Cayla: I used to
think alopecia was, a reason for me to hide away. It made me feel like my hair
was everything that I had to offer. I lost all sense
of my femininity, and I struggled with depression
and the feeling of utter loneliness. Now, I think
alopecia is empowering. It’s something that’s shown
me that I’m stronger than ever. I started wearing wigs in
my junior year of high school, because I couldn’t hide anymore all the bald spots that
were on top of my head. I have this really
pretty purple one. This is what I would probably
wear if I was going out, and I wanted to wear hair. This one’s a little bit sassier. My name is Cayla
Harder. I’m 20 years old and I’m living with alopecia. Alopecia is an immune disease
in which your white blood cells attack your hair because
they see it is completely foreign, like a virus or a bacteria. I have alopecia totalus
which is no hair on my head, but I have hair in
other parts of my body. My hair used to be one of my
absolute favourite things about me. Really, really long, thick hair. When I was in eighth grade,
I decided to get a haircut. So I went to this hair salon and she started pinning up
parts and sections of my hair. And she kind of had this
weird look on her face. And I asked her what
was wrong and she said, “Do you know you
have bald spots?” So then I ended up going to
the doctor and the dermatologist and they diagnosed
me with alopecia. I didn’t even know what to do. You know, as a girl your
hair represents your femininity, and to just kind of have
that taken away from you is really unfair. And it was one of my
favourite things about myself that’s just been
stolen from me. I wasn’t as happy go-lucky.
I wasn’t as positive. In my mind,
everything was going to grow back, I could hide it
and stuff like that. But when I started losing
more and more and more of it, it got harder to cope with. Wondering if my wigs on right,
if it looks real or if it’s going to fall off or
someone’s going to touch it. I used to think alopecia was
a reason for me to hide away. I stopped caring what
people thought of me when I turned it into my
trademark look. I was tired of seeing all
these patches in the mirror and I just shaved my
whole head and then immediately after just
posted it on Instagram. It was this weight that had
been lifted off my shoulder and I could finally just go out
and do whatever I wanted to do and not have to worry
about hiding anymore. When I kind of came out
about my alopecia more, wigs weren’t really a scary
hiding thing for me anymore. I can show so much of my
personality through wigs and you know, short ones and long ones and
colored ones and bright ones and I get to pick, basically pick who I
want to be every single time I wake up. A lot of people started
messaging me who have alopecia or who have all these
other kind of problems, just basically saying
how proud they were of me and what I was doing for
the alopecian community. I get to show the world all
the beautiful things that I can make with a bald head. And I get to meet all
these kinds of people who I never would have reached
out to if I didn’t have social media. Hey, guys, welcome to my
channel. My name is Cayla Harder, and I’m going to tell you a little
bit about my life with alopecia. I thought my dating life
would definitely be limited. I didn’t really put
myself out there a lot and I was really scared to kind of get
into any kind of intimate relationships. It was really hard for me to,
to love myself. But now it feels like
people almost love me more, because of my shaved head. You know, I just kind of radiate
a different sense of confidence, and with a bald head that I
couldn’t do with a full head of hair. Joel: There’s so many things that
Cayla that makes me like proud to be here with her and
proud to be her boyfriend. You know, hair for women is such like a,
like a personal thing. So when she goes out bald and public,
like, you know, she’d be on my arm
and I would just I love it. I’d be smiling. I’d be
radiant. I, I love her to death. Cayla: The first time I
came out to anybody who wasn’t a part of
my close friend group, was to an English teacher
that I was really close with. She had offered to help me
with my personal statements that I was sending to college. That’s how she really
found out that I had alopecia. Kelly: Do you remember writing this?
Cayla: Oh, God, it was a,
seemed like a while ago. Kelly: It was a while ago.
Cayla: Let me see. Being a 16, 17 year old girl with
once gorgeous, thick and long hair, to just patches of hair was
indescribably devastating. I felt like I lost all
sense of my femininity, and I struggled with depression
and the feeling of utter loneliness. But with the help of
my friends and family, I overcome the
emotional obstacles. Kelly: I always thought you
were so beautiful and so smart. When you’re reading this,
to me it makes my heart hurt for you. Cayla: Yeah.
Kelly: But I’m so glad who you are now. I mean I’m so happy that
you’ve gotten so past it, and that you’ve taken what
could be difficult and embraced it. Cayla: I got there,
but it took a long time to you know, to get from where I
was in high school. Like when you knew me to like
where I am now where I’m like, yeah, I’m bald and I’m sexy like, you know.
Kelly: Like thinking about it. I want people to learn that
alopecia is not debilitating, and it’s not a disease that
can take over your entire life. The worst thing you can
say to someone with alopecia, are you sick? Do
you have cancer? it’s literally just something that
can take your hair away and that’s it. Now I’m just owning
it, living in my own skin and embracing who I am. My message to people
who look different is to embrace every
single ounce of it. And to just really let
it shine through you, because life is way
too short to be hiding, so you might as
well love yourself. I think alopecia is something
that is empowering for me. It, it just showed me
a strength in myself that I never knew I had before.

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