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!

Yes girl

When I was young I said yes to whatever people asked from me. I had no idea that I had a choice to say no, I blame it mostly on my upbringing, shyness and my low self-esteem. I did so many things I did not want to do because, well, I’ve been a people pleaser, until someone explained to me I am no longer a child and I have the power to say no, take care of myself and even survive if someone doesn’t like me for my choices, etc, etc. and that absolutely blew my mind. And, since then (spoiler alert) I have been saying no to almost everything I can say no to.

A friend asking for a movie? No. Some money? No. A date? Oh god no. A weekend outing, a little trip? New friends? Any social event? Trying something new? No, no, no, just no. I’m going to be in my bed with my laptop, where I’m most comfortable and safe, doing absolutely nothing at all. This is what happens when you find that sweet-sweet spot in your comfort zone. I had no dreams, no goals, no future, apparently no life. I was slowly dying in my bed every weekend, and I was like, “Eh! there’s no hope for me. Something bad happened to me, so I’m going to give up on everything. I’m going to push everyone away and become a loner and talk to no one. This is my life now.” And sadly, it really was.

I think Netflix (my only true friend at that time), sensed this in some way and recommended a movie called “Yes Man”. It starred Jim Carrey (my childhood crush) so I was already sold. Twenty minutes into the movie and it felt like I was Jim Carrey- ignores everyone’s call, avoids conversations at work, flaking on friends, forgetting a close friends engagement, never leaving the house, single, lonely and anxious. OMG! did someone stalk me and wrote this script? What was going on! It was surreal. Okay, I am exaggerating, but it was very close to what I had become.

In the movie, Jim Carrey participates in a self-help program where he is forced to say yes to everything for a year, which he does dread initially, but once he gets hang of it, he does great things (no spoiler alerts here, watch the movie please). It changes his life, it changes him as a person, he hits new highs and lows, he learns so much about himself, he goes way out of his comfort zone and realizes it was not that hard. I know its just a movie and things like these probably won’t happen to me in real life, but who cares, at least I’ll be living my life to the fullest.

And since then I’ve said yes to things I would have never imagined. I didn’t wait for people to ask me so that I can yes, I started out small, like asking people out, talking to someone new, saying yes to the new dress I never thought I could pull off, taking myself on a date, saying yes to meet new people, new projects, yes to making more money, have a better physique, actually anything that’s going to make me uncomfortable but in the end I’ll be content that at least I tried.

You know, the truth is, it wasn’t that I had become very comfortable with my life, to the contrary, I was fucking terrified of change and failure. I’ve been afraid of almost everything, all my life and I was sick and tired of fear deciding what my life should look like. So I decided to say yes, yes to new experiences, memories, to the things I always wanted to do but never did, to things I’m really terrified of, things I love and enjoy, things I know I’ll regret if I missed them, I’ll be saying yes to all these things, but, on the other hand,  I don’t want to say yes to things just to please people, to cover up my insecurity, or anything that’s harmful to my mental and physical wellbeing, because what you say yes to is also important.

Do watch the movie if you haven’t already, it may change your life like it did for me.

DISCLAIMER: Do not say ‘yes’ to stupid things and blame it on me or the movie.

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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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Hello, 2019

2017 was a whirlwind of a year for me. I never did soar so high and I never did hit such a rock bottom in my entire life. So, the whole year was very black and white for me. And I came to a conclusion that, maybe, if I just “go with the flow”, and managed in between the gray areas I’d be completely fine. I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of hitting new lows, because I thought I couldn’t take it anymore.

And that’s exactly what I did the whole year of 2018, I played it safe, very very safe. I had no goals, no visions, no plans and basically, no life. All I did was get a job and sustained it. I didn’t put in anytime for my hobbies, I hardly took any pictures, or continued writing here on my blog, I haven’t painted since a year. The only trips I went on was to my hometown because my parents forced me. I hardly read a book or two or watched any great movies that I can think of. I was so afraid of falling, and to deal with the pain that I missed my highs too.

Today, when I looked back at 2018 and asked myself what challenges I overcame or what were my achievements? I had no answer. No doubt, I was so miserable at the end of that year. I was wishing my life away, I got so comfortable with who I have become and I had almost accepted that this is what I’m going to be for the rest of my life. I had let myself go and for what? Because change is scary? And what had happened to that girl who took risks and had built her life from nothing? Now am I supposed to tell her that this is you now, you should settle for the mediocre things because you don’t deserve the best because you’re fucking afraid of changing and growing?!

I can’t and won’t do that to her. She has worked really hard to bring me where I am now. I am not going to give up on her. This year I’ll take at least a step forward to make myself a better person, the person that I have been always dreaming I could become one day, even if that means failing or dealing with the pain of hitting new lows. And probably that should be my New year resolution.

Because you know what, in the end, we all do owe it to ourselves to become the best versions of ourselves.

Happy New Year 🙂

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