My Journey in Accepting My Alopecia

What does it mean to be truly beautiful? This is a question I had asked myself for
most of my life and it took me a long time to find the answer to that.

I lost all of my hair at age 2, due to an autoimmune condition called, Alopecia. It
wasn’t just the hair on my head I lost but the hair all over my body. It was extremely
tough growing up hiding behind my wig. I was bullied and teased all of the time for
my lack of eyebrows and eyelashes and for wearing a wig. I thought I was so
embarrassed and ashamed of my bald-head and Alopecia that I just wanted to hide. I
didn’t know anyone else who had Alopecia and as a result I felt very alone and like
an outcast. All I wanted was to fit in, be like all of the other kids and just be beautiful.
I thought that only girls with hair were beautiful.

Alopecia isn’t just losing your hair, but it is losing apart of you. It rocked my world,
tore down my confidence, and made me really hate myself. I remember growing up I
would avoid looking at myself in the mirror at all costs, because when I looked back
I didn’t see anything other than my bald head reflecting off the mirror. To me, there
was nothing beautiful about this.

When a kid would make fun of me, calling me ‘baldy’ or say ‘Lindsay has no hair,
what a freak’ I would say nothing, because they were right. I had no hair. I became
very quiet and reserved.

I was however very blessed to be given athletic ability and a desire to be great, and
work hard. I picked up the game of basketball and would race home from school
everyday and shoot hoops in my driveway for hours. I would pretend to make the
game winning shot, the crowd would go wild and chant my name. This was my
escape from the real world and my Alopecia. In these moments that I can still vividly
remember I was just like everyone else. During this time I began to stand out from
my peers again, but this time it was in a positive way.

I went on to have a great basketball career in high school and break countless school
records and even receive several scholarship offers to play in college. But, during all
of the time I still kept my wig taped to me head, and not talking about my Alopecia. I
thought about it a lot less because all I was focused on was basketball, and chasing
after those dreams. Kids were still mean to me, and made comments but it bothered
me less.

However, deep down I still felt like something was missing and I wasn’t quite me, or
the person I was meant to me.

After college was over and my basketball playing days were done I felt called to do
something else, something competitive because that’s who I am. I decided to run a
marathon (because that’s what everyone wants to check off their bucket-list, right?).
I really had no idea what I was doing and was very undertrained, but I just figured it
was just running and I could do that.

I had no idea at the time, but that first marathon would launch me onto the greatest
adventure of my life and open so many doors for me leading to some of the greatest,
most cherished moments of my life. I will never forget that race when something
just clicked. I was running down the streets of Duluth, Minnesota and for the first
time I felt strong, fierce and like I could really do anything. No game of basketball or
any sport I had ever played had made me feel this way. This is when I knew running
was special and something I wanted to pursue. I wanted to be a runner. I wanted to
get faster, and be better.

I began to race in marathons all of the country. There is something so exciting that
just sets my soul on fire to be racing the streets of a new city knowing the hard work
I put it to train and get there and then to leave it all out there. This is my me time
where I learn so much about myself and what I am truly capable of. I never saw
myself as a runner, but now I live for those early morning runs on the open roads
when the city is still sleeping and it is just me and the sound of my shoes hitting the
pavements as my thoughts keep me going.

The more I started to run the more confidence I started to gain in myself. When I run
I feel like Super Woman and like I can truly do anything. I had always prayed for the
day I be ok and accept my Alopecia and bald head. It is something I had always
wanted to embrace but was too scared and didn’t feel like I was pretty, worthy or
good enough to love myself for. Then one day on a 20-mile training run, mid-run I
ripped off my wig with tears filling my eyes. I had finally gotten to the point in my
life I had always dreamed of. This moment was so special to me. I will never forget
it, and every training cycle I look forward to that long run and cross that same spot
and still to this day think of that life changing. I hung up my wig and haven’t looked
back since.

After this I went on to run a personal best in my first wig-free marathon. All of the
head rubs, and high fives I got flooded my heart. I have went on to 33 marathons
since. I love being know as the ‘bald runner’. It was through running I learned how
strong, beautiful and fierce I am.

So to everyone my advice is to own what you have, be proud of yourself and never
give up on your dreams. You are simply beautiful! And the most important thing in
life is being kind, caring and a good person. That is truly beautiful.

Written by: Lindsay Walter 

To follow Lindsay on Instagram you can find her at @lindsayhannah3

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Hi Friends! I run the Instagram Accounts @HilariousHumanitarian & @HumanitarianMom I am a Psychotherapist, Writer, Advocate, Educator & Life Coach. I am really passionate about the field of Mental Health, the ways in which humans connect with one another and optimizing our time on Planet Earth. I believe humor is a connector and opens doors where they otherwise would have been closed.

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