Parvathy Nair: Bad Hair Days

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We’ve all had a bad hair day. But Parvathy Nair developed a condition that made the prospect of bad hair days infinite.

It was yet another day in eighth grade. I was sitting in the corner of the classroom, quietly doing my math homework, when my best friend walked up to me and asked, “Parvathy, are you balding?” At first, I laughed- she was obviously joking, right? But one quick look in the girl’s bathroom mirror confirmed my worst fears – I was, in fact, losing my hair.

After a visit to the dermatologist, I was told that I had alopecia areata, a common autoimmune disorder that affects about one in every 500 Americans. Normally, this condition really isn’t a big deal. The hair, which falls out in small patches, grows back in a matter of weeks and sometimes months. Unfortunately for me, I had a rarer form, where the hair would take about four years to grow back to its full length. And when it did grow back, it would be stark white in color.

Now, at 13 years old, I thought my life was over. I truly believed that I would become an outcast and that my friends would start ignoring me. So for about a year of my life, I did whatever I could to cover that little part of me up, with hats, and hoods, and bows, and clips. Eventually, though, I got tired of hiding my hair. I found that it really wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it was. My friends didn’t stop being my friends just because I happened to be balding- in fact, they found the whole thing pretty funny. And soon, I found the funny side to it, too.

Now, almost three years later, I still have white hair. But I stopped being insecure about it and I’ve pretty much accepted that it’ll be there for a while. I now view this event as just a small bump in the road, even though three years ago, I truly thought that it was the end of the world. Let this be a lesson that the things you think are a huge deal right now, probably won’t even matter in a couple of years.

With a Perspective, I’m Parvathy Nair.

Parvathy Nair is a senior at Notre Dame High School in San Jose. Her piece was produced with free curriculum from KQED Learn Youth Media Challenges. For more information visit KQED Learn.