Summer of New Haven, CT

Shiny, bold and unapologetic it stared at me like a magical eye as I examined it in the mirror. It was the size and shape of a new quarter and seemed to glow like a full moon. I recoiled as I realized that my thick and unruly mane of curls now featured a very smooth and slick bald patch. My doctor called it alopecia areata, ordered a cortisone injection and sent me on my way. I was too embarrassed to admit that my hair loss was rooted in abusive relationships, self-loathing and negative habits that punctuated the beginning and end of every day. My new magical moon patch revealed a silent truth and convinced me that I could no longer put my self or my needs at the bottom of another to-do list. I was twenty-two and desperate to find a sense of self-worth. I didn’t find so much love or warmth as a child and spent many years defining my life by those circumstances. Slowly, I learned that living has to happen in the present tense and that I would attract the love I wanted by finding it in myself first. I worked hard to become a Kindergarten teacher and a nurturer by profession in order to create the environment I know children deserve. That’s why I love myself – for being resilient and for being able to recognize the joy of life despite a challenging start. I vow to always inspire that in others.