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Phoenix dragged me over to a gems and crystals stall the other week, fascinated by all the shiny things that were within her reach. While reminding her not to touch anything I was approached by the stall owner.

“Good Afternoon,” she says while eyeing my head scarf. “She’s welcome to have a look, she can’t break anything.” talking about Phoenix and her wandering hands.

“Don’t bet on it,” I replied with a smile.

“Would you like more information on what I’m offering?” the stall owner asks with a pamphlet, “I do readings and healing with the crystals. Something you might be interested in?”

“Thanks, but we’re heading to lunch,” I reply honestly.

“I know how you’re feeling,” she suddenly presses upon me, still eyeing the scarf “I was in your position five years ago. Your hair will all come back.”

Oh. “Please don’t assume,” I request with a kind smile. “Thankfully I’m not sick. But I do have Alopecia. And no, my hair may not come back, ever. But that’s okay.”

Twice that day I had someone assume I’m going through something more than Alopecia, so with September being Alopecia Areata Awareness month what better time to share my story and raise more awareness.

Every year the awareness day/week/month comes around and every year I want to post something. For the past few years I’ve considered taking pictures of the patches I was battling with and sharing them, to help raise awareness. And every year it gets to the end of the day/week/month and I’ve talked myself out of doing it.

But this year is different.

It’s my 9th year with Alopecia and once again, I’m bald. Not just a little, but completely and utterly bald. And I want to share it. I feel like I need to share it this time. Because it might start growing back tomorrow and while that would be amazing, I might have lost this opportunity.

I want to encourage others, you, to live within the skin you have. To feel confident within your own body, with your own beauty. Because everyone is beautiful, hair or no hair.

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So here I am. In all my baldness glory. Pretty cool, hey? Somedays, I will answer that with a resounding NO. Not cool, it’s hard. But today I’m okay. Today it is cool. Today I’m feeling like this is who I am and if I don’t accept it now, then when? When I’m old and still bald and wishing I’d accepted it years ago. Well, that time is now and today I’m okay. Today I’m being myself, and I’m feeling beautiful.

Did you know that 2 percent of people have some type of Alopecia? It can range from smaller coin sized ‘patches’ of hair loss on the scalp (called Alopecia Areata) to complete scalp hair loss (Alopecia Areata Totalis) to total body hair loss (Alopecia Areata Universalis). At the moment mine is flitting between Totalis and Universalis with all my scalp, eyebrows and most of my eyelashes gone but every couple of months I still have to shave my legs. #notfair

I’ve talked about it before. I’ve written many posts about my Alopecia, how liberated I felt shaving the last few strands off and how I went about getting my eyebrows tattoo’d on. If you’re a regular reader of my little blog, you know all about my Alopecia.

But I bet you also know someone else with it. Maybe they haven’t spoken up like I have. They might feel reserved, shy and even ashamed of what it’s doing to them. Yes, ashamed. Ashamed that they don’t look like who they feel they are. After writing about my Alopecia I’ve had more than one friend message me about their own battle. I bet you have friends who are battling too. I battle, often, with how I look. But the acceptance is starting to win more often.

All I ask is that you be aware. Don’t assume. Be kind. Be beautiful. Be yourself.