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Alopecia – Hiding my condition affected my confidence

Hi, I’m Abby Andrew Shaffer, and I have alopecia. I host a YouTube channel that focuses on topics related to my hair loss and wearing wigs.
I began to lose my hair when I was two. For the first few years, I hardly thought about it.  But, as I got older, I became increasingly self-conscious about my condition. I was fortunate that there were such great, stylish wigs available, so that only my closest friends were aware that I had alopecia.  But, it was still a struggle.  As a teenager, I worried about people figuring out I wore wigs and how I would be perceived.
In our culture, hair is such an important part of our identity, especially in our perceptions of femininity.  What did it mean to be bald as a woman?  As I approached the time I would go away to college, I fretted constantly over how I would handle this in a new environment where I lived with strangers and met new people on a daily basis.
Of course, once there, I made new friends and it all worked out.  But, I began to notice the stifling effect that hiding my condition had on my confidence.  So, I made the decision to go public.  I started by posting about my alopecia on Facebook—there was no going back after that.   And then I created my YouTube channel to talk about my experiences, both negative and, surprisingly, positive.  After all, I get to choose on a daily basis whether I’m blonde or brunette, have a short pixie cut or long curls.
You can find my YouTube channel “Abby Andrew” at