BALD RESOLUTION

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Have you ever noticed how certain topics completely dominate the news at specific times of the year?  Just look back at the headlines for October, when even the most passionate breast cancer advocates were “pinked out” by Halloween.

As 2011 approaches, if you haven’t made some form of resolution to lose weight, flatten your tummy, or try a new diet, then you are not in the 1/3 of Americans planning to trade holiday cookies for carrot sticks.

New diets with promises of extensive weight loss dominate the news.  Workout facilities will be jammed with the 2011 cohort of fitness newbie’s.  Goals will be set, and goals will be broken.

My personal goal for the New Year is to keep on doing what I do.  Fitness has been a part of my life for over 30 years. I don’t feel ready for the day until I get that morning endorphin high. I find physical activity far more addicting than chocolate cake or cheeseburgers.  Not even Alopecia could break that addiction.

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Ten years ago, a younger version of an equally active me was temporarily knocked off the track by hair loss. I was hit by Alopecia Universalis, an autoimmune disease that causes your white blood cells to attack  your hair follicles, leaving me bald and stunned by my reflection in the mirror. While not life-threatening, Alopecia sure does kill your self-esteem. Though devastated, I desperately wanted to find my way back to a sense of normalcy. Getting out and getting moving daily had been my normal.

Just put a wig on and hit the pavement you say?  You’ve obviously never worn wigs.

I was keen and determined as any women with Alopecia to re-create my identity as a women with hair by using wigs. But if you haven’t already, I encourage you to don a cranial prosthesis for your next work-out session. Working out in a wig is like working out with a tight plastic streamer on your head, but worse.  Despite being tight enough to bring on a head ache, you’re always feeling like that mop is about to drop on the pavement.

Lacking alternatives, I resorted to wearing ‘do rags’ and baseball caps, until a brisk beach breeze blew my cover.

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Bald exercise is just not the same.  Skiing down my favorite mountain with the glorious winter sun beaming on my hat-free head became a memory.  Preoccupation with images of my wig shifting while trying to make a knee knocker 2 foot putt for the win took a serious toll on my golf game. Biking, swimming, tennis - all sources of joy, release and renewal for the haired version of me, had become anxiety sessions for the bald me.

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Ten years down the bald road, I am more comfortable and accepting of who I am.  Rather than rely on head wear options that created more problems than they solved,  I designed an option that fit me and my lifestyle. My Exercise beaubeaus gave me back the freedom to be me.

So as the media’s obsession with our weight and exercise regimes climbs the New Year’s peak, I’ll carry on doing what I always do, enjoying food, enjoying exercise and balancing life as a bald women.

Susan M. Beausang, President 4women.com

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