Monday, December 3, 2012

When it all began...

Hi friends! I know it's been a while since I've posted. I will get back to the food soon, I promise. Cooking is my heart, my passion, but this year I've been distracted from cooking and distracted from a lot of things in my life. I'm going to steer away a bit and write about what I've been going through. I don't come to this decision lightly, but if I can help even one person by sharing my story, then it will be worth it. Last week Zerek and I were driving back to Texas from my hometown of Kansas City. We were all set for a long road trip. We had on our "comfy pants," t-shirts, no shoes, and my hair was pulled back in a pony tail. We loved being comfortable settling into each other as the trip went on. A couple hours from home we decided to stop to grab a bite to eat. We pulled into the McDonalds in Atoka, Oklahoma and I was eager to indulge after six hours in the car. As Zerek handed payment through the drive-thru window, I reached into the glove box to see what condiments I had stashed in there. As I began my search, I heard Zerek's breath catch slightly. He turned, looked at me, and stopped short. I could see in his eyes that he wasn't sure he should say something.
"I think they are staring at you," he said.

I looked at the drive-thru window, and a teenage girl stared back at me. Her eyes bore through me and I instantly felt exposed. She then turned away and whispered something to a friend. The friend instantly looked at me and they both started to snicker. The two girls went around the corner and grabbed a third friend to come look at the "woman in the car." The laughter and snickers are something I will never forget. I felt naked, exposed.

I looked into the rear view mirror, and I just saw me staring back. But it wasn't the me I showed to the public. It wasn't the me I showed to friends, or even family. Very few people saw the me that stared back at me now. I had let my guard down for the first time in 11 months and it took three high school girls laughing at me to make me realize that it wasn't right. It wasn't ok for them to make a complete stranger feel so small. And it wasn't ok that I had kept all my emotions in for so long. My friends had told me that I was so strong and so positive. But what they didn't know is that I was depreciating on the inside. My confidence, my self respect, my self worth had slowly begun to evaporate and those girls sucked what was left right out of me.
But, I couldn't let that happen. I had too much. I was worth too much. So, I decided to share my story. Maybe by doing this, I will reach someone else who has been through something similar. Someone who needs to know they are not alone. And maybe, maybe it would make me feel less isolated and alone. So here it is. Here is how it all began.

December 31, 2011
I am in front of the vanity, getting ready for a wonderful night filled with celebration and friendship. I look forward to celebrating a wonderful year that has passed, but even more, the wonderful 2012 I am about to embark upon. I am getting married! In just four months, I will be walking down the aisle, marrying my best friend. As I begin blow drying my hair, thinking about the excitement underway, I notice something very strange on top of my head.

A small spot had formed on my hair line. Had I burned myself with a curling iron? Did something fall on my head at some point? I started thinking about what could possibly make this happen. Did I switch shampoo recently? Was I having an allergic reaction to something? I instantly ran into the living room to get Zerek's opinion.

"What is it?" I asked him with a look of horror on my face. He kind of chuckled. Ok, he didn't just chuckle. He laughed.

Thinking I was exaggerating as usual, he replied, "It's nothing. It's barely noticeable."

Despite his reassuring words, though, something just felt wrong. I asked a lot of people at the New Year's Eve party what they thought. I received every opinion from an allergic reaction to my shampoo to something called alopecia. I had never heard of that before. I was on a mission. I had to figure out what caused this squared centimeter of hair to just disappear from the top of my head!

For those of you that know me, you know I am a determined person. When I decide to accomplish something, I will GET IT DONE! On January 1st, I awoke with a mission. A mission to fix this tiny bald spot. I parted my hair slightly farther to the left and then got to work...

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