It’s OK to Be Different, Different is Still Beautiful
By Laura Hudson
I modeled a great deal as a teenager, but I don’t fit the mold set by the modeling industry. I am not the willow six-foot-tall blond you often see sashaying down the runway. I am 5’5″ and due to childhood illness I have been completely bald since I was nine years old.
My hair loss is due to Alopecia Areata, an auto-immune disorder for which there is no cure. The only physical side effect of the disease is hair loss, but the emotional and social impact of growing up bald is huge. I was constantly teased and tormented at school, had few friends and was told that I would never find a husband. Fearing rejection, I hid the fact that I wore a wig for fifteen years, even as an adult, even while modeling.
Changing the way I saw myself
One day my son, then only two years old approached me while I was sitting in the bed watching TV. He gently rubbed my baldhead and said, “Momma, your hair is so pretty!” As I began to quiz him it hit me that he really did think that my bald head was pretty. He didn’t see me as different than any other normal person WITH hair. What love he must have for me. He was completely at peace knowing that his mother is bald, it didn’t bother him a bit. His acceptance challenged me to change my life and I decided to start by changing the way I thought about myself.
I decided that:
- Bald is beautiful
- I will love myself
- I will be confident in my abilities
- I will have peace in knowing that I am bald
Letting other people see me
I accepted that I could live with being bald. I wanted to help others. After many nights of watching the news and seeing it full of violence in schools often brought on by low self-esteem , I knew I had found my mission. I wanted to help children understand why teasing hurts and how much damage it can do. I knew the effect teasing had on the way I saw myself growing up. I wanted to spare other kids from being made to feel worthless because of someone else’s thoughtless comments.
It was during this time that I was booked as a guest on The Learning Channel’s show “A Make-Over Story.” I was so excited! I was getting the works and it would be aired on national television with millions of viewers! I was going to get a little bit of celebrity. Then reality hit me with one simple question – was I willing to take my wig off on camera? Would I show them the real me?
I lost sleep thinking about it. The thought of going bald, and on television made me nauseous. I never even left the house without my wig. Finally, I agreed that if necessary, they could show me bald but I’d rather it be split second and not focus on me. They assured me that they probably wouldn’t even need to do it so don’t worry about it.
Showing the world the real me
The first day of filming, the producer didn’t ask me if I wanted to film bald, she simply told me we were going to. It was the best thing that could have happened because there was no time to think about it, I just did it! When it was over, I had a natural high and when I was alone with my husband later that afternoon he looked at me and said, “I’m really proud of you – that took guts. I really think this show could reach people and touch someone’s heart.” And you know, that’s all I really wanted to do.
I’ve gone through years of humiliation and low self esteem because I was different. I prayed faithfully for healing but my hair never came back. After fifteen years, I finally came to the realization that the only way God (a God who I know loves me so much) can stand by and watch all of these terrible things happen to His own child is because He knows that He has great things in store for me.
I would have given anything to have someone tell me they understood what I was going through, that it was OK to be different, that if I just hung in there and was strong I would be victorious. It would have made all the difference in the world. I could have been spared so many doubts, questions and fears. Since I didn’t have that person, I want to be that person.
I know how hard it was to grow up “different” and be a Christian and have a Savior to call on that was faithful and loving. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go through life’s hurt and trials alone. God loves you with a love that embraces you whether you are over weight, under weight, handicapped or like in my case bald.
If you are alone or hurting, you can have personal relationship with Jesus Christ like I do. All you have to do is ask Him.
God knows your heart so it doesn’t matter which words you use, but here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray it right now and Christ will come into your life just as He promised. If you invited Jesus Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.