I wanted to love myself. I wanted something to change. After years of therapy, coaching and other healing work, the world began to look up. I was full of possibility. The secret that I kept close to me, hidden in the shadows for 31 years was now ready to be shared and I was ready to share it. I chose to bring my secret to the light. I wanted to celebrate It, and who I had become. I wanted to use It to help others – people like me, people who felt ashamed; men who felt embarrassed, and women who felt ugly. What was it after all of these years that was different that allowed me to go from feeling shame to wanting to love myself? I had made a choice to finally let go of the past. I chose to let go of the memories I experienced growing up. I chose to let go that I was called “freak” on a daily basis. I chose to let go that I was bullied in school.
Because here is the truth: those are all just that – memories. And memories are not what is happening in my life today. I’m no longer a little girl being made fun of, with no skills to stand up for herself. I am now a grown-ass woman who is proud of herself. I’m thrilled with who I’ve become and pleased that I’ve chosen to reveal my true self and my life living with trichotillomania.
So, I took a deep breath, exhaled, and I wrote my story. And had it published in The Huffington Post. Seeing it in the media, online, in color, in the world, I knew what I was meant to become – a feeling not to dissimilar to another moment in my life.
I remember the first time I was looking into my playroom mirror. I was studying my face. As a 7-year-old I was fascinated by all parts of my body, but especially my face. I am not sure what had me reach my hand up towards my eyes but I did. I began to feel my eyelashes between my fingers; the texture, the softness, the vulnerability of a single strand of hair . . . and then PLUCK. I pulled one out. There was something quite satisfying about that feeling; the power, the pain, something being created and destroyed all in a single moment. That was the moment that changed me, defined me, shaped me into the person I am today. It was that day that started my downward spiral.
Over the years I plucked the hair on my head, eyebrows and eyelashes. I have been through many stages and phases. Sometimes no one could tell a thing. Other times, I had no eyelashes no eyebrows, and the bald spots on my head were the size of a baseball. I hated looking in a mirror. I loathed myself. I knew I was different. And in those brief moments I felt normal, days I looked normal, there was always some kid, or worse some adult, to remind me who I really was. Different. Alone. Ashamed. It was dreadful.