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Article: “Alopecia was such a dark time in my life, but now I'm actually having fun with it.”: An Interview with Marcy Gallant

“Alopecia was such a dark time in my life, but now I'm actually having fun with it.”: An Interview with Marcy Gallant
alopecia

“Alopecia was such a dark time in my life, but now I'm actually having fun with it.”: An Interview with Marcy Gallant


Meet Marcy Gallant, a 22-year-old social media influencer who is redefining beauty standards. Diagnosed with Alopecia at the age of six, Marcy's journey from self-consciousness to self-assured confidence is both inspiring and empowering. Join us as we explore her story of embracing Alopecia and celebrating individuality. 
 

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you better. Can you tell us a bit about your "backstory"?

Hi everyone, my name is Marcy. I live in Canada, about two hours away from Toronto, if you know where that is. I am 22 years old. I've had Alopecia ever since I was around six years old and I've kind of fully embraced everything about my Alopecia, love rocking the bald, but also love, you know, trying out different looks and rocking different hairstyles and stuff like that. So it's a pretty good life that I'm living.

 

Could you share your experience of when you first noticed hair loss?

I remember losing my first batch of hair when I was six. I woke up one morning with just hair on my pillow. And as a kid, I was just really confused as to why. So I ran to my mom, who assured me everything was fine. She didn't want to show any fear on her face, but years later, when I was old enough, she told me she was panicking a little bit. So we went to my family doctor to see what was going on. At the time, he said he could not help me, so he referred me to a dermatologist, and that's when I was diagnosed correctly, probably around the age of seven.

It took me at least a year to see a pediatric dermatologist. He ran a bunch of blood tests and looked at my bald spots to investigate, and that's when he diagnosed me with Alopecia Areata. I have had Alopecia Areata ever since; probably no I had. Alopecia well, Alopecia Areata since I was six. Then it only progressed into Universalis complete body baldness at 18.

 

Did the doctor, or perhaps your mother, provide any insights or information when you initially approached them about your hair loss at six? Before we continue, I'd like to express my appreciation for your openness and comfort in confiding in your mother at such a young age.

I could have remembered it better. I have faint memories that come back occasionally. That's just how they told it to me. I had a loving and welcoming family. They were incredibly supportive. I never hesitated to go to my mom for anything.

 

Can you provide any advice to parents who discover that their child has Alopecia?

I get this question a lot, and it's hard for me to answer it because I'm not a parent. Still, if I were, the best possible thing I would do is try and normalize the whole experience. Many resources now exist, including Alopecia books with children undergoing hair loss and looking different from their classmates. And I feel like, you know, just those little things like reading those books to them or, you know, not kind of forcing a wig or a hat on them to hide it. The most important thing is to listen to them, listen to what they want because I'm studying child and youth studies. You know, just like children can understand—so many different things. 

And there's probably so much fear within them because they are confused but capable. So I think the most extensive advice is to listen to them, ask them questions, ask them what they want, rather than kind of jumping to conclusions as, oh, my daughter or my son has Alopecia, and now I need to get a wig, I need to bring them wig shopping, I need to grab them a hat, I need to do this, like ask them, take the time just to sit them down, help them understand what's going on, maybe introduce them to other people in the community that you might know, get in touch with your local kind of organization. 

For me, in Canada, it's CANIF, the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation. I know that there's one in the States called NAF. So there's just so much resources. Do a little Google search. There are so many recommendations that I could make because these are all the recommendations that I wish someone gave my parents or someone gave me growing up. And now I'm a mentor for many little mentees with Alopecia. It's the most unique, most rewarding work I do because I get to give back to my younger self a little bit, reconcile with what happened to me, and then give back to my community. So. That was a long answer to your question, but normalize, reach out, talk to people, introduce them in whatever manner you think is fit and whatever way you feel comfortable doing.

 

Can you describe the emotions you experienced when you were six through ten regarding your hair loss?

I remember feeling fearful because no one else looked like me. No one else just had random bald spots popping up around their head. And I think we live in a completely different world than ten years ago. So obviously, now when I walk down the street, the likelihood of me seeing another bald person or another person wearing a wig, there's just like, there's such a high chance. I see them everywhere now. I see me everywhere. But back then, many people chose to hide all of their differences or conform to the norms that society has instilled within us.

But yeah, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to conform to society's norms. I felt like I needed to hide. I felt like I needed to wear a wig to be included in things, just to feel accepted by my peers. I was when I lost all my hair at the age of ten; that's when I had to buzz the rest of my little patches because I had lost 90% of my hair. It was such an emotional roller coaster for me because I knew I had to shave off my remaining hair. So I was very fearful, but I immediately jumped to a wig instead of reflecting on it.

But I feel like if I was a kid today and my parents could connect with other people, the whole trajectory of my Alopecia experience would have been different. Because, at the time, there was nothing, nothing like me. There was no one like me. There's nothing to help me other than the obvious, which is, okay, let's give you steroid injections into your head. Let's try topical creams. Let's put medication into your body, hoping your hair will grow back. And in the meantime, as we're trying this, let's throw a wig on you because you need to hide from society. After all, humanity will not accept you for who you are. So that's how I felt. And especially at a time when I was like the most susceptible to people's thoughts, to my peers' thoughts, especially like going through all of those identity crises that you go through at the age of like ten though, I mean we're always constantly having an identity crisis. Still, At that time, I felt like there was no other option but to hide and to conform. And that's what I did. And it took me a long time to figure out that, or find the beauty in Alopecia. But how do you find the beauty when you don't have the proper support? My parents, of course, were so supportive, my entire family. I had a few friends who gave me so much love, and I'm forever grateful for all the support that I was given. But if only there were someone in my community I knew who has Alopecia who I could grow up with, maybe things would have been different.

 

Could you please share the various treatments and approaches, both external and internal, that were attempted to address your Alopecia, as well as your emotional experiences and thoughts during this period of dealing with the condition?

Of course, my parents were there to support me with all the emotions and roller coasters that Alopecia brought into my life. But no, there was no work internally that anyone was willing to pursue. I remember when I heard about a support group in my hometown in London, Ontario, when I was about to say, 16, 17, maybe; I was so excited. And I just thought, wow, if only this happened sooner. Like actually having people to talk to. That are going through the same experiences as I am, that would have been incredible. And I feel like even if, you know, my parents were looking into things like therapy, yes, it would have maybe helped, but also it wouldn't have provided the same as just like being in a community with people like me, because my parents were able to offer me the emotional support and my friends and stuff like that. And they were looking out for my best interest.

As I said, if we were growing up in today's world, they would have been less scared to try and fix or not fix me; that's the wrong word, but try and help me feel more comfortable in society. And they thought that getting me a wig, getting me scarves, doing these treatments because I was rooting for my hair back. I was rooting, and they knew that. and I was a passionate young girl and was always very spunky and outgoing. And why did I let, why did I let myself feel a certain kind of way? Why did I have to change myself for something I couldn't control?

So, in terms of the treatments, now that's a very... That's a heavy topic for me because I felt like my body went through so much trauma medically. And I think I'm still dealing with the repercussions of it all. The thought of a young child going through all of the treatments that I went through is just appalling because I'm like, why? I understand the medical world. It's important and does so much good, but why are we pumping poison through children's bodies for something like Alopecia? Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. And for the most part, we're all very healthy, unlike other diseases. Yes, when you have one autoimmune condition, the likelihood of you having multiple. Some of us have weakened immune systems. Some of us have heightened immune systems. There isn't enough research to tell us what Alopecia is or how it all started. All we know is that you're born with a gene that any environmental factor can activate. That could be you getting sick. That can be you having an allergy. That can be you getting a vaccine. There's so much need for science, because anyone can get Alopecia. There are so many different varieties of Alopecia you can get at any single age.

But going back to the treatment, I didn't immediately start with steroid injections into my head because my parents didn't want to put me through that. So I started with the topical, you know, treatments and stuff like that. Just creams, anointments, and lotions on my skin. It made my skin very greasy. It made it very irritating. And when it wasn't working, I built up the courage to get multiple steroid injections into my scalp at the age of 10. And it was painful. And I used a drugstore kind of Emla freezing cream, which didn't do anything. So it was excruciating, especially at the back of my head. The fact that I had to do that every month to try and get my hair back was a lot, and there wasn't a lot of downtime. I just had a massive headache, and I felt kind of out of it for the rest of the day. So that took me out of school for an entire day, which sucked, and I tried various other treatments when that was failing. The kicker was when I started this treatment called methotrexate. This is probably one of the most traumatic experiences of my entire life; I still think about it daily. And from what I understood, from what I remember, my dermatologist was going to put me on this new treatment. It wasn't new for the Alopecia community. It was treated; it was used to treat multiple other conditions and stuff like that. It was found that it promoted a good amount of hair growth.

So, at that point, I was probably 14 or 15 years old and desperate. I was; I was so tired of hiding. I was so, so tired of just like. letting this consume my life, and I just wanted my hair back. And I said, whatever you got, give it to me. So we went on to do this treatment, and it was a very invasive treatment. I didn't know what was being put into my body until a few weeks in. I'm sure my parents knew, and my dermatologists knew, but the thing is, no one took the time to explain the severity of the treatment. And the moment that I found out was when I was speaking with my aunt, who had just recently been diagnosed with cancer. She was on chemotherapy, and we were on the same medication simultaneously. Mine was at a much lower dosage, but that was when I realized what was going into my body. and I started with oral medications. It was six pills every Friday with folic acid every day leading up to it. It was the worst side effect that I have ever experienced in my entire life. And I kept going because it was working. I didn't want to think about the repercussions because I didn't fully understand. All I knew was chemotherapy was going through my body, to make my hair grow back. How does that make sense scientifically? I can't tell you that. So chemotherapy is supposed to do the opposite, but who knows? And then, I switched to the injection form because it was far too consuming for my body. The injection form is there, and the likelihood of you getting more side effects is low. So, the chances of me feeling a little bit better through that. So I took it so a nurse would come to my house every Friday in a full hazmat suit because if any liquid got onto someone's skin, it would burn right through, like I saw that as a child, my nurse was lovely. My nurse Jessica, I will always remember her. And we would always call it our Friday date nights to make something out of it. And it would take them, it would take her at least three minutes to inject all of it. So I stood there strong for three minutes as she knelt down and gave me an injection to my thigh. And I stopped after a year and a half. After all, it was killing me on the inside. After all, I wasn't able to be a regular kid, because every single weekend, I would be stuck at home with so much nausea, heartburn, often puking, headaches, chills, and all of the fun stuff that comes with putting your body through chemotherapy. So, I had to make that decision myself, and my parents were 100% supportive.

And the moment I stopped, my hair fell out, all of it. All of that progress for a year and a half fell out. And only years later did I realize the repercussions. And there were so many long-term side effects that I didn't know about. And my doctors are still trying to figure it out. Still, I was diagnosed with a weird neurological condition in my leg called Functional Focal Dystonia, where sometimes I lose control over my entire limb on my right-hand side. And there is suspicion that Methotrexate could have caused that. And I also had many concussions, which could have played a role. I also have a heart condition, which is one of the long-term side effects of Methotrexate. So, to say that I'm traumatized from that medication is an understatement, but yeah,

 

So I heard you say, “ I just want to feel comfortable in my skin or I want everyone to be comfortable in their own skin.”

Yeah, I want everyone to feel comfortable in their skin. Everyone deserves that feeling of relief, you know. I'm advocating for my baldies out there, everyone with Alopecia or hair loss, but honestly, anyone with any physical difference. Like I'm a huge advocate for the disability community. Like, can we not just, you know, normalize them being them? Like, let's not try and fix them, you know? Like, let's embrace everyone for who they are, you know? It's just, there are so many, so many groups in our society that deserve so much more reconciliation and so much more support than we're giving them. And it breaks my heart when I see or when I want to talk to people, and they're like, I need to do this, this, and this to feel normal or for people to perceive me as normal. I'm like, what is normal?

What is normal nowadays? Like seriously, I've had to write many essays with that question in mind: what is normal? Why are we trying to fix people? Like, let's just, let's give it up. Let's just be who we are, be kind, and give love to every human being. Let's look out for everyone's best interest. Let's look out for their emotions and the repercussions that something like hair loss can cause. I understand that everyone is entitled to decide whether they undergo treatment or choose to wear a wig or not. But it's just like, people need to, this is a whole other point of conversation, but there needs to be a shift that needs to occur between people thinking Alopecia and hair loss is a cosmetic issue versus a medical issue. It is a medical issue. It's an autoimmune disease. A lot of treatments need to be covered. Many wigs aren't covered, and everyone is entitled to their safety blanket, whatever that may be. And still people to this day. Think that Alopecia is a cosmetic thing. If you are undergoing chemo, you should get everything for that, all of the support that you need because you're fighting for your life, but you will get coverage for a wig. But what about us dealing with Alopecia, who may want a wig? It's something we'll have to live with for the rest of our lives. So I'm also a huge advocate for  fighting insurance companies and just advocating to get that shift happening. And it's just there's so much I want to change in this world, and I have so much passion within me. It's just, it's so hard, so hard to distribute energy.

 

You brought up the topic of insurance companies, and I completely share your perspective. I must admit, I'm not very well-versed in the specifics of insurance coverage. I've heard that there might be a specific term you need to use. Are you familiar with the term 'cranial prosthesis'?

Where I live in Canada, the term "cranial prosthesis" is commonly used to describe wigs for medical reasons. However, obtaining coverage is often more complex. Insurance providers may set specific criteria, such as requiring hair loss to result from medical treatments like chemotherapy. As I went through it, the reality was that insurance coverage could be quite limited and insufficient. Sometimes, individuals receive a one-time reimbursement as low as $300 for a lifetime. This falls far short of the expenses of high-quality wigs or cranial prosthesis.

I owe much to my family, who played a pivotal role in my journey. Despite the financial burden, they went above and beyond to ensure that I felt comfortable in my skin. They invested thousands of dollars to provide me with the means to cope with my Alopecia.

 

I'd like to backtrack for a moment. You mentioned the timing of your last treatment and the type of treatment you received. Could you please share when your most recent treatment occurred and what that treatment entailed?

After I finished my methotrexate, again around the age of 15, by the time I finished 16, I needed to give my body a break. Throughout that time, I was slowly starting to accept my new self, my fate, and the fact that my hair probably will never grow back, and that's not giving up hope. That's just being realistic, and I needed to get to that moment to move on with my life. And that's just like my personal trajectory of life. That's what I needed to do at that time. But I gave my body a break. So there goes 17, or maybe I did methotrexate when I was 13, 14—finishing at 15 and 16.

Yeah, so I remember taking a full year off, maybe one or two years off, and then I decided to Try one last thing because my body had developed and it had grown. So I decided to give the steroid injections another shot because there had been proof saying that, you know, just because you try it at one stage of your life doesn't mean it's not going to work in another. So that was kind of, I promised myself, I'm like, Marcy, this is what you're going to have to do, and if it doesn't work, you're still going to be okay, but let's give it a shot. And I did. And my hair grew back. It was dark, which surprised me because I was a blonde growing up. It was very blonde, and then it progressed into a dirty blonde. So my hair grew back, and it was cute. There were still little bald spots, but I could still rock this cute little look. And I enjoyed it for about a year.

And then, as my hair started to fall out again, everything else went with it. And that is when my body progressed into Alopecia Universalis. I don't know why. I have some speculations, but I will never really truly know. But honestly, like, I went through a long time where, you know, I was shaving my head, and there were, like, patches here and there, and I just prayed and prayed and prayed. I'm like, please give me Alopecia Universalis, because I don't want to have to shave my head anymore. I want to be fully bald, And it happened. I was really happy the eyebrows and the eyelashes were hard to lose, specifically the eyelashes. Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the state that I'm in right now. I'm like, live in my life, and I think it needed to happen, and it led me to this moment. I am so proud of everything I've accomplished and wish I got there sooner. I wish I lived a little better as a kid, but I am not the one to blame. Society is. And if only people were more accepting if only I didn't go through bullying, if only I didn't feel the need to hide. Under a wig, things would have been different. Maybe, maybe. But everything that I did has led me to this moment, led me to this moment with you, that I'm thankful to be here. And yeah, it's been one heck of a journey.

 

You mentioned bullying?

It was hard. I want to say that for the first years of my life when I had Alopecia, it didn't bother me because I had little bald spots, but I had long enough hair to cover it. And I remember this clearest day, it was Saturday, a Saturday going into a weekend. And a large chunk of my hair fell out when I was approaching the age of 10. And I knew it was falling out, but it just fell out astronomically on this day. And I no longer was able to cover it. So I had enough hair here. I didn't have hair here, but I got special permission from my school because you're not allowed to wear hats in school, to wear a beanie. So, for the longest time, I wore a beanie that hung on the back of my head to cover that bald spot. That only lasted a few months, but another Saturday happened. I lost all of this. And I panicked. I thought I had more time, and my mom panicked. And I'm like, what do I do? And she goes, do you want to go wig shopping? And I did. And I found what I thought was the most beautiful wig. It was very different from my other hair, but it was the best thing I got in my hometown.

Then I went to school on that Monday, and people were so confused they're like, you had so little hair with a little beanie, and now you have a full head of hair, and it's a different color what's going on which led them to walk a little closer, and then they realized that it was a wig and that's when the bullying started that's when they called me “barbie doll bubble head.” They wanted to figure out what was underneath my head. So I remember just like always keeping it, keeping my hands like this, because I was afraid that someone was going to rip it off. And I had a bunch of really close friends, good close friends that knew exactly what I was going through and were so supportive, but I just kept getting bullied and bullied and bullied. And it was just like, I didn't want to go to school anymore. I was so upset. I was devastated. So, I was approaching the end of the year in grade six, and that's when my school year finished in grade six because I grew up in the French system. So it goes kindergarten to grade six, and then you go to middle school, seven to 12. So, I decided to do a PowerPoint presentation with my best friend at the time about Alopecia. and that's what I did at the end of the year in front of my entire grade six class. And I told them how it made me feel when I heard these kinds of comments and that I was getting bullied for something I couldn't control. At the end of the presentation, I took off my wig and showed them what I truly looked like because I knew they were all curious. And let me tell you how many apologies and tears I got. That day was the moment that I thought I knew this was what I needed to do. I needed to educate myself. I needed to raise awareness.

I knew that starting a new school the following year in grade seven would be hard. And the same thing happened. It was just a new pool of kids. These were kids from all different schools. This was no longer elementary. This high school is basically middle high school, but in one school, grades seven to 12. And I remember on the first day of school, I was hiding in the bathroom. I was just, you know, doing my business, and then these girls walked in and talked about me. And I had never met these girls in my life. They had just seen me. And they were like, "Who's that girl with the ugly wig?" Why is she wearing a wig? It looks so fake. And they didn't realize I was in the bathroom, but I was hiding. And I thought things were going to get better, and then they didn't. So then I decided to do the same presentation, but I went to every single seventh and eighth class because that was the pool of students that I was dealing with. And then, after that, no one said anything. Like I gained more friends, but I never became friends with those girls on the first day of school, let me tell you that. But, like, it was a way to introduce my new self to the world. I felt more comfortable rocking different wigs like I didn't necessarily want to wear that same wig every day. So I felt comfortable, you know because everyone knew what I was going through, everyone knew my face, everyone knew who I was, so like, and everyone knew what I was dealing with. So, the only reason why people judge is because they don't fully understand the story, and I truly mean that.

But then, the high school kids became a bigger issue. I thought I wouldn't have to worry about them because we were on a completely different schedule, but it was just like these older grade 12 boys were just the death of me. And I thought that I was never going to feel safe in school. And so I went to the principal one day because a situation occurred. And he's like, what do you want to do about it? And I thought long and hard, and I go, when's the next assembly? The next assembly arrived a few weeks later, and I got up in front of the entire school; there was no presentation, just me, myself, and I, and the principal introduced me to a grade 12 kid who also had Alopecia, a boy, and we became buddy-buddy, and he came up and just stood beside me for support. He doesn't like to talk about it, but he just came up with me. He goes all the power to you. I will. I will be that person on your side. And I spoke in front of the entire student body, all grade seven to grade 12, the faculty, everybody. It was the scariest moment of my life, but I did it and couldn't feel more proud of myself. And after that, I didn't have any issues. No bullying. I'm sure people were talking behind my back about my different crazy wigs. Still like, it didn't bother me because everyone knew. And I felt a lot more confident walking into the doors, knowing everyone knew what I was going through. And yeah, and then after every year finished when the new year came about. The new grade sevens would come in, and I would talk to them, the newbies of the school, to raise awareness and introduce myself, and I ended up meeting a few different people who had Alopecia who was hiding it and, um yeah, that kind of that was the start of my journey towards you know, raising awareness and doing everything in my power just to spread the word.

 

Would you be willing to share your experience with wearing hair, considering your journey from trying various treatments for Alopecia to eventually embracing it? What advice or insights can you offer to individuals considering wearing hair, particularly when struggling to find the right solution?

I started wearing wigs when I was ten years old when I went to that little wig store in my hometown. I felt so uncomfortable the entire time, so it was a very quick journey. I saw a long blonde wig, and I just snagged it. I thought it was beautiful. It looked like it could have looked more realistic, but I felt comfortable once I went to school. So, I kept trying to investigate different wig salons in my hometown. I went to them all. I tried synthetic for a long time. I went to a hairdresser specializing in hair loss who also sold wigs, but the biggest thing I struggled with as a kid was that the wigs never fit my head. Never. I had a peanut-sized head, and these wigs were not meant for head sizes like mine. And so I continued the journey, you know, whenever we'd visit my grandparents in Florida, we'd look at wig shops there. And I remember finding my first kind of good-ish quality wig in Florida, which I was really happy with. And I found a good one in Montreal. But none of them just lasted. None of them fit my head properly. All of them felt wrong. Until I got a cool opportunity, I was on the set of Downsizing, the movie with Matt Damon. I was an extra because they were looking for bald people. I met this girl who is, like, two years older than me. And, um, she introduced me to a few other wig salons nearby but outside my hometown. And so I visited them, and that was when I was truly introduced to what a good quality wig looked like, what a wig looked like when it truly fit your head. And I was so happy to have found all those wig companies because I finally felt comfortable in my skin. And I felt like wigs gave me the leverage and that safety blanket. But then, when I found those good quality wigs, it also introduced me to the beauty and the fun of wigs and just like how much joy they can bring into my life and how much they can affect my personality and how they would make me feel when I felt comfortable in them and confident in them. And that's when I found my love for wigs. And I felt more comfortable rocking different hairstyles and trying out new things because I'm like, wow, Alopecia was such a dark time in my life, now I'm having fun with it. And then, when I felt comfortable in wigs, I experienced some time without wigs. And you know, it was baby steps; let me tell you, I did not take off my wig for a second unless I was with my family, but then it got to a point where I'm like, okay, I'm talking about this you know I'm raising awareness so I need to start this new journey of mine of being who I am and not that I was always hiding behind a wig, but it felt that way. So I started with the little milestones, baby steps, you know, walking the dog without a wig, walking to the mailbox without a wig, you know, just going to school and taking off my wig during lunch period, and then putting it back on for class. You know, it was just all of those baby steps.

A moment in my life when I realized that it was okay for me to do this. Like, fully embrace it now. And my friend and I had tickets to the MMVAs in Toronto. It's a music award show. And I'm about two hours away from London. So we were packing up, and then we got there, and then I panicked because what did I forget? I forgot my wig. And so my mom's like, okay. She went into full mom-planning mode. She's like, what do you want to do? She's like, we can go to a wig store. We can get you a cute purple wig if you want. I can take you to a barber, and we can, you know, we can shave, buzz your hair off if you want. Because, like, I wasn't clean-shaven back then. I was using a buzzer, and I'm like, I don't know, like, I don't want to spend any more money on wigs, and I don't want you to have to spend any more money on wigs. And if I get a cheap wig, I will just be uncomfortable. I'm going to be hot. It's just not going to be fun. So, take me to the first salon we see. So I went to a salon, and they buzzed my hair off. That was my first time going out in the biggest public space I had so far. And I rocked it. And that moment made me realize, wow, people don't care what I look like. Yeah, I get stares here and there. And you know, people would say comments and stuff like that. People would compliment me, but I'm like, I can do this now. So, the wig-wearing never stopped because I will always love wigs. After all, they're just so much fun, and I get to be different every day. But that was when I truly embraced rocking the bald in public.

 

Have you encountered or heard of individuals in relationships, whether married or in partnerships, who hide their hair loss from their significant others, engaging in behaviors like wearing wigs or hairpieces in secret? If so, how do you view this as a part of the journey, and what insights or advice might you offer those who find themselves in such situations?

Yeah, I mean, like when I got into the world of dating, like even in like young like little crushes and like elementary school and then progressing into high school, I was terrified out of my mind because I'm like, okay, I've got lots of lots of friends, they accept me, got family who accept me, but like if the world is still so mean and so judgmental. And again, I was at a state of my life where I'm like, everyone's trying to be the It Girl and be seen with all the boys and vice versa or just like whoever you were, whoever you were attracted to. And I was terrified, just like, no one is ever going to. No one's ever going to love me. And then I kind of go, I realized, like later on, that was such a stupid thing for me to say to myself and think that. So, I think as the years went on, I talked to a few different people, and it was uncomfortable because I wanted to tell them.

I remember having a few experiences at the end of elementary school where I would say I would meet someone, and they wouldn't realize that I was wearing a wig, and they'd be so attracted to me, and we'd have great conversations, and go on cute little dates. And then I'd get to a moment where I felt comfortable to tell them, ghosted. And that was kids. Like I was a kid. I would hate if anyone went through that as an adult because that would just be so horrible. But then, you know, like, I became more confident. I felt like the more I became more confident in myself, the more people felt confident about kind of not necessarily our relationship, but when I exude confidence, they felt kind of at ease. When I felt insecure, they're like, ooh, I'm walking on eggshells, you know? So it was, it was a struggle. But then, I talked to a few people at the beginning of high school, and I met a guy, and he was just, he was so different from any other guy that I had spoken to. And I was public on social media at this time with my Alopecia. So it helped that, you know, whomever I would meet would follow me on Instagram, let's say, and would know. So I wouldn't have to like tell them. They would already know. And if they wanted to go on a date with me, it's because they know the full kind of, like the full of who I am and how I like to rock different wigs. And this guy was different, and he made me feel so loved. And we were together for a long time. He was with me through a whole lot. You know, I only wore my wig when I was with him because I was afraid. But then, for the first time, I, you know, showed my true self in front of a guy, which I never thought I would do because he made me feel so comfortable. And then, you know, my hair suddenly grew back and he was with me through that. And then he was also with me as I was losing my hair. And we broke up a few times, we got back together, and then we were together for a long time. And we broke up. We broke up over a year ago now, a year and a half ago, and we're still on great terms. and I will forever be thankful for what he was able to show me. He showed me love for who I was as a person. And I think that made me feel more confident, you know, going back into the dating game as now an adult. I was still very scared because I felt so safe in that relationship. And I'm like, he loves me for me, but that's not to say that any other, you know, guys will love me. So I was really scared, but you know, did all of the dating apps and stuff like that. And I just emphasized the fact that I was bald in my first picture. And if they swiped right, then that's who they were getting. And that's how I navigate the wig world. I'm like, I'm not going to put a wig picture of my wig first because I don't want them to see that. I want them to see me as a bald woman. bald and confident, bald and beautiful first.

And that led me to my new relationship with my boyfriend, whom I love dearly. And he is just so accepting. And he loves that there's just so much to me. I'm not a simple person. And he loves that, you know, he can get a blonde girlfriend, then a brunette girlfriend, and a redhead. All into one person. He loves that. He also loves seeing me embrace the bald because he's so proud to be beside someone so confident and sure of herself. So, the date game is scary when dealing with hair loss, but it helped me. And I use social media to my advantage. Not everyone is at that stage, but that helped me. But I also hear so many different stories of women going through the dating world with hair loss or wig wearing or topper wearing and stuff like that. And it's scary. But honestly, the guys I have met in my short, short time of dating like they've all been really, truly awesome. And again, when you exude confidence, confidence is sexy. Confidence is attractive. And I think that more women need to know that you are just so beautiful just the way you are, and hair loss is a journey, a battle. I hope that everyone will get to that stage of self-acceptance because, let me tell you, it's the best feeling in the world when you get there. I know it's so hard to get there, but dating is tricky for anyone, and it's a little bit trickier when you have hair loss and you're hiding a secret. But from what I know is that not a lot of people care. Again, bald is beautiful. Bald is attractive.

 

Suppose you offer three pieces of advice to a woman who has recently discovered she is experiencing hair loss. What would those three valuable tips help her navigate this new journey?

First, do a quick Google search or an Instagram search and find people. Find people who are undergoing the same thing as you and connect with them. That's my number one. Community is everything. When you find out that there are so many other people going through or have gone through the same thing or similar thing that you have gone through, it just makes things so much easier. Connections are everything. Um, my second word of advice. It would be to tell someone, well, you could do this first, you could do this first, or whatever, whatever step you want to take first is to tell the people you love. The closest people to you because you're going to need them. Don't try and attempt to do this on your own; don't do that to yourself because you're going to need the people you love most and the people who love you most in the world. To be by your side through all of this. Number three. Reflect on what you want at that moment. Go through all your options, whether treatments, wigs, or toppers, or explore shaving your head, shaving the rest of your head off, and embracing that new self. Reflection is incredibly important throughout this entire process. And also, when you start to experience those little milestones, the moments you didn't think you would get to, celebrate those moments. Celebrate the moment you tell your first person you're experiencing hair loss. Celebrate the moment that you, I don't know, by your first wig, celebrate a moment that you do something that you never thought you would do when starting this journey. Those moments are so important to celebrate, and I wish I had known that. I wish I had celebrated those moments more. I celebrate every day now to make up for it. 

CHECK OUT THE DIMPLES WIGS THAT MARCY WEARS:

Hera 15



Hera 19



RESOURCES:
Dr. Michael Patrick McNeely - Marcy's childhood doctor
The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF) - Serves the community of people affected by an autoimmune skin disease called alopecia areata that results in hair loss and emotional pain. 
Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation - The Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation supports those affected by Alopecia Areata, promotes awareness and education about this auto-immune disease, and raises funds for research.
•Marcy's social media accounts:
•Instagram 
•Tiktok
•Youtube

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