Meet Meghan Frerichs

"At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata, after my friend had noticed a large bald spot on the back of my head while she was doing my hair to get ready for a concert. My mom and I looked into treatments, but creams didn’t work (for me), and I had refused the cortical steroids injections. In grade 7, shortly after my diagnosis, I remember I had worn a long clip-in ponytail for my Halloween costume and a boy in my class told me that I “could actually be pretty if I grew my hair out”. That year, I immediately began wearing extensions. As my hair continued to fall out, I added more and more extensions until I was spending 3 hours each morning doing my hair and desperately trying to clip extensions into the small strands of hair that I had left. I had completely destroyed any chance of my hair growing because I was desperate to “be pretty” as the boy had said, fit in and pretend my alopecia wasn’t there.

In grade 10, I decided to shave my head and start wearing wigs. I flew to Calgary where Vanessa stood by me as I shaved my head. I felt free of the constant physical and emotional pain that my extensions had produced. I was then fitted for a freedom wig, a custom, silicone suction wig. These wigs were thousands of dollars, but my mom wanted me to have every chance to feel confident as I pursued my competitive dance.

New challenges arose in high school… sleepovers with boys, a lot of firsts, self-esteem, and identity crisis and above all, I just wanted to be normal. I refused to ever take off my custom freedom wig, which destroyed it in a matter of a year. My $5000 freedom wig physically had bald spots and little to no hair from how badly I had treated it in desperation to seem “normal” to my peers and to myself.

I spent 8 years of my life trying to hide from my alopecia, it cost money, emotional struggles, and a lack of self-love. However, the moment I stopped trying to seem “normal” and started focusing on being myself, no matter who that would be… My hair, my eye lashes, my eyebrows, they all grew back.

If I could go back and speak to my younger self, I would tell her that her true beauty shines when she stops trying to fit in and seem “normal”.

I look back at photos and think back to how my appearance consumed every thought in my day, and I am so grateful to know now, that if I do loose my hair again, I have the self-love to embrace my bald head and true beauty. Because my alopecia was and still is beautiful, unique and has/will continue to teach me so much about myself and helping others in this world. It has been 11 years since I was first diagnosed with Alopecia, and I now know, that if my hair falls out again, I will still love myself and treat myself with self-worth that I deserve, because my hair does not take away who I am and the beauty that I hold in myself."

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