Why it is Important to Share Your Story with Courage and Authenticity

I’m a bald woman – a boldly bald woman who refuses to hide her head under hot, itchy wigs so nobody will see my baldness and ridicule me.

So what? Why should anybody care that I choose to face the world every day with my bald head shining and a smile on my face?

Because we’re all bald in some way. We all have something about ourselves we are uncomfortable with, something we’d  rather hide than risk being singled out for or rejected because of, something that drains self-confidence and hobbles genuineness. Those challenges are blessings in disguise opportunities for self-acceptance and growth.

I’m sharing this interview with Eamonn O’Brien, President of The Reluctant Speaker’s Club located in Dublin, Ireland, to illustrate the power of story to change perceptions and facilitate growth.

Why should you listen? Because you have a story too – that only you can tell – that has the potential to touch someone else and help them to break through their own circumstances and reclaim their self-confidence and joy.

http://www.thereluctantspeakersclub.com/blog/2015/05/courageous-authentic-storytelling-irresistible-speak-podcast-45/

Today I Had Occasion to Consider My Death

None of us will get out of this world alive. But how often do we think about what a wonderful adviser the inevitability of death can be to our everyday living?

I went from not feeling well to a priority one ride in an ambulance.  It was a small stroke (TIA) and spent three days in the hospital. Follow up testing returned a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy. If I don’t do anything, I’ll live a few more years. With treatment I’ll likely live an ‘almost’ normal life span.

I’d been given a gift of reprieve in which to look at my life.

What will I do with the time I have left?

What am I doing now? Is it the best use of my time for myself and those I love?

Is there something I’m doing I would be happier letting go of?

Am I doing something with my time that will offer help and solace to another?

Will there be a ripple effect from my time here that will go on after my physical presence is no more?

All of those questions led me to this final question:  Is there something I want or need to change?

Here are my answers.

I will love those God has brought into my life through the sharing of my time, my energy and my joy, and reminding them they are loved and their presence in my life is cherished. I will release petty injuries and injustices that are simply part of life and keep my relationships in good repair as I am able.

I recognize the value in my work to help women step out of the shadow of their fear, reconnect with their courage and reclaim their self-esteem and joy. What I do offers them solace and hope and provides encouragement and laughter. These things touch woman to woman in ever outward ripples.. My efforts make a difference in the lives of others and that is a legacy I am happy with.

Although I am happy with my direction and purpose for the time I have left, there are changes to be made.

I will listen to the needs of my body and stop abusing it with poor nutritional choices and lack of exercise to help it live longer and healthier. I will let go of the mind set that not being able to do something perfectly means not doing it at all, and adopt a mantra of small steps in the right direction will take me where I want to go. I will strive to do my best, and forgive myself for less than my best.

I will put the beloved people in my life first and my work second so I will have no regrets when my time as a sojourner through this world is done. I will do what I can, where I am, with what I have and be grateful for each new God-given day.

My Podcast is a Calving Glacier – An interview hosted by Kate Loving and The Collective Wisdom

Glacier CalvingIn a glacier getting ready to calve – nothing much seems to be happening until…it does.

But, in the shifting, stretching, splitting and sliding process of glacier calving, there’s a lot of covert activity.

What does this have to do with my upcoming podcast?

It’s been one heck of a cold winter and sitting in front of my computer with extra layers of clothing and my little space heater blowing hot air on feet refusing to warm up, a big chunk of ice breaking off from a bigger chunk of ice seems an appropriate metaphor.

There’s a lot to learn about podcasting before anything happens. I’ve been shifting, stretching, splitting and sliding my way through the learning curve of how-to.

And now, poised on the edge is a video interview ready to slide from the mother lode of topics to come.

During this interview Kate Loving Shenk, radio talk show host of Kate Loving And The Collective Wisdom, asks some insightful questions into the purpose and potential of Boldly Bald Women and lays the foundation for the benefits of listening to the-soon-to-be-released podcast series.

Take a look, if you will please. Share the interview with your media world. Help me reach the women who will benefit from hearing the podcasts and having opportunities for more individualized help.

Why? Because, if you don’t already know a woman who struggles with the emotional and social impacts of hair loss, or know of someone who does, the likelihood is that at some time in the future you will. And you’ll already know how best to help. Click link to view.

Powerful Boldly Bald Women

What Can You Do? Will You?

What a different world this would be if everyone did just one kind thing for someone else each day. And if those who received such acts of kindness had an attitude of gratitude instead of the greedy sense of entitlement so many have these days.

You are so right that good people find themselves in horrendous situations. And, unfortunately, good people with the means and desire to help are often taken advantage of horribly and pull back from offering aid.

In our time of lightening fast communication it seems the negatives find a way to fly into our homes and lives so much faster and are more frequently focused on than the positive, genuine and generous.

It is said that what we think, so we become. What we focus on is what we think about. I believe there is true evil in the world, and it is not to be denied nor underestimated.

But…what if we focus on bringing the good – and there is good – to the foreground of our thoughts and lives? What if we as individuals and nations and a world energized the good and took sensationalism away from the bad?
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Upcoming Podcast – Boldly Bald Women: How to Survive and Thrive in a Hair-Obsessed World

I am so excited to share the newly created cover for my upcoming podcast. I will be interviewing both experts and women who have struggled with hair loss and found a way to regain their self confidence and reclaim their joy. The mission of this podcast is to extend our reach to as many women as possible who would benefit from acceptance, understanding and knowledge about thriving as bald women.

Please share this on your facebook pages. Together we can open a pathway for our sisters to follow that will make living with alopecia – or any other form of hair loss – easier for those who follow us.

I am currently scheduling interviews and look forward to hearing from women with stories and tips about how to go from the shadows of shame, embarrassment and fear to that place of confidence and joy. If you have a story to tell about living as a Boldly Bald Woman or the steps you went through to get to that place, please email me at psfitros@att.com with “Podcast Interview” in the subject line.

I am so grateful to alopecia universalis for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful world-wide community!

Pam Fitros, author
Boldly Bald Women
psfitros@att.net

57% of Teen Girls and 44% of Adult Women Agree Hair Defines Who They Are

Podcasting – Who Says You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I am sooooo excited! I’m learning how to PODCAST! The first time I heard the word I wondered why someone would use milkweed pods for cast fishing. Do you know what podcasting is? It’s a lot easier to learn than you might think. I’ve joined a FREE online course and I’m so thrilled to have found it I want to share with anyone who might be interested.  Here’s the information:

I’m Taking the 30-Day Podcasting Challenge – Are You?

  • Are you an author, speaker, coach, or entrepreneur with a message to share?
  • Would you like to discover a HOT medium that helps you expand your reach?
  • Do you want to learn a POWERFUL and AFFORDABLE way to market your book to a global audience?

Then you are in the right place, at the right time!

PODCASTING SUCCESS FREE PASS

I’m thrilled to share with you D’vorah Lansky and Doug Foresta’s 30-Day Podcasting Challenge

During the 30-Day Podcasting Challenge you’ll have access to step-by-step tutorials, expert interviews, articles, daily action steps, hot tips, special gifts, and opportunities to expand your online presence.

Claim your FREE ACCESS PASS while it’s on your mind:

PODCASTING SUCCESS FREE PASS

How cool is that?!!!

Jordyn’s Yia Yia Has AL LOW PEE (giggle giggle) SHAH

When I walked my granddaughter through the halls to her kindergarten class with a smile on my face and my bald head, there were a lot of comments and questions. I could see my granddaughter, who has decided she likes me better without hair than with hair, was getting uncomfortable.

I answered questions and soon had a flock of children clambering for attention until the bell rang and they had to run to their classrooms. This, I thought, will be a great opportunity to teach. I went to the office and said I wanted an all school assembly on the topic of hair loss and bullying. Whoda thunk it…they said yes and a week later I spoke to the entire elementary school. I asked my granddaughter to stand up and tell her school the name of why her Yia Yia has no hair. She did. I had the whole school repeat the word.

“What?” I said cupping my ears.
“AL LOW PEE (giggle giggle) SHUH,” they shouted.
“Oh, come on, I said, you can do better than that!”

They shouted it again and I started asking questions. Had anybody in their family lost some or all of their hair? Did they know why?

There were many responses, among them cancer therapies.

I talked about alopecia and what it did to get rid of hair and keep it from growing back in kid friendly terms. We talked and laughed and I told a story and hands went up all over the room. Their interest was intense and the level of involvement enormous. I was surprised and happy and knew this was something I could really have fun with.

At the end I asked them, “Who am I?”
“Jordyn’s Yia Yia!”

Where’s Jordyn? I had her stand up again. Everybody was telling her how cool her grandmother was – a delightful perk for me!

After that, Jordyn was the most famous kindergartener in the school and whenever I walked her to her classroom kids called out in the hallway.

“Hello Jordyn’s Gramma! I remember you. You have AL LOW PEE SHAH!”

And I waved back and said, “I remember you too. You were in the assembly!”

It was lovely. The entire school had a new perspective. Kids with hair loss were treated with knowledgeable interest and respect.

What surprised me even more and completely melted my heart was what happened the first time I walked Jordyn into her first grade class the following September.

“Hello Jordyn’s Gramma! I remember you. You have AL LOW PEE SHAH!”

And I waved back and said, “I remember you too. You were in the assembly!”

*sigh* I do so love being bald.

6 Ways to Share Your Experiences with a Wider Audience

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce Donna K. Fitch, Technology Guru to the Technologically challenged – that would be me among many thousands of others who looking for a way to express and share their experiences and thoughts on the internet. Many of the chapters in Boldly Bald Women were based on past blog posts. If you are looking for help setting up a professional looking WordPress blog, Donna is your go to person.
Donna transferred my website from a previous provider to WordPress. My husband was very grateful to her. Why? Because before Donna, my technological sanity was teetering on the edge. My little Greek was certain the rest of me would follow into Lala Land and he’d never see the real me again.

Donna K.Donna K. Fitch Fitch, Master of Library Science, Master’s Certificate in Web Design and Development, is the founder and CEO of Maximum Author Impact, creating beautiful WordPress websites, training webinars and other resources for indie authors. She is the independent author of Second Death, The Source of Lightning, and The Color of Darkness and Other Stories, and a long-time member of the Horror Writers Association. In her day job, she is the digital communication specialist in the office of marketing and communication at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

 Your hair loss may come from disease, chemotherapy, stress, or any number of other reasons, but as I’ve learned from Pam, sharing your story and expressing your feelings is a better approach for your mental health than hiding in a dark room. Today’s online technology makes it easier than ever before to share your experiences with a wider audience. The idea may sound overwhelming, but it’s really not as bad as you think. Here are some suggestions online venues for talking about your hair loss, and how to get started with them.

1. Facebook

So many people use Facebook on a daily basis that this is the least scary option for sharing your hair loss experiences. Either use your personal page, or create a business or interest page as a way of consolidating your writing and making it easier for people to find. Another Facebook option is creating a group. A group creates a space where you can discuss your experiences with other members. We hear so much about how technology creates isolation, but the Facebook group can become a close-knit community of support and reassurance.

2. Twitter

How do you share your experiences in messages of only 140 characters? Granted, constructing messages for Twitter is more challenging than Facebook, but it can be done. Be creative; write out your message before you post it, and condense it to the absolute heart of what you want to say. Leave a few characters so anyone retweeting (RT) your post has room to include their request to RT. As you pick up followers, be sure to respond to them and welcome them. You can create a community, even with such short messages.

3. Pinterest

Pinterest is all about images. People love images, so take advantage of this by posting pictures of visual interest—textured scarves, unusual wigs, whole-head tattoos, funky earrings. Beautiful landscapes with inspiring quotations allow people to participate by sharing. Use your imagination to help others understand how hair loss makes you feel. Hate itchy wigs? Visualize how to convey that to others. Thinking of dyeing what’s left of your hair? Photograph your head and doctor the photo using a photo-editing service to experiment with boldly fun colors!

4. Blog

Keeping up a blog does require a commitment to yourself and your readers, but it isn’t all that difficult. WordPress.com is just one of the place you can create a blog for free. A step-by-step wizard walks you through what to do, and help is just a click away. Not only do blogs allow you to share with others, but readers can comment on your post to create an ongoing dialogue. If you want to reach a wide variety of people, a blog is the best way to do it.

5. Guest blog post

If you don’t feel up to creating your own blog, guest blogging is the next best thing. Find a blog that contains content you like and that is appropriate to your message, and ask the blog owner if she accepts guest posts. The only responsibility you have is to write up your post in MS Word and send it to the owner. She will take care of posting it for you. Once the post is up, be sure to visit the page and comment if anyone has questions. Guest blogging is a great way to develop relationships with others who share your experiences.

6. Podcast

Podcasting takes a little bit more effort in setup, but is a wonderful way to share your stories with others. Blog Talk Radio is just one of the sites where you can easily set up a podcast. Name your podcast series, make sure you have a microphone, and talk to your audience. Yes, it’s that easy!

These places are just a few ways you can communicate with others. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to share, whether it’s social media, blogging or podcasting. Share your favorite tools in the comments below!

 

Having a place to express your thoughts and feelings is great. Take advantage of Donna’s special offer: Just Getting Started Special.

Dear Mark

Today I responded to a comment in a public forum from a man who has has alopecia universalis – no body hair at all – since he was thirteen.

He is in my Baby Boomer generation, and there was little help available to cope with alopecia when he was a child. This wonderful man shared his hurt and his pain over the bullying he experienced both as a child and an adult. It took courage to share. My heart was full of empathy and compassion for him, and I could not leave without responding. Here’s what I wrote:

You are so right about growing up and the rest of the world staying immature and ignorant in areas in which they have no experience. I too have experienced the negativity, but I didn’t have to deal with it as an adolescent like you did.

There was no understanding of alopecia then and zero help for kids to cope. And that sucks. Today things are changing – way too slowly to be sure, but changing. And a lot of that has to do with bald men and women stepping out of the shadows, openly accepting their hair loss, reclaiming their joy and sharing it with others.

I’m 64, bald as an egg and loving every minute of it. It was wigs I hated. And the feeling I was no longer worthy to be seen by society. It was worrying more about taking care of other people’s feelings than my own feelings, comfort and personal freedom that left bitterness in my heart.Continue Reading