Haven’t you heard…Hair is not the necessity for beauty, you are.
“Haven’t you heard…Hair is not the necessity for beauty, you are.”
This pretty much sums up the purpose of this movement…The Bald Movement (TBM) was created by New York City model, Nell Coleman, so that women can realize their beauty despite society’s traditional image of beauty.
We are among some empowering and uplifting women who are ready to spread their wisdom, joy and aha moments with us in the most inspiring ways. I was so excited about Nell wanting to graciously share her motivating movement with NaturallyCurly.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you get started?
My name is Nell Coleman, a native of Little Rock, AR with a Barbadian background. I’m a semi pro model in Brooklyn, NY. As a teenager, I was ridiculed for my appearance including my hair, and because of it I did not love or accept myself.
In 2010, I decided that I would no longer allow the ways of the world to tell me that I wasn't beautiful because I didn't fit the stereotypical standard of beauty. To free myself from the stress of trying to fit in by changing my hair, I shaved my hair off in hopes of showing the world that hair was not needed to be beautiful. I then discovered that true beauty had nothing to do with the appearance and everything to do with who I was as a person. Your confidence, compassion, love for self and others, and your willingness to be yourself is what made you beautiful inside and out. I use The Bald Movement to show that no matter how you got there, bald is beautiful and to embrace it.
What is your mission?
To support and empower women and children to embrace the essence of being bald
What do you love most about being bald?
It's care free, stress free, easy to manage, no bad hair days, it accentuates my facial features, it allows people to focus on my face, it allows me to focus more on myself as an individual, hair can be very distracting you know.
What do you say to women who feel that their hair defines their self-worth?
As I always say, hair is not the necessity for beauty, you are.
Your hair doesn't determine your beauty; it's who you are on the inside that determines your beauty, your self-worth, your value. A beautiful heart, mind, and soul shines brighter than a women just a beautiful face or hair.
What are some of the reasons women have joined the movement?
Simply because of what the movement stands for. TBM is all about self-love, self-acceptance, building your confidence, reducing depression in those who don't feel beautiful, loving yourself no matter the circumstances, and even showing those with hair who support TBM that true beauty isn’t about the hair, it’s about you.
Battling Breast Cancer is About Inspiring, Embracing, and Motivating.
Hearing the news that the pathology report tested positive for Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer was not a surprise to me. At a very young age I watched one of my favorite aunts suffer and lose the battle against breast cancer. Since then there was always a fear growing inside of me that I would one day face the same battle. It was almost as if I felt cursed or knew I was pre-destined to one day go down this road. But just like anyone who ever experienced the first time uttering the words to themselves, "I have cancer" the tears began to fall. I decided that was the first and last day I would ever shed a tear over my diagnosis.
I wanted to find a way to make this battle worth it, by making a difference, by becoming an inspiration to others. I decided to take the worry out of everything. I stopped worrying about chemo, losing my hair, not surviving or even losing a breast. Those things no longer mattered to me, they no longer scared me. What scared me the most was missing my opportunity to turn this into something beautiful.
When I was first diagnosed, the radiologist decided she wanted to perform a second biopsy on another tumor to determine if I had multifocal or multi-centric breast cancer. While in the waiting room I noticed an older lady coming out of one of the exam rooms. The look on her face was all too familiar, filled with shock and heartache. As she stood alone with her body trembling, I could tell she was fighting back the tears. Something pulled on my heart to find a way to embrace her. I offered her a glass of water and I told her, "Something is tugging on my heart to hug you right now". So I gave her a big hug and I told her everything will be okay. There was a small sense of relief on her face to know she was not alone.
To me it’s events like that, that make all of this worth it. I know I am handling all of this better than most. Why is that? I do not know. Maybe it hasn't truly hit me yet. I don't know. But what I do know is God only chooses his strongest warriors to endure the worst, and for that reason I am looking forward to this battle. There is a reason God chose me to take on this battle and I don't want to waste any time as I try to discover why.
I am currently in the midst of my chemotherapy treatment and I am embracing and loving this bald head of mine. I use to be a person wrapped up in hair. I use to be jealous of girls with long beautiful hair that was naturally theirs. I use to spend hundreds of dollars on weaves and extensions. But now, none of that even matters. I feel beautiful without having to spend hundred on weaves, and being jealous of other women is a thing of the past. I am beautiful just the way I am. I am not my hair and my hair does not make me beautiful. What shows on the inside makes a person beautiful and I believe and feel that now.
My little bald head and my never-ending smile tell my story!
Anna Lisa Parrish
I will never forget the look of unconditional love on my baby girl's face as I walked out of the salon bald and in tears. It was a look that changed me forever. I was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes hair loss (in my case, total body hair loss) when my daughter was about seven months old. I had been losing clumps of hair for a couple months but I just thought it was normal, postpartum hair loss. I knew I had a problem when I realized all my arm hair was gone. During the time of my diagnosis, I was at the lowest point of my life emotionally and physically. I felt very uncomfortable with my body and I was very self-conscience about how I looked. We had just moved to a new city for my husband's job and I was having a hard time adjusting to a new city and having two kids. I was not in a good place and now I had a life changing diagnosis.
While my hair was falling out, I kept cutting it shorter just so it would look good and I wouldn't have to deal with long strands of hair everywhere. One day I decided to go in and get a cute "boy cut" because my hair was too thin to look good short. To my horror, the hairdresser took a number eight razor to my hair and shaved it all off! I was nowhere near being ready to accept my new reality with no hair, but now I didn't have a choice. As I was walking out of the salon, I stopped to pick up my daughter (thank God my husband and kids were there with me) and when I picked her up, she looked in my eyes and smiled at me. It was in that moment that I realized that no matter what I looked like, I was always going to be her mommy. In a split second, my seven month old changed my outlook. I am more than my hair. I am more than my outward appearance. I am a daughter of God. I am a wife and a mom. I am a daughter and friend. I am a business owner. I am me. I am more than my hair.
It's been a little over two years since my diagnosis and I have lost over 95% of my hair but I am happier than I have ever been. I own my own business, I am in the best physical shape I've been in for a long time, and most importantly, I am confident in myself. I decided shortly after my diagnosis that I wouldn't wear a wig or cover up my bald head because I wanted to be true to myself and show my kids what it's like to totally accept yourself, flaws and all. I see in the blessings around me every day how alopecia has made me a stronger and better woman and I can honestly say I am thankful for my alopecia.
As a person with alopecia, I used to cover up the spots as a teenager. That became tiresome and too much work. I enjoy minimalism when it comes to my hair. So as the alopecia progressed, I decided to cut it off to know what I'd look like without in case that became my reality. I loved it!! Over time the hair grew back long and strong. As my passion for advocacy grew I made a decision of compassion and support. The vital piece here is, being bald this time was as an active choice. My choice to support for those diagnosed with breast cancer. As an advocate for them I felt a need to deflect the stares and that discomfort. It became my trademark look and enables me to speak with anyone about my passion for this cause once they ask me why. I am more confident since making that I decision five years ago. I'm empowered and helping to empower other women about themselves internally by not being defined by their hair or lack of. Others compliment and are positive in their comments wishing they too could the same.
I have found so much peace in being bald and loving myself that I wish I would have done this ten years ago; it would have helped a lot with my self-image issues. I plan to stay bald for quite a while as I love the free-ness of getting up and just going. No hassle, no fret; just brush and go, if that. Not to mention, I feel more beautiful than I have ever felt in my life. After years of wearing weave because I felt I needed longer hair to be pretty, the damage has become irreversible and the hair thinning and hair loss from improper care, genetics, and a slew of other reasons led me to shave my hair off on July 8, 2014. I took the clippers and just went full scalp bald. The fact that I didn't cry when I shaved it was a sign that I had grown from the younger days when my hair defined me and meant the world to me and my image. I still slightly saw beauty in myself enough to feel good about shaving it. I wore head wraps for the first week because I was began to feel ugly and thought people were staring me at the time. The day before I went out without a head wrap, I looked at pictures of beautiful women online who were bald, and from them and their sassy diva-ness I became motivated and felt pretty. I walked out the door, bald, and never looked back. Almost two months in and I feel great. The damage from the weave and hair pulling is very vivid to me but I am dealing with it, finding faded hairstyles to rock while I wait to see if the damage really is permanent. All in all I feel great, beautiful, and a shower has never felt so amazing.
The first day I went outside without a head wrap was actually the day before I left for work and I went to the pool. There a young boy stared at me puzzled as to why I was a bald girl. His mother spoke to him in their native tongue and I could tell she telling him to stop staring at me, which caused his little sister to stare. The mother continued to look back and forth between me and him yelling at him to stop. I laughed inside because I knew how inquisitive he was, but I felt like maybe he thought or even his mother thought that I was sick, cancer, perhaps and I didn't want people thinking that I was ill. The craziest thing was my cousin commented on Facebook saying, "NOOOO why cousin, what were you thinking!!" All of the other comments were encouraging, motivating, and telling me I was still beautiful. My family did as expected and confirmed for me that looks are everything to them and that stuck with me, but not anymore. Be strong. It's ok to cry and feel unpretty, honestly because you are not unpretty, you are beautiful but it may take a moment for you to look in the mirror and see that and it's okay when you do. I felt so ugly until the more I looked in the mirror and saw myself in my natural raw state, detached from what I thought made me beautiful. I felt prettier than I had ever felt and so will you. We are not our hair. We are not defined by it. Your beauty lies within your heart, soul, courage, and bravery. Do not be afraid to embrace who you are. We focus so much on trying to look perfect that we forget that perfection does not exist. Once we remove that stigma that beauty is created by the things we add to our appearances and focus on beauty being exactly what it is: Self-Love - we will never feel ugly again. Kudos on your journey
I love how the Bald Movement brings us all together as one. Being women we all need to come together and support each other. We all have one thing in common; we are not bald and beautiful, we are beautiful and just happen to be bald. The wonderful thing about the movement is that we are all here for each other. We pick each other up when we are down, and sometimes just lay beside us until we are ready to get up. We are a family.
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