What happens when you make a bold choice that flies in the face of social attitudes? Pam Fitros and I talk about it on episode 1007 of my podcast, Rebuilding Your Life: Moving from Disaster to Prosperity (which is available on iTunes and Stitcher).
A few years back, Pam was living a pretty normal life, working with the elderly. She had studied psychology at Western Michigan University, was married with two grown children and one granddaughter.
Then a physical condition called Alopecia Universalis changed her life forever. People who suffer from one of the various types of alopecia lose their hair. It may be a thinning or it may be the loss of every hair on your body. That is what happened to Pam.
In our world, we are what Pam calls “hair obsessed.” People look at women strangely and tend to avoid contact when you don’t have any hair. Even Pam’s close friends and family initially had negative reactions to her condition. To mask it, women feel compelled to wear wigs and scarves. Unfortunately, that was very uncomfortable for Pam and she found herself withdrawing from hugging other people for fear that jewelry might catch in her wig and pull it off.
One day, an elderly woman who heard the distress in Pam’s voice walked right up to her and said, “So take the d…. thing off.” Everyone in the room who heard her nodded in agreement. So that is exactly what Pam did. Accepting what she could not change, she embraced it. She took off her wig and has never put it on again.
She has so many funny stories to share. As she related to others, especially her granddaughter and other young children, Pam found herself seeing people who were at a loss to know how to cope with this visual difference. Parents would shush their children and pull them away; small children would burst into tears. Pam knew it was important to tell people about alopecia and to share stories that would help everyone come to grips with this condition. People listen to and remember stories.
Pam has gone on to become a voice of positive change for the millions of women suffering from this immune disorder and others similar to it. Realizing that she needed to get her empowering message of hope and courage out to others if she was to help them, Pam has created a business to do it. She is learning new business skills, marketing, speaking on the subject and even has a new podcast Boldly Bald Women: How to Survive and Thrive in a Hair Obsessed World. She has been spotlighted in the National Alopecia Areata Foundation Magazine, interviewed on the podcast Creating Change, is a member of the International Alopecia Day group, as well as Alopecia World.com and several other international social media groups. Along the way, she has become comfortable with herself and is happy just the way she is.
Pam has three approaches that stand out to her: accepting the situation, helping others feel more comfortable with it and taking time to find others who face similar circumstances. When she found others, it led to a group coming together to share their stories in what has become a bestselling Amazon book, Boldly Bald Women for women who struggle with the emotional and societal impact of hair loss.
Pam’s experience echoes that of numerous survivors of disaster. At some point, we each have the choice to make peace with what has happened to us or fall into despair and even die. The way out is through a hero’s journey, transforming ourselves before we can move forward once again. To learn more about Pam Fitros and how she helps others live with Alopecia, please check out her website: http://boldlybaldwomen.com. And, of course, catch a glimpse into the delightful Pam Fitros herself at: ssherayko.audello.com/podcast/2/ Rebuilding Your Life 1007 Pam Fitros on Living Bold.
May you gain some of Pam’s wisdom about life’s challenges through her story.
To Your Success,