It’s heartbreaking how women have to bear the pressure of unrealistic beauty standards. These standards leave many feeling less about themselves. The constant need to meet these beauty standards is the reason why so many women lack self-confidence and self-love.
Since our childhood, we are taught to hate our bodies and appearances. It’s a matter of great disappointment how many young girls are made to hate their bodies just because they are different from how society perceives beauty. But here is one woman, Neehar, who was pushed to the extreme to hate herself because of a medical condition Alopecia. Alopecia is a condition that develops when the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.
How this brave woman suffered society’s brutal attempts to demean & shame her; and didn’t lose herself is a story worth celebrating. While sharing her inspiring story with HOB, this brave woman shared:
“I was 6 months old when I began losing my hair–I had Alopecia. My parents gave me ayurvedic treatment for it to grow back, but it didn’t. At 6, I lost part of my eyebrow, so mom would draw one on me; she told me I’d look prettier. That’s when I grew self-conscious.
The last time I had a full head of hair was when I was 9; I wore a hat to school. I was questioned by my classmates; once a boy in my class took off my hat and said, ‘I thought there was a rabbit hiding under there.’ Around that time, my parents bought me a wig; I was excited because I thought I’d finally look ‘normal’.
But then, the meanest girl in class yelled at me, ‘Oh my God, is that a wig?’ I felt as if she’d stripped away my identity. I drowned in shame as she laughed. Then my best friend made a YouTube video about me titled: ‘10 things I hate about Neehar.’ Her 10th reason was: Neehar wears a wig. I felt betrayed–I’d confided in her about my condition.
Middle school was a living hell; I feared swimming class the most– I’d sit it out. ‘How are you always on your period?’, the other girls would ask. Being teased gave me anxiety; I lashed out my frustrations on my parents. They felt helpless.
So in high school I decided to focus on my studies and extracurriculars. That’s when I made a solid group of friends and even a boyfriend! I didn’t tell him about my hair immediately. But when I did, he just said, ‘I have enough hair for the both of us.’ Over time, my hair began growing back and I got rid of the wig I was wearing since 6 years!
But then, I began losing my hair again. My family suggested I get steroid shots on my head. The treatment had a reverse effect and I almost became bald! When my Dadi asked me, ‘Now who will marry you?’ I angrily retorted, ‘Someone who sees that I have a good head over my shoulders!’ That was the moment I decided to shave it all off.
My friends threw me a party called, ‘Neehar’s Bald Bash.’ I requested dad to shave me and asked mom to watch. It wasn’t only about me; this was also for my parents. I didn’t want them to answer society’s questions. Mom was nervous as dad cut my hair hesitantly. When he finished, I looked in the mirror at the real me and said, ‘Wow, I don’t look bad at all!’
I owned my look and went to school. The response was overwhelmingly positive. They knew it didn’t bother me anymore. My bullies wanted to be friends; some even apologized– one of them said, ‘You look amazing. I’m sorry for being mean; I hope you can forgive me.’
Today, I can go on a roller coaster without fearing if my wig will fall off. I can take part in dance contests without worrying how to tie my hair. I’ve even started blogging about my experiences. My self love mantra is simple, really: I’m bold, bald and absolutely beautiful.”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of this beautiful woman and hope her inspiring story will encourage many women to let go of the unfair burden of beauty standards that society imposed on us. We hope many more would find themselves inspired to fall in love with themselves.
Because whatever people may say – self-love is the purest form of love and letting society deprive us of that love is the biggest crime that we can do against ourselves!