Thursday, April 26, 2012

Stare Trip

Last night, I went to kisado for my Wednesday night workout.  On the way home, Hubby texted me on my dying phone that we needed milk.  I'm just happy the phone had a little bit of juice left, because otherwise we'd be shuffling around trying to find something else besides cereal to make the kids for breakfast.

I debated stopping at the store, though, because I didn't have a hat with me.  I hopped in the car bald, as an apt to do on the way to TKD or kisado.  I took the right into the grocery store parking lot at the last minute. 

I guess, I'm sort of insecure about being bald still, especially in an environment where there are a lot of people who will stare at you and judge you but not ask you about it.  I think this comes from that fact that I was bullied as a child.  I always wanted to hide my head, so it's hard to walk into an environment with people you don't know, knowing you're different than everyone else and wondering what they're thinking about you.

Still, I walked in.  I booked it to the frozen food section to grab a lunch for tomorrow.  Then I grabbed some string cheese, as I felt in the need for some dairy. People were looking at me the whole time, some staring blatantly, some glancing and then turning their eyes.

I walked over to grab the milk, and one of the Publix employees who is there on the weekends turned to me and greeted me. 

"I see you don't have the troops today," he said. 

I smiled, "Nope, left them at home!" 

"Must be so much easier," he said. "Have a good night."

Leaving the store, I wondered why I felt so much trepidation stepping in there in the first place.  As humans we want to feel accepted by others. We may say that we don't care what people think about us, but it's not really true.  Everyone wants to feel accepted as part of a community, part of the group. 

We learn this from an early age, in tests: "Which one is different? Apple, Banana, Broccoli."  We learn to seek out differences, so when someone different is in our presence we stare.  In a smaller setting, usually people don't have problems asking questions about it, but being thrown into a grocery store and everyones' mind churning a mile a minute thinking things about you is quite different.

Honestly, I think going into the store was a major breakthrough for me.  I mean, some people won't even leave the house without a full face of makeup, and I just went out without putting my hair on.  There was a time if anyone asked me about my alopecia I would just turn red and start crying, and it took me a long time to realize spreading awareness of the disease is the key.

So next time you see someone who is different from you, be sensitive to their needs and try not to stare so much.


  1. Do adults really just blatently stare?!? I figured kids would...especially out of curiosity. I guess I'm kinda like the ones that might glance and then look off (opposite of staring.) I will generally make conversation with anyone (this is something new I've been working on for the last few years...after decades of being extremely shy) so I'm still practicing!

  2. I make conversation with anyone too.  It's funny, I find that the adults who stare are the ones who have children who stare.  Go figure, kids learn something from their parents!  I think enough people around town are getting used to my bald head now, that pretty soon everyone will just accept it! LOL.

  3. Lauren, I agree with your previous comment - the more that you and others go out in public confidently, the less "unusual" you will be appear because the general public will be used to it.  I'm so proud of you and your confidence.  When we are in Birmingham together, I want you to know that you can be bald with us!  Just do whatever is most comfortable for you.  We do not care!!!


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