THE FALL OUT

large (1)I’ve got a lot of hair.

It’s what people comment on the most about me. (Aside from my ability to eat more than most giants, of course).

It can never make its mind up whether it’s red or brown and is unsure if it wants to be curly or straight. But one thing it is sure of, is that it is falling out.

Yep, that’s right. I have alopecia. You wouldn’t think it though.

Luckily for me, I have an abundance of the stuff sprouting from my scalp so it’s really tricky to notice, but if you ask me nicely, I’ll show you that my hair is, in fact, evacuating my head piece. One bald patch at a time.

We had a falling out you see, me and my hair. It didn’t like how stressed out I was this time last year so, much like a stroppy teenager, it decided to kickback and run away from home. I think it was nature’s way of telling me to slow the f*** down and chill for five minutes, I just wish it had been a little more subtle about it.

Alopecia is one of those things, you see, that we don’t know much about. Great for specialists when I walk into their office, as they get to experiment with its hapless behaviour first hand; not so great for me as it’s far from easily treated and the life expectancy of my beloved follicles remains uncertain. The truth is, I may lose all of my hair, or best case scenario, I might not. That’s the thing with alopecia: it’s fairly untreatable and pretty goddam unpredictable.

Despite this, I remain defiant. My hair is my thing. We all have that one feature that we hide behind; be it a full face of make up, or a fantastic pair of knockers, and mine is my lid. I lose that and, much like old Samson, I lose everything. So topical steroids are my new best friend, head bands are my safety net and hairdressers are now my enemy. I’ve tried caffeine shampoos, Vitamins Q, R and S and have even considered implants. Thankfully, my hard work is paying off.

You probably think I sound surprisingly okay about the whole thing considering the fact that I might end up bald. For the record: I’m not. But at the moment it’s under control and I’m bald patch free, which is all I can ask for at this point in time- until life gets a little too stressful again and my body decides to tell me so.

The way I stay positive about having this condition is by remaining grateful that I’m losing my hair simply because I’m stressed out and not because I’m being treated for something more serious.

Look after yourself and listen to your body when it’s speaking to you. It actually has quite a lot to say.

The Ginger Nut

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Some people believe ginger to be best served as a side order to sushi.

Sometimes, I’d have to agree.

Although my hair is most definitely veering further towards auburn than tangerine, I still hear whispers of “ginger” from time to time, which, unsurprisingly, does not bother me. This is probably due to such whispers being a seasonal affair as my hair hits the deepest tones of brown in the winter and only hits its peak of naranja after weeks in the sun.

So there I was, August bank holiday, dancing the day away with a rum cocktail in hand, when a man fought his way through the crowd to tell me something. He thought it best to let me know that I was a “fit red head; one of the hardest things to be”. He spent a good while assuring me that I fitted into the “good looking ginger” category, comparing me to Ginny Weasley (a fictional character) and Ed Sheeran (a boy). I laughed, made a joke about being ginger and strolled on. And this, sadly for me, is the norm.

Although such remarks no longer bother me, growing up, I hated my freckles and auburn locks. I wanted nothing more than to wake up looking like Eva Longoria (although I don’t think I’m alone there) and change my entire reflection. However, due to the fact that a friend of mine has the most vibrant of ginger hairs upon her head, and has been lovingly labelled “ginge” by many of her friends, and enjoys it, I have grown to appreciate my titian tones and have forgotten all about my insecurities.

But I’ve also forgotten how serious the topic is too.

Although I believe red hair to be one of those things that you either embrace or sink with, many people have been forced to do the latter without a say. I can’t help but think that if those who heckle gingers in the street switched the hair colour for skin tone or race in their utterances, it would be a different story. I’m not raising the issue of highlights to the same level as a race row, but I really do think the subject could be taken a little more seriously and dealt with using a little more tact. After all, people’s entire school lives have been ruined by such taunts and “Hug a Ginger Day” would not exist if there wasn’t an issue.

But I, too, am to blame for these crimson crimes. I’ve been found to shout “fit ginge!” at the television screen when tangerine tinted men take my fancy (particularly during the Olympics) and I really don’t rate Mick Hucknell’s mop. However, many years on, I am learning to embrace it.

So, the next time you ask someone if they prefer blondes or brunettes, stick red heads in there too. I think you’ll be surprised.

And if you’re still not convinced by ginger hair? I have two words for you:

Emma Stone.

The Freckle

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Aged nine, probably wearing tight pink cycling shorts and a Spice Girls tee, I strolled alongside mum in Marks & Spencer, looking for some potatoes. I wasn’t distracted at all by the lovely chocolates or the old school version of Percy Pigs. Instead, I was busy making my skin raw, after bringing a rubber along in an attempt to wipe off all my freckles by the time we arrived back home.

As a child, I hated them.

I want to now be able to say that I love them. That I find them empowering and really attractive. But to be perfectly honest, I cover them up with make up. If I had a few freckles sprinkled across my nose and cheeks, then fine. But I feel that I am more splattered than sprinkled with them, making the main focus of my day to day beauty regime, a way in which to disguise these little genetic defects which live upon my face. And arms. And legs. And back. And tummy. And toes.

I do find freckles intriguing because they are memories created by the sun. They are the times spent travelling in Mexico, family holidays to Europe, a sunny afternoon in the park after school, a week spent at the beach last term; the list is endless. Happy memories are mapped out for me on my body, for everyone to see. Although a deep tan is desired, freckles actually last longer on the skin. They’re signs of good times spent in the sun in a more original form than quickly fading bikini lines or that

Although a deep tan is desired, freckles actually last longer on the skin. They’re signs of good times spent in the sun in a more original form than quickly fading bikini lines or that post-holiday hangover.

I think its time for me to start to embrace my freckles, just as the leopard has had to embrace his spots.