I am honored to be a patron of Alopecia UK and hope that my journey can help others struggling with this challenging condition.
The most difficult aspect of Alopecia is the overall sense of powerlessness associated with sudden, physical change. We find ourselves hairless in a hair obsessed culture, wondering how we got here. At school, we are faced with bullying. In society, we encounter stares. Life can feel lonely and unfulfilling when a person is experiencing Alopecia for the first time.
Eventually, we may learn to adapt and appreciate beauty without the confines and restrictions of hair. But we still wonder why this chose us. Are we being punished? Celebrated? Gifted?
I embarked on this journey twenty-one years ago. Perhaps this was life’s answer to my early questioning of purpose. I struggled with the adjusting and “why me?” questions throughout much of my childhood. How had my sister inherited a healthy mane while I was stuck with stringy hair and bald patches? I tried treatments but quickly tired of routinely feeling like a guinea pig, for the latest extortionately priced hair growth treatment. So, wigs became a more viable option. They allowed me to “pass” and live my life as much as possible in the moment. But as I got older, I started to outgrow them; feeling that they were obscuring a rich part of my overall being. I had turned to classical singing at age twelve and was finding it harder to perform under the auspices of my disguise. I wanted to be free but I didn’t know how. The fear that paralyzed me on stage was the same fear that kept me in a wig weighing me down emotionally.
With every new wig (more advanced than the last), I felt like I was getting closer to reclaiming my power. But this new “power” came with a hefty price. I was slipping further away from who I really was. A turning point in my life came in a dream that made me realize that I couldn’t be me in someone else’s hair. This dream told me to “face the fear and do it anyway.” I woke up that morning with an incredible sense of empowerment. For the first time in my life, I had the answer I had always been looking for. My voice was big enough for the world: I just had to be willing to share it. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.
Margaret H Baker
Margaret adds: I do not endorse being bald over a wig; as it's about getting to know and feel comfortable with your "best self".
You can see much more about Margaret and her successful career on her own website at www.margarethbaker.com