This past week I was in Los Angeles, California apartment hunting with one of my best friends and boy, did we explore the city! We were up and down and all around LA! It was so much fun.
While my friend was driving to our next apartment tour, I was looking around and taking in the different neighborhoods. Oh, that looks like a nice restaurant. Maybe we should look into those apartments? I'm obsessed with all of these purple trees! Wait, is that lady pulling her hair out?
During a stop at a red light, I glance around and notice a woman sitting down at a bus stop. I continue looking around, except my attention is brought back to this woman because I notice her repetitive hand movement. Something clicks, my trichotillomania brain is on full alert. Wait, is she doing what I think she's doing? She most certainly was.
She was searching and then pulling. Quickly and consistently. She was pulling from the front of her scalp and I could see some regrowth (yay!!!). It looked just like my bald spots. I wanted to say something. Should I say something?
In a perfect world I would've rolled down the window and yelled, "Hey! I have trichotillomania too! You aren't alone!" She would've already known about it, been happy to talk about it, and we would've exchange information. What actually happened was me sitting in the seat, window up, wishing I could say something to her but knowing I couldn't.
What if she felt embarrassed being called out? What if she didn't know what trichotillomania was? What if she became angry? What if this wasn't the right time for her? What if, instead of making her feel less alone, I ruined her day?
So I said nothing. This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last. If you've read my memoir, The Trichster Diaries, you'll remember that moment in 6th grade lacrosse where I wanted to say something to a girl on the opposing team but never did. I think of her often and I'm sure I'll think of this LA woman often too. Wishing them the absolute best. Sending them so much love on their journeys. Always.