‘I was aware that I had a bald spot on my head that kept getting bigger because mum and dad told me. We saw a doctor about it in the summer and he said I had Alopecia. I couldn’t see any of it myself because it was on the back of my head at first, so I didn’t really worry about it. I just wore a loose, low ponytail and a cap to cover it. But then one time, I was in the bathroom with my sister Nova and I asked her to take a picture of the back of my head with her phone. When I saw it, I called out for my mum. I had no idea it was that bad. I was aware that a lot of hair fell out when I brushed my hair, but it was only when I saw that picture that I realized I was actually going bald. I didn’t like it at all. I was angry and sad.
After the summer, mum and I went to a foundation to choose my first wig. They let me try on four different ones. Three of them were horrible, and the fourth one was all right, so we went for that one. In the beginning, I was glad that I had at least something, but later on I was disappointed about it. It was itchy, it didn’t stay in place and when I did a headstand, you could tell it wasn’t my hair. That’s why I didn’t end up wearing it very often. I’d rather wear a cap.
My classmates at school started to notice that less and less hair came out from under my cap. Some kids said things like ‘old grandma’ and ‘bald piggy’, or they asked if I had cancer. I would cry about it at home. The teacher and I decided that I would tell the whole class at once what was going on. I found it really intense. I was talking really fast and looked at my mum the whole time, who was sitting at the back of the classroom. No one said anything afterwards, there were no questions. I thought it was a pity, but it was all right. A boy said: ‘The best way to help Sara is to not talk about it’. Everyone acts normal now. Only once in a while someone will say something mean, but the teacher is very careful about that.
During the Christmas break I had so little hair left that I wanted to cut it off. I messaged Veronique on Instagram before doing it because I was really scared. She replied saying I should look at myself in the mirror a hundred times a day and I would soon get used to it. I have that message hung up next to my mirror. It helps that she always looks happy and strong in the picture. If she can do it, maybe I can too. Everyone was there the day I had it cut off: dad, mum, my two sisters and a friend of my mum’s, who’s a hairdresser. We wanted to make a party out of it, with pink cakes and kids champagne, but when I cut the first braid, all of us cried. My oldest sister had made me a heart-shaped box so I could store my braids inside it. We sprayed one of them with hair spray, and the other one is really soft and I can stroke it.
I started feeling better the day after cutting my hair. I also got a new wig that suited me a lot better and this one does stay in place when I do a handstand. I always put it on to go to school, but as soon as I get home, I take it off, and when I exercise, I wear a beanie. I hope I’ll dare to exercise bald in the summer, that sounds really nice. My neck used to get really sweaty, but I don’t have that problem anymore. The first swimming children’s party will be exciting. I will have to go bald then because you can’t swim with a wig on. Other than that, I don’t really miss my own hair. It wasn’t that pretty anyway. And mum says I look beautiful without hair. She says out of everyone in the family, bald suits me the best. I’m starting to joke about it more and more at home. When I fart, I always lift my beanie - so funny.
I’m going to make my speech about Alopecia soon. If I’m brave enough, I will show my bald head to the class. And if I don’t dare, I’ll show them a picture of Veronique. I’ll just see how I feel.