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  • Pat­rina M. Clark, SPHR, HCS, RACC
    Speaker | Trainer | Con­sul­tant | Coach
18 Feb

I Am Not My Hair

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About 10 years ago, I was diag­nosed with scle­ro­derma, an autoim­mune dis­ease where basi­cally the body turns on itself and begins to attack healthy cells. It is a chronic dis­ease that affects about 300,000 and for which there is presently not a cure.

For­tu­nately, I was diag­nosed with the less severe form of the dis­ease, known as Lim­ited Sys­temic Scle­ro­derma. And, while I cer­tainly have some chal­lenges, I am mind­ful that it could be con­sid­er­ably more chal­leng­ing (which, inter­est­ingly, I observe to be true about most things — per­spec­tive is a won­der­ful thing).

About a year ago, I expe­ri­enced notable hair loss. which was incred­i­bly dis­heart­en­ing because I’d always had such beau­ti­ful hair and grew up in that gen­er­a­tion who believed a woman’s hair was her crown­ing glory. So, I started wear­ing wigs. While they looked nice enough, they really got to be a pain to main­tain … and, I was feel­ing so inse­cure about my appear­ance that I didn’t want to go out­side with­out them. I tran­si­tioned from wigs to a full weave. I loved the con­ve­nience and the look.

After a year, I was curi­ous to really see how my hair was doing (beyond the bimonthly redo), so I took out the weave (actu­ally, my cousin did), deep con­di­tioned my hair and spent a cou­ple of days with it.

I was so thrilled with my hair that I posted this pic­ture to my Face­book page, and the out­pour­ing of pos­i­tiv­ity was over­whelm­ing. The emo­tional con­se­quences of deal­ing with a chronic dis­ease can be over­whelm­ing at times. You can feel so alone and iso­lated – and, some­times embar­rassed. One of the ways I’ve cho­sen to deal with it is to just be more open about some of my chal­lenges. I believe that we are truly all con­nected and to expe­ri­ence the full ben­e­fit and power of that con­nec­tion we occa­sion­ally have to “plug in” with others.

So, as I grow in my self-​acceptance, fully embrac­ing my com­plete human expe­ri­ence, I come to love more and more every aspect of “me” that truly defines who I am … and, among them most assuredly is not my hair!

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