This essay is part of Mindstream’s participation in the Wellness Moonshot, an awareness campaign for a world free of preventable disease that’s led by the Global Wellness Institute. Each month has a theme, and January 2021 is BELIEVE.
By Kathi Tait
The mind-body connection can no longer be denied. Scientific proof from a multitude of studies has proven the existence of vibrational energy and shows how it can affect us physically. Harvard physician Herbert Benson, was one of the first to research and document what he called The Relaxation Response, a very measurable and significant change in physical, mental, and emotional responses related to stress through the use of meditation.
My own journey has also proven the importance of your beliefs to your wellness. For three decades I carried around a really big secret that I was terrified of — that people would learn I wasn’t normal, I was a freak. From age 9 my hair started falling out, and for many years my parents took me to doctor after doctor, specialists, alternative therapists and I was, basically, experimented on. This led to a very warped self-belief, cemented by peers bullying and ostracizing me. I shut myself down emotionally to avoid further hurt.
When I look back, I see some patterns around this theme. Firstly my inability to communicate and truly express myself in an authentic way coincided with several years of an annual bout of tonsillitis. My self-belief — I am a freak and, therefore, unlovable — showed up as a constant battle with my weight, augmenting the merry-go-round of diets and weight-loss plans that never worked.
It’s hard to articulate the weight of carrying around shame. That shame was not even valid — it was built from fear and societal norms that crushed my young spirit, drove me to hide, to fear discovery, and to limit what I did in my life to avoid situations where my secret might come out. These self-beliefs held me back.
My personal epiphany was not a moment in time but a series of lessons where my truth slowly and surely revealed itself to me. It started with a rather traumatic relationship where the only shining light was his belief in my inner beauty and his lesson that other people’s opinions didn’t actually matter as we are all equal. POW! This lesson was a revelation that started me on a path of questioning myself, my beliefs, my life, my path forward and…who was I exactly?
Each step I took revealed my true beauty. Each time I went to the shops bald I grew stronger: Each question from curious shoppers gave me confidence; each stare grew my defiance to be myself and to stand in my authenticity.
The final piece of my puzzle? My head tattoo. This is the most empowering thing I have ever done in my life and it shifted something inside me. Now I was proud of being unique, not scared. Proud of my differences to show the world it is okay. Proud that I grew strong enough to be this new version of myself.
Today I am happier than I have ever been. I have an unshakeable self-belief that my struggles have been lessons so I could answer my calling; spreading Alopecia awareness and fighting social norms that negatively impact our self-beliefs. I am the Baldwarrior.
Kathi Tait is the Baldwarrior coach and co-host of the BaldAndBlonde podcast. Autographed copies of her forthcoming book, “Baldwarrior: From self-sabotage to to self-love,” are available for pre-order. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.