Thursday, June 16, 2016

Love Your Hair

I was born with a full & thick head of hair and, even though I had volume that most would dream of, I found myself fighting my natural curls and doing whatever I could to flatten & straighten them.  In the 90's, thin straight hair was the trend, but it was nearly impossible to get mine to resemble anything close to that.  I battled my frizzy texture and did everything I could think of to fit into the mold of what society said was "beautiful hair" at that time.  I made myself miserable because I felt so out of place & unattractive with my excessive mane...and I bought into the lie that if I only had that pin straight hair I saw in magazines, I would somehow magically be happy.  Today I'm partnering with Dove Hair to share my hair story with you - you will see my highs, lows and everything in between (plus some very old photos)!

September 1996 - my senior picture

When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I decided that my ashy brunette strands weren't acceptable so I started dying my hair.  It began with a few small blonde highlights, but eventually morphed into a triple-processed *almost* platinum.  This continued for years until just after my son was born...and then everything drastically changed. Having had my daughter 4 years earlier, I knew that it was part of the normal postpartum process to have some hair loss, but this was completely different than what I had experienced before.  My hair began falling out in large clumps by the handful and I was ultimately forced to chop it all off into an angled bob & cut bangs to try to salvage what little hair I had left.  

November 2008 - eight months after my son was born

After a few years of dealing with the upkeep of my blonde bob, I finally decided to go back to my natural hair color to see if it would help me regain some of the volume I'd lost and get my mane back to a healthier state.  It was a long process, but slowly I began to see new hair growth and I started feeling more like myself again.  My hormones were balancing out & my strands were becoming much thicker.  But just when it seemed that I was appreciating my hair for what it was and embracing my natural color & texture, everything suddenly changed again.  

July 2011 - one year after going back to brunette

The hair loss came back in full force, but this time I didn't have a pregnancy to blame it on.  In addition to my hair falling out, I began to feel sick all the time - I had high fevers, constant fatigue, joint pain & inexplicable rashes.  I knew something was seriously wrong when no amount of hair vitamins or thickening treatments were helping.  I desperately tried to hold onto my length & attempted to make it look better by adding layers & cutting side-swept bangs...but I quickly realized that it was a futile attempt & that I needed to accept my new reality.

February 2013 - one year before my diagnosis

After 2 years of battling symptoms & seeing countless doctors & specialists, I was diagnosed with Lupus in early 2014.  As relieved as I felt to finally have an explanation for what had been going on with my body, I now had very fine & thinning hair that I had no idea how to manage.  For so many years, I had hated battling my frizzy & unruly mane and suddenly I would have given anything to have it back.  I will never forget going into the salon and my hairstylist telling me that it wasn't going to look good long anymore and that it was time to cut it short.  

February 2015 - with a freshly cut lob

It's sad how a certain hair length or color can be like a security blanket to us & how much of our identity becomes wrapped up in it looking a certain way.  I was forced to accept a new normal and I had to learn how to deal with a completely different head of hair than what I was born with.  But, in many ways, it was the best thing that could have happened to me because it made me re-think how I was defining beauty.  I will probably never have long bouncy curls again & I've finally made peace with that.  I have realized that, through all the changes I've experienced, I am more than the sum of my parts.  Whether I have thin straight hair or thick luxurious waves, I can still look in the mirror and be content with the woman staring back at me.

May 2016 - my current hair

I'm sharing my story today in partnership with Dove Hair as part of a new campaign they've launched to broaden the definition of beautiful hair by celebrating all hair types.  You can participate by sharing photos of your own unique & beautiful hair on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook & using the hashtag #LoveYourHair.  You can also visit their Pinterest page for even more hairstyle ideas & inspiration.  By showing the various trials & stages I've gone through with my own hair, I hope it encourages you to embrace the hair you've been given, even if it's constantly changing, like mine has been.  I wish I hadn't wasted so many years despising my strands & damaging my hair by trying to make it into something it wasn't.  Because the truth is, we are all beautiful regardless of what our hair looks like.  

Thank you to Dove Hair for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


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