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Don't Let Alopecia Areata Stand in the Way of Your Dreams

Lindsay Walter
Lindsay Walter

"The only thing holding myself back from my dreams was myself."

I came into this world expecting to be just like anyone else, and I never thought something so small, such as having alopecia areata could even for a moment make me think all of my dreams weren’t possible. At the beginning of my journey this seemed mountainous, and something I never thought I would ever be able to overcome. I let it hold me back in life, by making me believe that I would never be married, have a family, or anything like that, but as I grew up I was soon to learn that the only thing holding myself back from my dreams was myself.

I was about two years old when I was first diagnosed with alopecia areata, but since I was so young I really don’t remember much of this, except that my hair had fallen out. First it fell out in little chunks, and then all together. Since then I have never had any real hair. My parents didn’t know what was going on as they drove me all around trying to find a reason to this chaos.

As I grew older I slowly began to come to grips with what was happening to me, and it really wasn’t until I started middle school, when all of this began to hit me hard.
When you’re in middle school you want nothing more then to be accepted by your peers, feel popular, have a boyfriend, and find out who you are. I remember the countless times I would come home crying because of the mean things kids would say, and I have never understood how someone could ever be so mean to someone for something they couldn’t help, but from all of the heartache I went through it really taught me how to treat people and to never stoop to their level. I remember watching my older sister and all of my friends play with their hair, french braids and high pony tails, something I never could do because of the cap from my hair, and how envious I was of all of the other girls. When I saw myself I saw nothing pretty about me, in fact I felt like a total outcast. I tried everything possible ranging from tattooing eyebrows and eyelashes, to a variety of wig styles and companies trying to make myself feel good. However I soon realized that it wasn’t on the outside that mattered, but what I felt on the inside that mattered most.

I would come home from school, and soon began to play basketball, which became my “escape” from the world. I would sit out in my driveway and shoot for hours. Everyday I was down I would pretend to make the game winning shot, the crowd would go wild and began chanting, “Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay” I would get so wrapped up in it, I would pretend I lived in this world where none of this was true, and I was the popular one that everyone looked up too. This “escape” and daily practice soon became a game I fell in love with and that is when I decided I wanted to play college basketball someday.

It wasn’t until I started high school until I really began to find myself. I would spend all of my free time playing basketball, and doing things that I wanted to. I have lost a lot of friendships throughout high school because of this, but those people were never my real friends anyways. On the bright side however, I have also met incredible people that have accepted me for who I am, and I no longer need to hide, and pretend to be someone I am not. In addition to all of the wonderful people in my life, during my senior year of high school I was recruited by a college coach to play basketball. It seemed as though everything was falling into place for me and I remember feeling so content.

I now have the confidence to go up and talk to total strangers and to act completely stupid with my friends, something that I never thought I would do. I am no longer this shy girl that is afraid of the world. Instead I have decided to make the most out of everyday that I am alive, and to embrace life, and for that I am truly grateful to be blessed with the positive attitude. There are still times though when I remember what was said, or I see someone look at me, and I have a moment of self-consciousness, but then I remember all of the great people I have in my life who love and care for me and that’s what propels me through the day. I now am able to live my life with a high ponytail and am no longer afraid of being an outcast, because I know that I am beautiful on the inside and out, and I will never let anyone or anything stand in the way of my dreams ever again.




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