The Emotional Side of Life

The Oscar Awards Moment

The buzz today around the world circles around opinions of what took place at the Oscar Awards when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage after an insensitive joke touched a deep nerve.

Violence is not the answer. But it can always serve a purpose when you cannot change what happened. It may not be the “Bucket Challenge” but hey, it’s an incredible opportunity to bring awareness into something most know nothing about. So can we stop focusing on the judgement of the slap and get into the good that can come out of it?

The Light Inside the dark

Most people have no idea just what Alopecia is. They have no inside view of how devastating it can be to a woman who has been given that diagnosis, especially when she sees her hair as an important part of her identity.

It seldom holds rhyme or reason when it develops and it can hit young or old, male or female. It can come and go at any point in life and can take as long as a few months to less than a week for all your hair to fall out.

The emotions of it

It often creates a tremendous amount of intense emotions, and a common one is feeling less than whole, fractured in who you are. That can be followed by feelings of guilt and shame, after all, you’re not fighting cancer – the most associated cause of hair loss. You’re not going to die – as though you have no justification for feeling devastated. You are not fighting for your life – but now hair loss is your fight.

The process

Chunks of hair fall out. Sometimes handfuls at a time. You wonder and worry at first if it’s all just your imagination. (Whatever you do, don’t go riding on the highway in a convertible with the top down without a scarf on, or you will not look the same when you arrive at your destination. A brush and mirror won’t help.)

Some that are close will notice, others will not at first. To wear a wig or not – for most it’s not really a choice if you need to be seen in public. And no, not everyone can rock the G.I. Jane look, definitely no pun intended. Being subconscious about your looks subtracts from your self confidence. That’s a stress that cannot be expressed in adequate words. And jokes, they cut deep when made in public.

Purchasing issues

Sometimes insurance covers wigs, but sometimes they don’t. The pandemic was hard on professional stores that fitted them and some had to close their doors. Purchasing online is often hit or miss and frequently look nothing like what is pictured. Finding the look that doesn’t make you feel stupid or fake is a difficult task of it’s own and takes serious perseverance. When you do, “make it last” is something that takes effort.

Wearing it

Winter is cold on the scalp and the wind cuts through it like it’s nothing – and the wind – ugh! Try focusing on what you’re doing when your biggest fear is having it blow away on you! But you feel even less whole wearing a hat and no hair. (A hat can slide the hair off – they don’t work well together.) It takes all you have to present yourself.

In the summer heat – you sweat under it, and it itches and boy can it hold heat when you don’t want it to! At home you wear a scarf instead and family warns you (when they remember) that someone is coming with them for a visit. It’s your cue to put your hair on.

Hair adhesives – ha! They are their own challenge, and when your head is hot and sweaty, add a prayer, it’s a necessity!

Sometimes a loved one will put their arm around you to introduce you to someone they know. You quickly pull back – and give the wrong impression. You felt it slide – oh no! Now it looks like a reflection on how you feel about your loved one – ugh! Do you explain to the person they just introduced you to? Nah, that’s way too much embarrassment for all concerned. Then you worry they think your love is fake.

Zoom calls are not a spur of the moment possibility and you have to decide if the uncomfort in the heat or cold is something you are willing to endure.

Only those closest to you see the battle you struggle with, and the subject will run with a reflection of pain. Jokes made from the lack of understanding are made at the expense of others and can bring emotional reactions. Would you come to the defense of a loved one in that circumstance? How would you handle it?

The Moral of the story

People say “Be kind out there. You never know what others are struggling with.” This is a perfect example as to why.

Let’s make something good come out of this momentous incident. It got global attention. It was the Oscars – seen around the world. What better platform to raise awareness?!

Like I said before, it’s not the “Ice Bucket” challenge, but sometimes we still become messengers of the Universe. This one’s a powerful message.

Written by Melody Belliveau

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