Written by Aqib Saleem


Lawyer, Author, Columnist, Member of National Youth Assembly

Who Took My Hair

Sep 26, 2022 | 0 comments

Story Mark

Bald and beautiful, Karylle’s story shatters stereotypes about women

Having rare hair disorder, her battle reflects a deplorable journey when her kinfolk left her alone.

The transformational story of Karylle- whose battle with hair loss is more about a human story of sheer grit and survival. It also tends to bring an approach that how our society is lagging behind the outer beauty and turn a blind eye to moral values.

This story reveals everlasting friendship at such a point when her blood relations, in such a devastating situation, abandoned her support-less, but one of her true and sincere friend encouraged her to flee from this mournful situation and adorned her with the ultimate aspiration of daydream.

“I was diagnosed with Alopecia – an autoimmune and hormonal disorder. The people around me poked fun and bullied me. This unusual behaviour hurt me a lot with eyes full of tears.” She explains.

Her mother first observed a small flimsy spot on her head and brought it to the doctor’s attention. “Your body starts attacking your hair follicles, considering them a harmful external element. That’s how the hair loss happens,” she explains, saying that in five months she had almost lost most of her hair. “I maintained a distance from people thanks to the discrimination I faced. At an age when girls of my age were studying hard to turn their tender dreams into reality, I went into a sort of self-imposed hiding, possibly towards a defense mechanism.”

During the course of treatment, Karylle was recommended steroids ; she played along seeking a sense of restoration to her old self, having to endure painful scalp injections. The side effects ranged from increased facial hair to swelling. The treatment however seemed to click, briefly, as she grew her hair down. Excited at the new phase in her life, Karylle started planning her career goals – everything centered around her hair growing. However, the condition attacked her again. “I was broken,” she admits who turned a social recluse, just stepping outside to consult her doctor and even dressing and behaving androgynously. “I would talk, walk and dress like a boy, so no one even looked at me. I became a socially awkward person,” she adds.

‘I would run in the reverse direction if any guy seemed interested in me as I assumed he would back out if he discovered my condition. And I didn’t want to be hurt.’ She reveals.

It was a phase of severe depression and self doubt. Every one around her made fun of her. Finding herself in the clutch of ill mannered people, Karylle was having difficulty taking a full breath. She was shy to come out, scared to talk and confusion made her cry all the time. There came a moment in her life when she was totally exhausted from the blame game. Beyond this all, the noxious gossips of neighbor’s extorted all her happiness. The people used to call her by disreputed names, that oftenly made her embarrass and distracted from her line up.

It was all the dark side of her story, but quite the opposite, Karylle perceived a ray of hope in the shape of her true and sincere friend who always supported her by words of motivation to tackle this mournful situation. She urged her to bring back her shattered dreams. Consequently, Karylle decided to proceed her life journey by confronting the people with a fine touch of extrovert personality.

A couple of days later, clad in a floral dress, she made her first public appearance. “I no longer wanted to be invisible. I didn’t want people to ignore me assuming I was a boy. A lot of people gave weird stares. Some women whispered that I must be the rebellious kind to chop off my hair. That day my biggest achievement was that I wasn’t looking down in fear or embarrassment, I was making eye contact after a long time,” she recalls.

‘‘There is enormous pressure on women to look good and thus conform.’’

We hear a lot about what makes a woman – her thick hair, brown eyes or curvy frame…but a woman is so much more than that. She’s strong, relentless and fierce and her appearance can never represent all of that. In the light of her story, by perceiving a different approach, I have learnt acceptance is the key.



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