Often times I hear people tell me how brave I am. How strong I am. How they could never do what I do. That I am blessed with courage. I challenge these statements with this: if it happened to you, you would be the same. You just don't know how without the right tools. Like building Ikea furniture without instructions: you can get close, but you really aren't quite there. Until you have the experience to stand on, of course it looks impossible.

But, being bald isn't impossible. It's my lifestyle choice and a decision that I embraced from the day I freed myself from the wig. It's a very, very personal decision that affects not just you, but all surrounding social circles. So, yes, making this decision can be tough and does require a great amount of courage and bravery. But most importantly, it requires self love. You must love you, for who you are with or without hair, to release your true self. If you don't embrace your insecurities, no one else will feel comfortable to embrace them either.

In my case, my wig was holding me back. I was taking it off at any moment to be myself, but putting it back on for social situations. Basically anywhere with lots of people I did not know. Picture this: a 19 year old out dancing with friends in a hot sweaty club. It's hot enough inside that all the time these girls spent curling, straightening, and blowing their hair is all for nothing... they've pulled it up into a messy bun or ponytail after thirty minutes of dancing. Then there's me, sweating buckets under a wig that feels more like a winter hat in summer conditions with no way to ease the heat. Running to the bathroom every so often to take my wig off in a bathroom stall, stuffing it with paper towels to dry it out, dabbing my head covered in sweat, and cooling off as people wait in line. Take a deep breath, put on cool wet wig (felt like a wet mop) and walk out like nothing's wrong. (Rinse and repeat.)

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This situation occurred to me over and over to the point when all I wanted to do was leave that damn wig in the bathroom stall behind me and walk out and keep dancing the night away. But I felt trapped. I had already established myself as the blonde and I couldn't just change that in a matter of seconds. It was a process of starting to go out one place without hair, then another, then another until I had reached the same confidence level I had with my wig. At which point I realized the importance of being natural.

I had more people embrace my bald self than I ever did blonde. As a blonde, I looked like the majority of white girls in their early twenties out dancing with friends. Without hair, every place we went someone made a comment to me or my friends about how awesome they thought I was. Completely unexpected but totally supportive of my decision to embrace my true self.

And I realized something that I have never forgotten: people embraced who I truly was rather than someone who I was not. I was accepted for being bald, curvy and sassy- something I had seriously doubted up until that point. It reassured me in my decision to ditch the wig and moreover, reinforced the love I had for myself. For the first time without hair, I felt attractive.

You must love yourself in order to create the change you want to see. It takes time but, you must start somewhere.