It’s been 3 years.
Back in 2014, I had a long post written up about my absence at the time. It was never finished, but the majority of this was due to the a long story of experiences, work struggles, personal struggles and health. I’d rather summarize than try and copy it all over into a neat little package. If I tried to replicate it completely, it’d never get posted for another 2 years.
In September of 2013 I gained something called “Alopecia Universalis”. It is an condition resulting from auto immune system disorder, resulting in the complete and total loss of all body hair. Anywhere and everywhere. It’s the most extreme case up from “Alopecia Totalis”, which is the entire head, and “Alopecia Areata” which is merely patches and spots of hair loss. The theory it came to me, resulting from my diabetes or a combination of it and both my depression and anxiety, considering I had suffered extreme emotional stress that previous summer and continued to struggle with mental health throughout the years. However, it was a very sudden loss of head hair within two weeks and the rest of the body in the following months of early that next year.
With the struggle to gain work and continue as I wanted in a line of work that was becoming increasingly obvious to be overly competitive and nonsupporting of new entrants, now combined the lack of emotional and mental confidence with my newly received lack of physical confidence. New fears of whether I could get ANY employment with my condition, in a world where I believed too many people judged you based on your appearance. Where getting a life supporting job in something like retail was impossible without a good body or at least a good face. And now I had neither.
From late 2013 to this year, I struggled socially, economically, mentally and physically.
Socially, friendships frayed that I still greatly care for. Companions I tried to gain were let go. New social circles were built after others faltered in their own unrelated life dramas. And connections were built in a network of related interests of careers and hobbies.
Career wise, I went to Work BC for a long time to find work. I worked at a print shop twice within half a year, where one financially led to lay offs and the others simply didn’t connect. In time, I worked as a proper and official contract Illustrator for a small childrens app company. But in half a year it also suffered it’s own lay offs and the results led to my own leave. I eventually took part in a small start up company, at the same time working a regular part time retail job at an art framing and gallery shop. Honestly that was some of the more enjoyable times of the last few years, some of the more recent too.
Physical and Mental health will always be a struggled. Diabetes is life long and so is depression and anxiety, which means the Alopecia will probably not go away too. It’s an unfortunate situation that I can play off lightly even if it effects me more deeply than I like to consider. But I live as I can through it. For example, I’ve learned to portray and style myself in bright colours and fashion that boosts confidence. I do not wear wigs, or hide my condition. The thought is: if I’m afraid I won’t be loved or thought beautiful, then hiding what I look like will not help the possibility. If I find love within a lie, then I will always be afraid of revealing myself. But if I show who I am and find love, then I know it’s for whats real.
Now I’m at a better point. There are still shakey moments, nothings is perfect and things could be better. They always could. The problem is comparing what you had or what you could have had. And yes, it does do a lot to tell what needs to change or needs to improve. It doesn’t mean you want to settle. But it means you’ve gotten somewhere. Years of crawling out of the mud and you’re at least walking.