Why I Cut My Hair

Why I Cut My Hair: @sante_laneal

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My experience with Trichotillomania:

When I was 11 years old I started pulling out my hair! It was a stress reliever, around that time in my life I was in transition. My mother got married to my stepfather, in addition to having an older brother already, I now had 2 older brothers, one being through marriage. We moved out of Inglewood, CA to the suburbs of Woodland Hills, Ca, in the middle of my 5th grade year. I moved  to a new school where I was the only black girl, which made it difficult to make new friends. It was a big change for me.

My older brothers were experiencing junior high and high school in a positive way, my experience in school was a little bit more trying. I didn’t fit into my surroundings at all, in school or at home.

My brothers were creating a closer bond with each other and with their friends, while I pretty much stayed to myself. I wasn’t happy at all, my grades dropped, and because my father was strict on education I had privileges taken away. So I spent a lot of time by myself at home.

The way that I coped with stress was by pulling out my hair, it was a satisfaction feeling, a relief of stress. It became comforting but thought I was very weird enjoying the feeling of me pulling my own hair.

As I got older my addiction increased.

Throughout my adolescent years, my family and I moved around a lot. I attended five different high schools in four years, three being within the same year. Social life was hard for me trying to make new friends as I was always the new kid. My family went through rough times financially, we went from living in and out of hotels to moving into a house in the hills of the San Fernando Valley.

I wasn’t into style or wearing makeup, I wasn’t considered one of the pretty girls, Boys were not really into me, so I didn’t think I was pretty at all. I didn’t care about my looks or what I wore, I pretty much wore the same thing almost everyday. I became very insecure about my looks which increased my hair pulling, wearing weaves and braids were a trend so I was comfortable with wearing them to disguise the patches, though I was still very self-conscious because I went all through high school wearing weaves. I never wore my natural hair in high school and I hated that.

I was very insecure about not being able to wear my hair, especially when someone would ask me: “How come you never wear your real hair?” The pressures of high school and the pressures of being natural weighed heavy on me and my pulling became uncontrollable. It carried on into my adulthood, and at that point I didn’t really care about about what I was doing to myself anymore.

I didn’t tell anybody about what I was doing to myself not even my mother, I would lie to my mother about my hair pulling and  as a result I resented her for not being more concerned, my relationship with my brothers began to deteriorate and I drew further away from my father.  I would lie to my family and tell them I had alopecia for years just so they wouldn’t judge me if I’d told them the truth.

By the time I got to my early 20’s I accepted that I was addicted to pulling my hair out and I would wear weaves and wigs for the rest of my life. After my parents settled in and moved to Las Vegas, I decided to move there and see what the opportunities as a performer had to offer.

Earlier in my life I became very interested in the arts. I played violin and I found that the art of dance was my outlet to everything going on in my life, so when I moved to Las Vegas I wanted to dance in the shows and night clubs. I entered that world not realizing that I had became the woman who at the time I wanted to be, the woman who was confident in herself gogo dancing in nightclubs, making a lot of money, traveling, and being single and free to make my own choices, but yet still unhappy when I went home at night.

When I did go home after work I would take off the glamour girl makeup and costumes and see that same little insecure girl who was still very empty inside. As I got older throughout my 20’s I didn’t want to hide anymore, I didn’t want to live a lie, and I wanted to get help with my addiction so I researched hair pulling addictions and discovered that this is an actual condition that many people, especially women, go through and they never tell anyone about it.

I was relieved to find that I’m not alone and that there are so many people who struggle with this same condition. My next step was to find a solution to this problem, to get help, and help others as well, this condition is called Trichotillomania, and its considered one of the most unreported conditions because of the shame, and embarrassment, and that people do not take it seriously and isn’t considered to be harmful to your health.

But it is harmful, mentally and emotionally, and it can weigh on your self-esteem very heavily especially being a woman in today’s society. It’s hidden. I want to bring awareness to this condition and create an organization where everyone battling this condition can have an outlet to dealing with their struggles.

Where I am now in my life I am approaching 30 and I have accepted my condition as apart of who I am. I have reconnected with my family, I am financially, mentally and emotionally stable, I have a wonderful career and a loving and supporting boyfriend who accepts my condition and accepts me for who I am.

I’ve saught help for myself and helping others, I use different avenues and pull inspiration from other strong women and  being apart movement where women embrace who they are. I have found my strength, I give thanks to the people who are helping me overcome the life-long battle I’ve dealt with. Though it is still a struggle and some days are harder then  other days, avenues like the The Cut Life who have created this kind of outlet for women to share their stories.

I am no longer afraid to be myself and I embrace my beautiful shaved head.

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