Valerie Fuentes–Thin Hair Thick’s resident “Hairapist”
Since I was little, I have always been obsessed with writing, expressing, and communicating in all forms. I always won the poetry contest, participated in every play, and had a show on my school’s radio. I knew at an early age that I was a communicator and that one day, I would make it big like Oprah. My intention was always to be on camera but life had a surprise in store for me that I did not expect. I started losing my hair in chunks at 18 years old, losing almost 80% of my hair when I was in college and all my dreams were crushed.
At 24 years old, I was diagnosed with Alopecia and I immediately changed my major because I thought I would never get a job on television without hair. I completely changed the course of my life and that is just the beginning of all the things I stopped doing due to my hair loss. I stopped swimming, exercising, dating and doing all the fun things a girl should be doing in her twenties. I stopped living my life because of my hair loss.
In a world where long hair is a symbol of femininity and health, it was devastating to even consider the idea that I would lose all my hair. As my hair loss progressively got worse, I went through really deep depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Back then, I still had a need to feel loved and approved by others, wanting to look a certain way according to society’s standards. I kept asking myself, who is going to love me with no hair?
So, I made the decision to create a life where having no hair was not important. I dedicated myself to self improvement on every level, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. It took me years to separate who I really am from my physical body and truly understand that I AM NOT my hair. To look at myself in the mirror and know that, with or without my hair, I’m still ME.
After 18 years of living with this condition, I finally ripped off the bandaid and 3 years ago, I decided that enough is enough and that I would stop hiding. I would start writing, creating and speaking about hair loss, the biggest pain I’ve ever experienced and also the blessing in disguise that became my greatest teacher. For the past 3 years, I’ve been doing everything in my power to give a voice to the hair loss community and support in every way I can through my coaching, videos, podcasts, interviews, and now through my blog.
After many years of soul searching, doctors visits, and lots of growth, I am sharing my story with you with the intention of leaving you with 2 things:
#1. You are not your body. What you look like does not define you, how far you are going to go or how much love you deserve. You are loved, you are amazing, perfect, whole and complete just the way you are.
#2 No matter what you are struggling with, find someone to talk to. No matter what your struggle is, do not keep it to yourself. You are loved and supported. It takes courage to share your struggles with ONE person, but that person can make a huge difference. Stop trying to be perfect or someone that you are not. Life is too short to be hiding or pretending. Be yourself now. To learn more about Valerie, visit: https://www.valeriefuentes.com/about/