In a world that often equates a woman's hair with her identity and beauty, I, too, was raised with the belief that my hair was my crown and glory. But life has a way of challenging the very beliefs we hold dear, and in my early thirties, I began to experience hair loss due to genetic female pattern baldness. I felt embarrassed, ashamed and helpless, and even tried to hide my thinning hair by growing locs then had to resort to wigs.
My journey started with feelings of powerlessness and included countless attempts to conceal my hair loss, but ultimately led me to a profound epiphany: I am not my hair. It took years, but I finally realized that my hair loss didn't define me; it was merely a chapter in my story.
This is the journey of how I learned to accept hair loss and embrace my inner strength to show up unapologetically and authentically as myself.
My Journey of Hair Loss
My hair loss began insidiously, subtly eroding my sense of self. I clung to the remaining strands, fearing the worst: the world would perceive me as a lesser version of myself once my hair was gone. Yet, as I ventured into online communities and groups of women who had boldly chosen to shave their heads, I found unexpected inspiration. The women radiated confidence and beauty, even without a single strand of hair. They were warriors, unapologetically confident in their own skin. Encouraged by their strength, I mustered the courage to visit a barber in August and shave my head. It was a moment of liberation unlike any I had ever experienced.
Discovering My Inner Strength
As the owner of a jewelry brand that empowers women, I knew that I had to practice what I preached. Embracing my baldness was not just a personal journey; it embodied the core values of my brand. I needed to accept that I was a powerful woman, not defined by my hair or lack thereof. My choice to shave my head had to send a message to other women – that it's perfectly okay to be yourself, to be different, and to defy societal standards. The act of shaving my head served as a declaration - that I was a confident woman, unburdened by society's narrow beauty ideals.
“As an entrepreneur who runs a jewelry brand focused on empowering women, I knew I needed to walk the walk and talk the talk. It was crucial for me to accept who I was… a powerful woman not defined by her hair (or lack of it).”
Redefining Beauty and Authenticity
Even now, as I continue to embrace my baldness, there are days when I still reach for a wig or a baseball cap, but those moments are growing fewer and far between. Society's pressure on women to conform to certain beauty standards is undeniable, with hair playing a leading role. Embracing my baldness has been a lesson in authenticity, confidence, and contentment with myself, both on the inside and with my outward appearance. I'm learning to be comfortable in my own skin, and it's a journey that's leading me to a newfound sense of freedom.
Empowering Women Through Candace Stribling Jewelry
The road to accepting hair loss has not been without challenges, but with each hurdle, I’ve learned something about my resilience and how powerful that is. Embracing my baldness made me realize that I possessed the power to break free from societal and self-imposed limitations.
With every inch of hair I lost, my inner strength grew. I became bolder, more fearless, and more self-assured than ever before. My personal transformation and acceptance have led me to feel more aligned with my brand values, which have existed for years before I decided to shave my head. The irony in this is not lost on me. I’m more equipped now to lead and empower other women to show up as their authentic selves than ever before.
As a jewelry designer, I’m honored to help other women showcase their inner strength through artfully designed jewelry that accentuates their strength, resolve, and ability to overcome any obstacle.
Celebrating Individuality and Our Unique Flaws
Becoming your authentic self isn't just about accepting physical changes; it's about accepting who you are as a person. My experience with hair loss has shown me that true strength comes from within, independent of external factors. It's about celebrating our individuality and being proud of who we are, imperfections and all. Without a doubt, I will use my experience and my story to be a cheerleader for other women struggling with similar insecurities.
I hope my story is an inspiration to women who may be struggling with their confidence. If I can encourage just one woman to find her power, embrace her unique beauty, and celebrate her individuality, my story is worth telling.
As you navigate your own journey, remember this…
You are not defined by your hair or any other physical characteristic – only you get to define yourself.