My hair loss story

Now, when hair loss is currently prevalent in Indian film industry, let me grab this opportunity and write about my hair loss journey.

I went through two surgeries when I was 11 and 13 (I’ll keep that story for some other blog). And, if that wasn’t enough, I spent all my teenage life struggling with PCOD (hormonal disorder). All those medications caused a profound effect on my beloved hair. Losing hair as a kid is every horrible adjective you can think of.

It’s like you can’t sleep without fear of hair fall, you can’t eat whatever you want, you can’t go out and play or attend any social events. You even dread going to school every day, because people are going to notice, kids are going to tease you. It forms this deep connotation inside you that looks are everything. It’s different when you’re in your 20s or 30s because you’ve had the privilege to be a carefree kid and now you’re old enough to handle things on your own. On the other hand, losing hair as a kid? It can fuck you up (not going to sugarcoat that). I isolated myself for almost a decade. I had really low self-esteem and I hated myself for so long because, somehow, I felt it’s all my fault. I was the broken one. I accepted really shitty people in my life and let them control me. I felt like an impostor as if they see me for who I am, they would leave me. It further developed into anxiety and depression. But the truth was, no matter how many people truly loved me for who I am, it wouldn’t matter because I needed to love myself and accept myself the way I am, as there was literally nothing wrong with me. The human body is very complex, and sometimes it doesn’t work in your favour, and it doesn’t mean you should stop living.

So yeah, when people reminisce about their childhood, I just sit over there like, nope, don’t want to go through those series of unfortunate events again. And, if you’re thinking that I’m exaggerating this blog a little too much then please accept the fact that you have a head full of hair. I mean we want to believe something as absurd as our hair is not such an important part of our lives but it absolutely is.

Hair is everything. We wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally. But it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day. We’re meant to think that it’s a symbol of power, that it’s a symbol of fertility. Some people are exploited for it and it pays your fucking bills. Hair is everything.

– Fleabag

Its how people perceive you. Your romantic and social life can take a hit. Especially, in our Indian society where the beauty standards start with women having dark, thick and long hair. Even though it’s very common for men to deal with hair loss, hardly anyone talks about hair loss in women. It is equally common. The only time when hair loss is acceptable in a woman is if she is old, dying or dealing with cancer, or else everyone makes you feel like a disgrace. The guilt and shame they make you go through is tremendous. I mean why would anyone on earth be like, you know what I don’t want my hair anymore. Wouldn’t it be really cool if people can see my scalp? Nobody wants that unless you are really into the bald look, then go for it.

Anyway, when I gave up trying to regrow my hair and started focusing on my mental and physical well being, I was fortunate enough to get 50% of my hair back. They are not perfect, but I love them the way they are. And when I finally came to terms with my flaws, and learned to laugh at them, people seemed to accept me even more. And I’ve realised this one thing- in the end, what really matters is what’s inside your head rather than what’s on your head. Am I right?

Also remember, do not click on those hair regrowth ads on the internet, they simply redirect to porn. Apparently, everything redirects to porn. *sigh*

Have a good hair day, folks!

How to practice self love: Step 1

I had a pretty tough summer this year. It was hard. Some old feelings were triggered and I was deeply hurt. I tried to avoid these feelings for a long time and they kept coming back over and over again. I was all over the place. I tried medication, drinking away the pain, being in bed as much as I can, I tried exercising, eating healthy, going outside with as many people as possible, I tried therapy as well, but nothing really worked. Those feelings were still there no matter what I did; it was exhausting. So I did something which I should have done a long time back- Research and Development. So, I sat down one day researched the shit out of it, as to why I do feel the way I do and how do I stop it. And I came to this conclusion:

All my life, ever since I was a child, everyone told me what am I supposed to wear and eat, how do I behave, who am I supposed to be and even how am I supposed to feel. I grew up in a household where I wasn’t allowed to be angry, or sad or be afraid. I was always supposed to put on a brave and happy face even though I did not feel the same. Being vulnerable and being anxious was a sign of weakness. And I grew up, learning how to keep my emotions locked up, closed off and never pay attention to them. No doubt, they kept coming back over and over again because I never in my life learned how to process them.

So, the solution was very simple, but I knew it was going to make me extremely uncomfortable, anyway I had nothing to lose. I only had to give myself permission to feel whatever the fuck I want. That’s all.

I don’t know if anyone ever told you this, but every emotion you feel is what makes you a human (unless you’re a psychopath). It is okay to be sad, and angry, it is okay to be disappointed, rejected or hurt. It is okay to be afraid, vulnerable and anxious. But what’s not okay is if you choose to delve on these emotions. All these emotions are termed as negative only because they make you feel uncomfortable and nobody wants to feel uncomfortable, and people (including me) avoid feeling anything at all for a little bit of discomfort. The only way to get over the pain is to get through the pain.

Giving myself permission to feel whatever I want has given me immense freedom to be the person I really am and the person I would like to be. No, I don’t go around throwing tantrums, breaking things in a fit of rage. I don’t do that, even though it would be fun. But, seriously, don’t do that. What I actually do is, whenever I am feeling a certain negative emotion I tell myself that it’s okay to feel this way. This is temporary and this shall pass too. It’s not easy at first, you’re going to be a mess (larger mess than you were before), but don’t give up, be patient, keep practicing, and you’ll get there.

Yes, I know it all sounds very cheesy, but it worked for me. And, its the first step to love yourself.

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Living with Anxiety.

People think, just because my eyebrows are always on fleek, my lips are always lined, and my Instagram feed is perfectly curated, I’ve got this stable career going on, that I’ve got it all figured out. Little do they know what happens on the inside. I’ve mastered this art of putting up a facade of looking all put together, where no one can tell what’s going on inside my head.

I have Anxiety. No, it is not just worrying about stuff. It is more than that. It is so much more than that. Let me explain:

I’m always fidgeting, digging into my fingernails, my jaws all clenched and my muscles all tensed, it is like I’m trying to hold on to something so hard and I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to let go of the control, sometimes its the only control I have on my body. I have to keep reminding myself to breathe, to relax, and that everything is fine because I keep forgetting. All my mind sees are the flaws or that one tiny mistake I have made and how now I’m not perfect. And if I’m not perfect then I’m not good enough. And because I’m not good enough I’m going to be alone all my life. And if I’m going to be alone all my life, what does that say about me? I’m not good enough. My mind keeps running in a loop, infinite loop, and what happens when your system runs in infinite loop? It crashes, it crashes real hard. And that’s exactly what happens with me.

It is like there’s a demon living in my head, and it continuously tells me, what a piece of shit I am, how I am not good enough and how I’m going to fuck everything again, just like the last time. It tells me to do things, making me feel like that it will fix everything, and then I do those things, because I’m in severe need of instant gratification, even though I know it is not going to help, but I do it anyway. That’s when I lose control over everything, my mind, my body, reality, everything. The more I try controlling things the more they keep slipping out of my hand. Sometimes it is hard to tell which voice is my own, and which ones the demon or are they the same person, me.

And, then there is this fear. Fear of being alone, fear of falling, failing, fear of not being good enough, fear of death, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of not being perfect. And, how can I forget, this fear of fear, because when it starts I have no idea how to stop. Also, there are these constant nightmares that make me relieve the same past trauma over and over again.

And, if dealing with this whirlwind of emotions is not enough, I also have to deal with people who do not understand a thing about Anxiety. They think I am overreacting, fragile, weak, overdramatic, and some people even think that I’m faking it all together, you know, for attention. Because when I’m feeling like I’m dying, literally, I should not seek attention I guess, right?

So I keep it all in, put on my boldest lipstick, curl my hairs, fake a smile and show up each day and every day. Keep making my Instagram feed perfect, keep my work up to date, because nobody should know what a dark, infinite, downward spiral my mind is.

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What its like to deal with depression.

Days are hard, and the nights are harder. You think the voice in your head would get weaker and you’d get stronger but the opposite is what seems to happen, each day and every day. It gets to the point where the line between you and the voice in your head starts getting blurrier. Some days it’s hard to say which one is your voice. Every morning you wake up thinking, this is the day I can conquer and every night you’re back in your bed thinking, “What’s the damn point! Is this all even worth it?”.
You want it all to stop, so you ask for help. People tell you if you exercise a little or maybe just went out a little more, you’d be fine. So you do that, you try that as well. But no matter where you are, your thoughts don’t leave you alone. You envy people, you envy them everywhere you go. And you loathe yourself because chores like brushing your teeth is an enormous pain in the ass. “Why you cannot be more like them? Because, obviously, something is wrong with you. Very much wrong with you”. That voice is back at it again, continuously telling you what a pathetic piece of shit you are.
The pain of your own existence has started to eat you alive, it is insufferable. You now desperately want it to go away so you’ll do anything, I repeat, anything, to make you feel better. And, when even that fails, you hit rock bottom. You think you’ve hit rock bottom before, but no, you were wrong.
This rock bottom is the worst thing and sometimes the best thing that can happen to you. If you do seek professional help, they do hear your last cry for help and lend you a helping hand and from there, things starts getting better. No, I’m not saying magically the voices go away and you start loving yourself infinitely. It is just that now the days are a bit easier and nights are a little less harder.
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