*What I Learned From Losing My Hair

I had a haircut today.

And sitting in that chair, as my hair dresser exclaims, “You’ve got so much hair!” I remember the long journey that has brought me here.

You see, during my anorexia, my hair fell out. I mean, literally all of it. Not just like, “Oh my hair’s thinning!” No. We’re talking…I lost about 90% of my hair, and was left with about two inches of peach fuzz.

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It’s no secret that anorexia ravages the body, mind, and spirit. Muscles deteriorate, the reproductive system shuts down, digestion and metabolism slows to a halt as the body enters starvation mode, the circulatory system limps along – making the body as cold as ice. But when you’re so dangerously malnourished and depleted, everything that’s non-essential gets left behind as your body literally does everything it can to keep your heart beating. Everything it can to keep you alive.

So, I lost my hair.

  
Now you’ve got to understand, my hair has always been my trademark. I’m just going to be honest here — a little #RealTalk: — I’ve always had a great head of hair. It’s always been thick, long, and really curly — big flowing ringlets. Not to sound like I’m bragging — but it’s distinctive — memorable. And it’s kind of a parallel of who I am: it matches my goofy, crazy, spontaneous personality. 🙂

  

 So needless to say, it was devastating to lose my hair.

There’s nothing more feminine or more attractive than female hair. It shows grace and gentleness. It’s touchable, making a woman inviting and alluring. In a word: it is beautiful.

So in losing my hair, ED made me believe that I deserved to be hideous. I felt that my outside finally matched my insides. That it was fitting that I look so ghastly and without hair, because my insides were black with ugliness of soul and spirit.

To be completely honest, I had never felt so low in my life. And it took a long time to grow out. Probably about 5-6 months when it was all said and done.

So what did I learn from it? What did I learn from that incredibly humbling and devastating experience?

I learned where my beauty came from.

  

You see, my hair fell out during my relapse. It had thinned dramatically during the onset of my anorexia, but managed to “hang on” for dear life.  It was when I relapsed that it truly all fell out.

So during the “peach fuzz” — or, growing out phase — I was at home, where I would truly recover once and for all. So during the emotionally painful time where I was mourning the loss of what I thought was my most feminine, beautiful possession, I was surrounded by a tremendous support system: my family.

And it was during this time that I really truly clung to Jesus, and chose life.

You see, losing my hair was really the nail in the coffin. I had already thought I lost everything: my friends, my college plans, the trust of my loved ones, my relationship with God, my body, my health, my confidence, my personality. But my hair was the final straw. Standing in front of the mirror — gaunt, lifeless, without passion, and without hair — I truly had nothing left. I had actually found the bottom of rock bottom.

And so I had nowhere to turn but to Jesus.

  

And so I clung to Him. I clung to His word. I clung to the Truth, and that’s what began to heal my heart and my spirit – which led to the healing of my body. It was nothing that did or didn’t do. It was Jesus doing the work for me. I just had to let Him. I just had to allow Him to love me and accept it.

But back to the hair.

I’m not going to lie: believing what I’m about to tell you didn’t happen overnight. I’m not going to tell you that 3 days after losing my hair and having to chop it off at the ears, I was gung ho in believing these things. No. It took time. And persistence. And finally, surrendering.

So without further ado:

I learned that my beauty comes from Jesus.

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My beauty comes from the fact that Jesus is living inside of my heart and shines out through me.

Now, that could sound incredibly conceited, if it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t deserve for Him to live inside of me. Seriously. I mean, I have F’d up so many times in my life, that Jesus should be running the other way in sheer horror. 

  
But He doesn’t. He’s not afraid of what I’ve done. He still loves me. And He still loves you.

And the fact that you and I are so incredibly loved and are so incredibly precious to Him, is what makes us beautiful. It’s not the clothes that we wear. It’s not the way we wear our make up or paint our nails. It’s not dependent upon the numbers on the scale, our BMI or a thigh gap. It’s not even dependent upon our hair. Our beauty comes from Christ.

When I allowed Jesus into my heart, He began to change things. He began to change me. I forgave myself of all the horrible things I did and said and lied about during my disease. He began to help me adopt full recovery. He began to feed the spirit that was dead inside of me. And in doing so, His light began to shine through me.

  

I mean, we’ve heard it 1000 times: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” I mean, that song is up there with Rebecca Black’s “Friday” in level of annoyingness.

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But it’s been repeated because it is the truth.

I learned that my beauty and my value does not come from my hair. When it’s gone, folks, it’s gone. And I had to figure out a way to go on. So Jesus helped me. Everyday. He would whisper the Truth to me: That I am Loved. That I am precious because I am His daughter. That He died for me because He is so crazy in love with me. And I am beautiful because I am His. And guess what: that truth that Jesus was telling me was the exact contradiction to all the lies and bullshit that ED tried to feed me. And so by listening to Jesus’ Truth, there was no room in my head for ED’s lies. And that’s when the true healing — the real recovery — took place.

Jesus said in John 15:4, “Remain in me and I will remain in you.”

Every day – every moment – I have to stay focused on Jesus and His truth. I have to remain in Him. And in doing so, He remains in me. He dwells in my heart. And that’s where my beauty and my worth comes from. 

  
So I guess, at the end of the day, I’m kinda glad my hair fell out. Because it was only when I had actually lost everything — hair included — that I finally said to myself, “OK, I guess there really is only one place to go from here.” And that was into Jesus’ arms.

So now, as my hair dresser complains about how cutting my hair takes twice as long as her other clients due to the volume and sheer amount of hair I have, I just smile and think about how it has come full circle.

My hair is a sign of victory. A sign of victory over the bodily devastation from anorexia, yes. But even more so than that, it’s a victory in learning where my beauty comes from. Where my worth comes from. A victory in knowing who I am in Christ.

My hair is not my most prized possession: my heart is. 

  

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215 thoughts on “*What I Learned From Losing My Hair

  1. I am so moved by this! I have struggled with body image issues and this hits so close to home! I went the opposite direction from anorexia and binge ate my way through college. I needed this! Today and every day. Bless you for sharing your struggle!

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  2. Hey thanks so much for this post. I can’t relate to the struggle with ED But I can relate to needing to find my beauty in God. I was really impacted by your point that our beauty is not our own. When I read that I know that’s something I need to hold on to. I’m so glad that you’ve found your freedom. God bless.

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  3. Hair is beautiful but its WHERE we WEAR our hair that brings out that beauty.
    It will be beautiful once again if/when you grow it back but its all that makes up that head below it that is so beautiful; that brain, those eyes, the smile, the whole face that is in place; projecting beauty that this world is to embrace. Down from there, comes your heart, the source of the beauty and not just a part. You are beautiful from head to toe, and all that’s in between.

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  4. You know as I was reading this, all I could think was, “What a wonderful Saint of God, you are.” This dear friend is what “Saints” do, by “word of their testimony.” God has blessed you in ways, which only you can share. I am so thankful that you do. Love and God Bless, SR

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  5. Great post 🙂 I think every reader here is happy that your hair grew back when you fully recovered from anorexia. However, that is remarkable that you are able to sort of turn that negative on its head by realizing that your heart is the most beautiful part of yourself and hair is secondary. Some people do not see it that way so that is another big achievement on your part. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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  6. To quote one of your followers, RossChellis “Your words resonate with so many people – a far reach. I shared your story and your writing in my message this Sunday – it was a perfect illustration for the lectionary text!”

    I’m so glad that your voice / your vital message is emanating outward.

    You blog from your heart and to quote your words about Christ… “He dwells in my heart.” I can see the strong connection.

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    • Oh my gosh wow! Thank you so much. I’m absolutely honored that you would share my story! I’m glad that it resonated with you. God is good and to Him be the glory! Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox

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      • I am deeply sorry that, in my quoting one of your followers, I have misled you. I would never want to do that! I wish those quotation marks were not so small. I could only wish to have RossChellis’ Sunday following.

        On some positive notes… I do have all the wonderful people I have met here at WordPress… and feel honored to have met you.

        And I am trying to raise awareness re eating disorders, have posted a blog on this subject and would love to get your input. You being a survivor, you have a perspective, which I don’t. Visit my webpage… this blog is just a short scroll down.

        Again… from the bottom of my heart… I apologize.

        PS ~ If you want to delete our conversation I won’t be offended in the least.

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      • Hi Tom! Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to have mixed that up! 🙈 ah I’m so embarrassed. I read the comment quickly when I was getting ready for a huge audition this morning, so I’m afraid I missed the end of the quotes! Eek! But thank you:) I’ll definitely check out your blog. What a noble thing to be doing. Awareness definitely is important! Hugs and love xox

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  7. Gosh! Trust me, just reading that I could feel pain. You have won the battle having been through the turmoils of anorexia, but yet it is scary for a woman to even imagine her hair thinning. But the lessons of the battle are priceless. Thanks for sharing. This kind of a post will also help aging men and women to accept gracefully the ravagrs of time and illness.

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  8. Love it! Too many of us run around worrying that God is going to move away from us if we don’t do it “right”. Who does it “right”? I, with you, have f’d up a lot…..and God remains there, my ever present presence when everyone else runs away. Glad your hair is back! I get it….cutting your hair too short sometimes can be devastating enough; but to lose it all…… There is a lesson in everything. You are so very beautiful……..with or without hair!!!

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  9. Wow what a powerful testimony. You are so right your heart is you prized possession. And by not listening or taking to heart the lies you are releasing your heart to the love, mercy and compassion of God the Father. I want to give you such a huge hug my lovely lady. What a jewel you are in God’s crown.

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  10. Spot on. Christ in you the hope of glory, there is nothing more beautiful than a heart fully alive and revelling in him! That reminds me of the song that goes something like:

    Beautiful, Beautiful, Jesus is Beautiful / And Jesus makes Beautiful / Things of my life / Carefully, touching me / Causing my eyes to see / That Jesus makes Beautiful / Things of my life

    He IS beautiful, and when you stand in the light of his beauty, made in the image of his beauty, heaven meets earth, and he lets you see what he did in your life and it’s just like BOOM he did that for me and he’s soooooo beautiful!!

    Wonderful post, B, and encouraging (: thanks as always for sharing another part of your journey with us (:

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  11. Hi, BBB: My Mother used to call me “Medusa” because of my snake-like head of curls – which by the way I inherited from her. It was my trademark also. I now keep it short, still full of curls, but it wasn’t the hair that defined me, and it still doesn’t. That’s why I’m also keeping my “natural highlights.” Yes, the GRAY strands! I resonate from that which I hold dear within. I love your reflections. Cheers to you!

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  12. Thank you for your beautiful writing. I can so relate to what you were talking about. My hair was my trademark too and it was taken away when I went through chemo. It was such a wake up call for me. You are so right – our beauty is in Christ! And He brings beautiful things from the ashes. My writing came as a result of my cancer journey. You and I are sisters who know how to appreciate having hair at all. 🙂 Blessings.

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  13. This was beautiful. And so absolutely true! After having my daughter my hair has been a hot mess and I have been so self conscious of it. But you are absolutely right, and for that I thank you for sharing it with us.

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  14. Pingback: “Safe Haven” Vol. 6, No. 11 | shnewsletter

  15. This is the best recovery website I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. You speak from your heart and soul, and you have the most beautiful mindset of knowing that there are greater forces out there, and we have to put our trust in them. Somehow that gives us all the control and happiness in the world. Thank you for such a gorgeous and heartfelt post. and no- you did not sound conceited or like you were bragging when you spoke about your hair. You came across as proud, and that is one thing you definitely should be. What a hard journey you have taken! A rewarding one at that 🙂 Have a beautiful Saturday.

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  16. I love your testimony! I struggled with an ED in high school and it’s amazing how God can teach you what true beauty is….it’s SO far from what I had believed it to be growing up. I’m so glad you have put hope out there for so many to read! Love your blog!

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    • Hi Jami! Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sorry that we have that history in common, but praise God that we’ve both found freedom in Him! Amen to true beauty! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love my friend xox

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  17. Your story is beautiful & compelling at the same time. The fact that Jesus is just waiting for us to say, “I need you, help me”, and then He’s right there in a nano second! God is SO good! Thank you for sharing your story. To me its obvious you were chosen to write this blog. I have a feeling many people with ED will heal because of your story. May The Lord continue to bless you!!

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  18. A kindred spirit! Thank you for your honesty! Mostly thank you for shining your light! We have all struggled with different mountains to overcome, but if we have lived, we have struggled! However, the darkness and those who work in it, tremble when we come into the light and realize who we are in Christ!! Praising Jesus for and with you!! MORE than Conquerors!

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    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts this evening! It means so much. 🙂 amen to that! God is so good and so powerful! I am forever grateful to Him for all the work he’s done in my life! Hugs and love to you friend! Xox

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  19. Pingback: (April 29) Vol. 6, No. 11 – shnewsletter

  20. Thank you for this beautifully honest post. It’s so reassuring to know that I’m not alone and to hear such wise words; you’ve really helped me to put my hair loss into perspective. It does still bother me though… I have had anorexia for around 8 years but it’s only in the last 2 that my hair has really thinned out. I’m gradually restoring my weight now but my hair still isn’t regrowing. Did you find yours started to regrow only once you’d reached a healthy body weight? x

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    • Thanks Joanne, I’m so sorry that you can relate on such a personal level. It did…it began to grow back once I was stable and had been eating calorically sufficient meals consistently for several months. I know that is probably not the most encouraging, but that’s what my experience was. Hang in there, friend. I believe in you, and you’ve already done the most important thing — you’ve chosen freedom, and that is so inspiring. Know that I am cheering you on in your recovery. Big hugs to you friend xoxoxoxo

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      • Thank you for your reply – I really appreciate your honesty. Although it’s frustrating waiting for my body to heal itself, it’s another reminder that patience and persistence are so important in recovery. Anyway, I’ll take this opportunity to say a more general *thank you* for your wonderful blog. Words can’t describe how much it’s helped me over the past few months and I’m so glad I came across it. Much love x

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