An example of this brave way of living is Ghent-based Michèle Eeckhout. Michèle (54) has a condition called Alopecia areata (hair loss). Due to the sickness, she lost all of her hair. Since the age of 12, it controlled her life. Lacking self-confidence, she didn’t go for the things that made her heart sing. While battling Alopecia and juggling life in general, she shares her experience and tells people to just go with the flaw.
No hair I dare: Accepting flaws and all
It’s only recently, less than a year ago, that Michèle came to a point where she accepted herself as a “Baldie”. Meaning that she fully embraced her difference and no longer wanted to hide behind a wig. Sadly, not everyone can see the beauty of it. Even worse, bald women are often perceived as weird or not feminine enough. What Michèle experienced as an injustice is also what made her decide to establish awareness, acceptance and an appreciation for baldness. That is how “No hair I dare” became her mission. Now more than ever, Michèle grabs every opportunity life sends out her way.
ABOUT THE BIG DISGUISE
On a mental and spiritual level, the stage of ultra-thinning hair is very hard. After she started wearing wigs, she realized she had made it to the next stage: the big disguise. In this phase, the thought of losing the wig crosses your mind constantly. It’s not a phase in which you accept yourself. Once you accept yourself, everything changes. Even when being intimate with men, telling them her story and going from being attractive to vulnerable. Those men proved her that she was no less a woman bald than with hair. Michèle adds: “One day, a colleague and good friend helped me realize that I could only become free if I stopped this great charade of presenting myself differently than what I really was”.
When asked about the shady looks she gets, Michèle went on by saying: “I was trapped in my restrictions. You know, believing in yourself and truly feeling good the way you are, opens many doors. The moment you fully accept yourself and you radiate all that positive energy, people accept you as you are. I try not to see the weird looks as weird. People basically are good-hearted. They might wanna give me looks filled with empathy or even pity because mostly they think I suffer from cancer. If they don’t say anything, I smile radiantly to show them that no pity is required. If they say something, I kindly explain who I am and what my mission is.”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t trade my flaw for anything else anymore. I would not trade it for anything else. The style guru and fashionista in me still regret not being able to endlessly change crazy haircuts. However, I do try to make it up by wearing all kinds of head ornaments whenever I feel like it. Berets, scarfs, turbans, caps and hats. Being bald somewhat has changed my wardrobe. For me, fashion is a crucial tool of self-expression.”