(click on the photos to enlarge)


That's all for now folks. I think I need to go into hiding for a while now that I've laid myself bare like this. Aaaargh!

With Love,

The 'Blooming' Bajan Lily

These are my words and this is my journey, from 'there to hair'!
My life, the lessons learned in and through love and loves ones; and my hair affairs.
Web: http://www.lovelifelocs.com
Twitter: @almocado
Facebook: Facebook.com/almondavocado


CaribSun said...

Just for the record, because it doesn't really matter, but you are beautiful. Very pretty face. Hair or no hair. But more importantly, you are lovely on the inside. Beautiful spirit and soul. That is what really matters.But I believe I am preaching to the choir. I'm sure this is something that you know in your heart.

Titus 2 Thandi said...

Eyes that pop gove s a brighter view into your pure soul! So bring them on! Thanks for the update, I've been wondering...

Lojo said...

Amazing Annette. I too am moved to tears....CaribSun is right - you are beautiful on the inside and out. I am very lucky to know you. Stay strong and beautiful xxx lojo

Anonymous said...

Hey girl that was beautiful!! Look at your beautiful hair growing!!.......
I can't even imagine how you must've felt/feel but I sure empathise. You are very strong and that's what's got/getting you through with gods help. May your hair continue to grow like Samsons..lol
Look forward to seeing you on the 28th x

TruMiracle said...

Thank you!!! Words cannot express how grateful I am that you've chosen to share your story. I may not know you personally, however, I've been following you for a few years, so I feel like I do. You are an amazing & beautiful woman. Your testimony has given me inner strength. Have you ever thought about writing a book? You are an excellent writer. Girl, you've got skills!!! May God continue to bless you.

LisaMayers said...

Netty how could you do this to me? The tears! The tears! Mi ah cry eye watah,but hormones or not, I'd be in bits. Anyone who knows you even slightly would be. I'll never forget when you first showed me the hairloss. I was hardly tactful or diplomatic, was I? But over the years my beautiful cousin has coped and overcome, by God's grace, and I can't tell you how much joy fills my heart to see your recovery and progress. love you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your courage and strength. You are beautiful!

Anonymous said...

wow, firstly, you are stunning, beautiful and I love the way you have written this, I can totally hear you saying this.... Well done in sharing!! Its hard, but so brave of you!!

ANDu: WAHHHOOOOO that the prayer side of your head is growing the most hair.... you my dear sister have had a fuller life than most, and I love how through it all, you can see God's hand on you, and just pray I will adopt this same attitude as i do life....

Love you BEAUTIFUL lady!!!
love ur sister Emily Ciorra.... xxx

Deborah said...

Well, I love you with or without the hair :), but I'm so glad that it's growing back. I know it was hard for you at times, but my fav part was your dream about the cards you were dealt and your attitude determining your altitude ... I love it!

Suzanne said...

this moved me to tears...what a journey...but you are B.A.D Blessed and Delivered!!!! and oooh so beautiful!!!!

msshelle75 said...

Yes, the ladies are right. You are beautiful with and without hair and you have the most beautiful eyes (regardless of what your brother says). Thank you for sharing your story God is good allllllll the time. You are an inspiration not only in the natural hair community, but also for those of us who are praying and believing for a breakthrough in our lives. Stay blessed and thank you for sharing your testimony.

Nai said...

Dear Lovely Bajan Lily

... And I bet you thought this was about losing your hair ... This testimony is speaking volumes to me, and I don't doubt countless others, He who has an ear let him hear ...

I hated that this was happening to you and felt useless, and though I struggle to understand what HE permits, HE knows what the end will be. Bless you for your strength, courage and resilience. xx

Ps, ALL the best things come in SMALL (short) packages KMT ! Xx

JUST Euphoria said...

I love you so much! you bring tears to my eyes look at how God works! I always compare my self to the story of Job when crazy unusual out of the ordinary stuff that just don't make sense comes my! It's amazing how God will give us a new purpose or a new direction that He may have been trying to give us all along but we were distracted by something or someone! We all have our own special testimony that encourages someone else that may feel like they are on an island all by themselves, you are my inspiration of hope, courage & strength to press on & hold my head up high with or without hair! in your spare time check out this web site : Lisa Perry the illusionist @ WWW.Illusionshaircenter.com. She has some awesome videos of her product on youtube as well as Facebook & blooger! she is making an undetectable hair piece for me! Be blessed

Kreyola said...

Oh wow...wow. Gosh I remember your first post about your hair lost and looking at this post, you still the most courage, sweetest person ever. I LOVE how you continue to share your journey. Wow....this post has really moved me (*tearing up*). Looking forward to more posts and stay blessed.

Bajan Lily said...

Honestly, I thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart - straight back up again.

I apologise for not doing so sooner - but after I hit the publish button - I kinda avoided reading this as I didn't want to read/face the raw emotion in my words again... too too raw.

However, I am GLAD that this post evoked such an outpouring of positive encouragement... who knew so many people would find this story inspirational???? I'll have to write a post about that too...

Ladies (Euphoria, Carib Sun, Nai, Kreyola, Lisa, TruMiracle, Thandi, Kinks, Suzanne, Lojo, Msshelle - and all the anons too: I truly thank you for letting me know you have been standing with me in silence - all this time. xxx

anthia-ofo said...

Bajan you have given me increased faith and hope in our good God. Thank You Jesus. I love me some good news!

Mimi said...

This is an awesome testimony!! So happy for you!

The Chick said...

Know that you have moved my soul.

Know that women all over are struggling to hold on to their faith in the face of the madness and your walk with Jesus is encouragement.

Know that I believe you are strong, blessed and favored.

Know that He chose YOU to showcase His strength in this battle. The battle was never yours dear but thank you for carrying the cross.

Stay blessed!

Anonymous said...

Bajan, I thank you for sharing YOUR story because before now I never knew anybody else went through this. I am going through this now, but I feel like YOU were put here and put throught this to help the hundreds of thousands that battle with hair loss.

Without your faith, strenghth, and example .... we would still be empty.

God bless you, sista!


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