Submitted by Nellie – You can read more about Nellie’s journey with Alopecia Areata here.
When my alopecia takes something away from me, there is usually an antidote that restores my equilibrium.
Hair needing to be cut into a pixie once some regrowth comes through? A licence to purchase a new lipstick and eyeshadow colours that compliment my new look. Alopecia Areata progressing to Universalis? A new wig cut into a sharp bob in a shade of blonde that I’d never be able to upkeep with my real hair. Braving life in the outside world without a wig at all? Easier to tackle with a new dress that gives me some extra confidence in my appearance. No hair to tie up or pin back? No need to perpetually purchase hair elastics or bobby pins when they inevitably get sucked into the hair-accessory black hole. Being unresponsive to new alopecia medications that seemed to work wonders for most other alopecians? Focus on other aspects of my physical health, applying for an AAAF sponsorship to playing tennis and stay active, have fun and remember that a bald head need not stop me from doing things I enjoy.
But the gloss does wear off even the shiniest new lip colour, and the dips in confidence and inner strength that my alopecia can bring inevitably return. In these moments, it’s hard to keep my spirits up. It’s easy to decline a catchup with friends because I’m not feeling positive, it’s easy to wear pyjamas all day because I’m not happy with my appearance so why bother getting properly dressed, it’s easy to cancel a yoga class because it’s exhausting to deal with life and alopecia sometimes, and I don’t have the energy to move my body mindfully.
But because the AAAF has committed to me, I can’t just take the easy way out and give in to these low moments when it comes to my tennis lessons.
Did I wish I could sleep in after a draining week this week, instead of having a hit? Yep. Did I get up anyway, knowing that someone else had given me an opportunity, attend my lesson, enjoy the sunshine, laugh with my coach and feel a sense of pride that I nailed a jump serve? Absolutely.
So, thank you to the AAAF for giving me the motivation to keep going when I could have taken the easy way out, and here’s hoping that I can eventually find this motivation within myself next time, and do the tricky things that I know are beneficial for myself.
Nellie is being sponsored in Tennis through the AAAF Sponsorship Program. The program is now closed and is not accepting applications, but can be read about here.