8.6.14

My Confession

This is actually as much of a confession as it is a testimony (and you all finally get to see what my face looks like).
But it starts as a confession.
See, I have an issue. I don't trust God. This leads to me stressing out a lot. Worrying. Having anxiety issues. That leads to me pulling out my hair.
These two pictures are from 2011, before I started pulling out my hair. See how thick it is?
I remember it starting last school year (12-13) during late winter/early spring. I was stressed about school and summer camp.
I can't even recall exactly how it began. It was so gradual. I think it started because I would pull apart split ends in my hair, and somehow that led to pulling it out. I don't really remember, though.
It didn't get bad until camp last summer. It's a stressful job—you're in charge of (on average) fifteen girls with one other person for a week. There isn't a break until the weekend. Anything could go wrong. In fact, something always does. But we don't need to get into details.
After camp (August, mostly), it got worse. I already had a bald spot on the back of my head that I'd made during June/July. But once school started, everything took a downward spiral.
This goes back to what I said earlier. I have trust issues with God. Major ones.
School was overwhelming, I felt inferior to just about everyone, and I basically hated myself. I mean that. I was so angry at myself for not being able to stop pulling out my hair. For not being better. Perfect.
For a few days in October, I was actually able to stop pulling because I was so terrified of losing all of my hair. But it only lasted for a few days.
Then November came. Please understand that in no way am I blaming the people who run NaNoWriMo for this. I love those people. I pushed myself too far. I was the one not trusting God. So when I got behind in my word count (my grandfather passed away on the last day of October, so the next few days were full of funeral stuff. Plus I was working for a few weekends with no time to write), I was stressed. And guys—it's really easy to sit there and stare at a Word document and yank out your hair. I wouldn't recommend it—it's a horrible thing. But I couldn't stop. And I didn't, not even through December.
Over Christmas break, my sister and I had a few friends over for a sleepover. I was terrified to fall asleep because if I rolled over and let my left side show, my friends would see. They'd notice that almost all of the hair on the left side of my head was gone.
It was terrible to hide. Even with my hair parted to the left, there was barely enough to cover the bald patch.
I remember one day in church I couldn't stop pulling. And after the service, one of the women who sits behind us (we're in the front row, so that includes a lot of people. I was actually surprised that out of my whole church, she was the only one who noticed—at least the only one who said anything) told me to stop. Then she compared me to a gorilla. At the time, it stung. I was hurt deeply. But now I'm to the point where I can laugh it off. And to be honest, it helped me. I mostly stopped pulling in church after that incident.
This is from January 2014. Compare it to the pictures above. See the difference in thickness?
An excerpt from my journal (February 21, 2014, Friday).
Co-op today. Not excited.
On the left side of my head, almost all of my long hair is gone. The rest has grown back enough that it doesn't look too terrible. It's getting harder to do my hair and hide it. Almost impossible.
But God is in control. He still loves me even though I don't fully trust Him yet. I'm trying to love Him. Really.

I included this to show that the past year of my life wasn't all depressing. I still had hope (although for a few months, I think I lost it). There were still good times. Promise.
In March, I'd finally had enough. The hair on the left side of my head was short, and there were maybe twenty to thirty strands of long hair on that side—and only when it was parted correctly. I was sick of wearing my hair pulled back by two bobby pins (like this picture here. You can actually see some of the short strands under the pulled-back ones) every single day. I could barely manage to get it into a ponytail.
So I got it cut.
May 2014.
There are still some uneven sections in my hair, like all the little ones that stick up at the top, but it looks a lot better short than it did long and uneven. Personally, I like it this short, although I miss it longer with its usual thickness.
It makes me laugh when girls say they hate their hair. You have no idea. At least let me say that.
But I'm not bitter. I was. Oh, I was so bitter and angry. But over the past month or two, my negative emotions have calmed down. I've started to rely on God, rather clumsily and terribly, but I'm trying. I'm coming out with it. People are praying for me. I am supported by an amazing group of friends and an unshakable God.
I am loved.
No matter what I do, I. Am. Always. Loved. God is in control, and He always will be. Whatever He puts in my path is there to help me—including this.
I don't trust God fully. Not yet. But I'm farther than I was last year around this time. I still pull my hair out, but not nearly as much. There are no more bald patches. Truly, I think my only regret is holding all of this inside for so long. It was wrong. My church and my family and my friends are there specifically to help me through things like this, and I completely ignored that.
I'm sorry.
I am so, so sorry, guys. I was wrong, and I beg for your forgiveness.
And that's how I'm going to end this post. With a well-needed apology and a note of hope that I can overcome this with God's help.
I will.
We will.

Bekah Joan
p.s. wow, that was long. i thank you so, so much if you read the whole thing.

32 comments:

  1. oh dear girl...trust me, I know your struggle and your pain. I also have major trust issues (not just with God, but with myself, my family, my friends...you name it, I got it) but my "stress relief tool" wasn't my hair, it was my jaw. I clench my jaw, grind my teeth, and sometimes bite my tongue until it bleeds. We didn't even know I was doing it until I got my wisdom teeth removed and the x-rays proved that I had pre-TMJ--my lack of trust and assurance in God had given me a jaw condition and I didn't even know it. Needless to say, God and I had some talking to do after that, and thankfully, I think I'm finally in a place that's a little closer to him in the trust realm of things. I still have days when I accidentally catch myself doing it...but at least its getting better. Praise God.

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    1. Oh, Ely! I feel for you so, so much. Thank you for telling me this—it helps to know you're not alone, doesn't it?
      I will be praying for you, Ely. I'm so glad you're getting closer to where we all need to be.

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  2. Very brave post. I love you - thick hair or thin; confident or anxious.

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  3. Oh, Bekah, I'm so proud of you. Thank you for being honest and transparent before your friends and family. You, my dear, are so brave. You know, just this morning in church I looked over at you and thought again about how cute your hair looks. Then I remembered why you cut it and I prayed for you. I prayed that our Father would give you His peace. I don't trust Him well either, but you and I are getting better at it every day. Keep on keeping on, dear one. And I'll keep backing you up in prayer.

    Love you, Mrs. G

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    1. Thank you so, so much Mrs. G. I love you, too. <3

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  4. That post was too much for words. I'm not sure how to describe it, I feel a deep connection to you even though I've never met you. I have stress problems too sometimes, I'm a worrier and I have TMJ because of it. (I can't open my mouth some mornings because I clench my teeth at night from stressing.) But I find that praying relaxes me in a calming and soothing way. Bravo, by the way, it takes trust and strength to share things like that with anyone.

    I want to share with you something my pastor has repeated several times. God will not give you something you cannot handle. He will never push you beyond what you can take (perhaps only what you think you can take) and He is there with you throughout it all. And everything He does is for your good. Like a parent taking their child to a doctor for shots, though it's painful, it will help you and He has a purpose for the hardships.

    Thank you for the post, it meant a lot to me, keep writing like this, it's outstanding!!!
    Emily

    P.S. You are very pretty!!! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Emily. :) I've also found that praying helps.
      That's wonderful advice! Thank you so, so much for that.
      I'll be praying for you. <3

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  5. Aww Bekah I'm so sorry :( but yes I did read the whole post ;)

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  6. You don't have to apologize. You are a beautiful girl...and this post encouraged me in so many ways, and I can't explain.
    Thank you.
    Tane ♥
    tangerinetane.blogspot.com

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  7. Wow... This... this is so beautifully written. I can feel the emotion and sincerity overflowing from my computer screen. ><

    I've been through tough times as well, but none of them can compare to yours. Standing next to you, I feel like I've been so immature and childish; kicking and crying because of small little issues. Your testimony really showed me that the little "problems" I have now are nothing. You've encouraged me to stand up and stop wallowing in self-pity. And of course, to rely of God in EVERYTHING... <3

    ~Natasha
    thestoryofthisgirlslife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Natasha! :)
      Please please please remember, though, that ALL of your problems matter to God.
      I am so glad that my words have helped you. I'll be praying for you, also. <3

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  8. Bekah, it is always an honor to be allowed into a moment as personal and difficult as this one. Thank you for that.

    Your honesty gives permission for others who struggle with trust and fret and the physical ramifications of it to be honest, too. That is a beautiful gift so, once more, thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, Gabby. :)
      Thank you so much for your comment. <3

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  9. You are so strong my dear. I admire you so much for being able to share this with us. that must have taken so much courage. and also, you're beautiful! I love the pictures you shared! you look amazing.

    trust is a hard lesson to learn. Ive had to trust God through many hard things in my life. its not easy, but its worth it. God loves you just as much when you trust Him as He does when you're doubting Him. His love is always constant. that should give you hope.

    I'll be praying for you as you start on this journey of healing and learning to trust God. He is with you every step of the way. I promise that one day your story will be able to inspire and help someone who is struggling with this same thing. its worth it.

    thank you again for this story. you are a very brave young woman. you'll get through this:)

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    1. Aw, thank you, Faith! :)
      Yes, it's a very hard lesson to learn. But I'll get there.
      You are so sweet! Thank you so much. :)

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  10. Bekah, I thought, like several others, that you were so very brave - fearless, even - to post this. The words were beautifully written, and I absolutely related to them.
    I've had anxiety most of my life, but it has skyrocketed in the past year. Now it's borderline disorder level. It's not an official diagnosis, but when I was told I could very possibly have a type of anxiety disorder, it was like everything fell apart. I was told by people, professionals, that I couldn't handle school among other things. That was hard for me, because school was always 'my thing'. I'm still trying to pick myself up, in fact, weeks after learning this. I've felt very stressed and lonely in the past few weeks, but this post makes me realize that the world maybe isn't such a vast, horrible space, and that beauty still exists in humans.
    By writing this post, you've not only revealed a huge part of yourself to us, but you've also helped us. It's so nice to know that someone out there gets it. That helps a huge lot, and I would like to thank you for starting the chain of support you can see in the comments above.
    You are a very beautiful person, both inside and out. And I thank you for writing this post, for letting me know that there's someone out there that understands, and that it's okay to ask for help. It's okay to have bits of our path where there's only one set of footprints in the sand. We're only human, and we can't always be perfect. We need a shoulder to lean on, sometimes, and I often forget that God always provides us with that, and so much more.
    Thanks again for this, Bekah. You truly are a great person. Stay beautiful! :)

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    1. Awwww! I'll be praying for you, also. <3

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  11. Oh, dear Bekah, I just wanted to hug you when I read this. I'm so sorry.

    I'll be praying for you. And let me just say I admire your bravery to put yourself out there.

    Oh, and I love your hair short like that. ;)

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    1. *Tackles you in a giant internet hug.*
      Thank you so, so much, Liz. :)

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  12. I feel terrible forgiving someone when I don't think they did anything to me, especially if I'm a stranger, but I'm always ready to say I forgive you, so there you go. And just so you know, I think your hair is right on the corner of awesome and bombdiggity (and also your face and your head in general).

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    1. Thank you, Hannah! :) Bahahaha, that is a wonderful compliment. Thank you. :)

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  13. You are such a strong person! You are beautiful and I admire you for sharing this story with us <3
    I tagged you in my near tag, the fear landscape :)
    Head over to my blog to read more about it!

    xoxo,
    Bethan

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    1. Thanks, Bethan!
      I'm not really doing tags anymore, but thanks! :)

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  14. Oh, Bekah. *hugs* I don't know exactly what to say.
    I will be praying for you with all my heart, and I think it was extremely strong of you to post this. I love you, dear.
    Oh, your new haircut looks fantastic! I like it ^_^

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Thank you very much. <3

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  15. Oh wow, Bekah. I just saw this post linked from one of my followers and I want to give you a big virtual hug. I know this was like quite a while ago when you posted, but I thought I'd let you know that I struggled with pulling out my own hair for quite a while. Same things that triggered yours--lack of trust, stress, etc. But also, the pain of yanking it out and playing with the strands fascinated me in a completely unhealthy way. Until it was part of my subconscious and I couldn't stop. It has been awhile since then, but I can remember that period very vividly. I was getting bald on one side of my head, and I had no idea how to stop which frightened me a lot. But like a lot of bad habits, it persisted.

    Thankfully, God sent along my mom and a few other friends/ladies in church who noticed and helped me get rid of that habit. It was such a blessing to read your journey and know that I was not, am not, alone in this struggle. You are so brave for coming out with these heartfelt thoughts and words, so, so brave and courageous. I'm blessed by your words today. May God continue to bless you in this journey as you walk with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. <3

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    1. I'm so glad that my words encouraged you. Know that yours encouraged me. It makes life easier when you know someone out there has the same problems you do. That we really aren't alone. So thank you for commenting.

      I'll be praying for you. <3

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  16. Thank you SO much for this. This was a real encouragement to me. I too, deal with Trich... although I suppose you could say mine is a milder case in that it involves my eyelashes/eyebrows rather than the hair on my head. But I have dealt with this for around 5 years. I was often mad at myself. For one day having beautiful eyelashes and than the next, they would be gone. It's a cycle that's so hard to break. I too am a writer, so I can relate with sitting in front of a Word document, pulling away. Oh, I can relate. Thank you so very much for sharing your words of encouragement. It's nice to hear from others who struggle with this... to know we're not alone. Thank you for reminding me that God is in control, and that we can fully trust in Him. Philippians 4:13. :) ~Kathryn P.S. I was sent here by a mutual friend... Liz Leapley. :)

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    1. Oh, I'm so sorry, Kathryn! I'll be keeping you in my prayers. <3

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