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Hiding in plain sight

All I used to think about was appearing "normal" in front of my peers. I found myself wishing I could erase all of their memories of me and start from scratch. If only I could've pulled during the summer where I could hide away in my room and use the ever popular excuse, "Sorry, my mom said no." If only my eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair could grow back. If only I could have a break from this disorder that has caused me nothing but pain since the moment it started. If only...

One day, seemingly out of the blue, my wishes came true... kind of.

Everything started growing back. The urges to pull lessened. I couldn't exactly erase everyone's memories of me but I noticed that people stopped staring as much and stopped blurting things out like, "Barbara! Where are your eyebrows?" I finally had hair there! Yeah, it was patchy but it was there! I could finally appear "normal." Of course, my peers found other things to comment on like my body or height but it wasn't my trichotillomania and that felt like a win. Life would move on and slowly but surely everyone would forget the year I drew on my eyebrows, wore fake glasses and extra wide headbands.

Although I was excited that they might've forgotten, the real issue at hand was that I hadn't. I was scarred by what this disorder had done to me both physically and emotionally. I was wildly insecure and paranoid and I couldn't shake the feeling that I was walking on eggshells. I so desperately wanted this to be over but worried that if I go too comfortable it would come back. How can you enjoy something when a threat is looming?

I put on a brave face and tried my best. That's how.

Summer Camp. Age 13.


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