It is a year today since dad shaved my head. So I thought I’d play a game of spot the difference! On the left is a photo taken just after the big shave which I didn’t post on social media but sent to a few friends. The picture on the right, I took yesterday morning. There are four main differences that I can spot – see what you think before reading on!
1 – My eyebrows! One set are real, one set are tattoos. Both equally as good!
2 – The pictures on the wall are different. Life affirming quotes replace pictures of friendships that have faded over the last 365 days.
3 – The suitcase that held the hopes of going back to Dubai has been put away and in its place is Grandma’s chair. This little area is now where I sit to write my blogs and ideas for books. My little, quiet safe place.
4 – My face! I look at the picture on the left and remember how painfully hard it was to take this photo. After that I didn’t look at myself or take photos for a good few months. It was a relief to rid the pain staking possibility of hair loss each morning but it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had or possibility will ever have to make. Yet now there is a little smile. There is a little more confidence. There is a little more acceptance. Being bald is a far cry from what I hoped I would look like a year on but it is my reality.
The picture I did post on social media a year ago was this:
I tried to deal with what was happening with humour. Humour has been massively important to me this year. At times I use it as a defence mechanism but most of the time it’s a coping mechanism because if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry and although I’ve cried a lot, I think on balance I’ve probably laughed more. I did make it through the day and I have made it through the year and it has taught me more about life, friendships, resilience and family than I could ever have imagined. I wouldn’t say I’m a better person because of this experience but I would say I’m a more rounded person. I have more empathy for people, I know that I can face adversity and remain positive for the majority of the time and above anything else I’ve learnt that society can be cruel and unkind but that on the whole, people are kind and open to learning about things they may have no previous understanding of.
I’ll always continue to raise alopecia awareness whether my hair returns or not because I will always consider myself an alopecian. I have drawn strength from others with the condition so I would like to think by continuing to spread awareness, someone else will be able to gain strength and have hope. Who knows what next year’s spot the difference will look like? Life is unpredictable but we only get one chance at it. So, my mantra as always, is to try to find the sunshine in every day.