Winning Essay

Essay Winners 2014

Winning Essay:  How did Alopecia Affect Me - 2012

How did Alopecia affect my life”? Every time I hear that it makes me think of fewer friends, being depressed all the time, feeling weird or covering up what I don’t want to but have to.

When I was first diagnosed with Alopecia I was in the 2nd grade and really didn’t care a lot because I was so young and not thinking about what people thought of me. The doctors said it was caused by stressed but the only thing I stressed about was my family because then we always fought and my sister wasn’t really there. Then it went away for 4 years. I thought it was gone but in 6th grade it came back, it wasn’t as serious but I was losing a great amount of my hair. That was really a tough time for me because I was making new friends and it was hard to balance family, school and my hair loss but luckily I still had enough hair to cover up my bald spots. So my parents put me in counseling.  I was there for 6 months then I stopped because I thought I was better. When the alopecia went away I was ecstatic. So my whole 7th grade year it was good, I had no problems and no worries until……..8th grade. I remember how sad and hurt I was when I saw that bald spot in the middle of my hair. I wanted to die, I felt like somebody told me that I was dying. All I could think about was “I’m in 8th grade, I’ve been looking forward to this since 5th grade and now this. What am I going to do”? I was hurt and felt sick in the heart. Everybody I knew felt sorry for me. They kept telling me “Inner beauty never falls out” or “you’ll get through this its ok”. My parents put me in counseling again but now I like it a lot.

Somebody once told me “Alopecia isn’t you, it’s happening to you; you are Cayla Nicole Staples not Alopecia”. So because of that I have a little more confidence than usual because she was right and those words were the most helpful words that I’ve ever heard since this journey. In school, I finally got the courage to tell some of my classmates abut Alopecia.  In my AVID class, my teacher told us that we were going to do a passion project, where you pick something that you are passionate about and want people to know about.  I decided my passion would be to make my class aware of Alopecia.  During my presentation, I was able to answer questions and tell the class that I had alopecia.  I was so happy to get that off of my chest.  I have even done an interview and photos shoot for Encore HD Hair Magazine.  Because of that, even more people ask me about my condition.  I believe that maybe if I make people aware, they won’t be afraid, think I am sick, or just stare so much.   

So how has alopecia affected my life?  It’s taking me on a Journey of Wisdom...and Courage.  This journey is so hard sometimes, but even though I have really hard days, I keep trying to stick with the journey, knowing that things will get better.

Thank you,

Cayla Staples