I really hate changing hairstylists.
While some of it is for the obvious reason of letting someone new take a chance with my locks, the main reason is because I have an embarrassing secret, one I can’t hide from my hairdresser.
And once I divulge my secret, I usually stick around for a while, even if it means driving an hour out of my way to get my hair cut and styled.
When I was a kid, I thought I was the only weird person in the world with my strange habit, but that all changed one afternoon during my sophomore year of college. I almost wept with relief when my roommate read from her psychology 101 book about Trichotillomania.
For the first time in my life, I knew I wasn’t alone. While I was still embarrassed about the fact that I pull my own hair out, at least I wasn’t alone. That very week, “20/20″ aired an episode devoted to Trichotillomania, which my dad promptly recorded and mailed to me.
I started pulling my hair when I was 12 and always thought that I could just stop. I used to think, “Surely by high school, I won’t do this.”
Then it became college, when I got married, when I had children…
But here I am 20 years later, still wondering when I can escape this dumb habit.
I don’t know why I do it. I don’t know why I can’t stop. I just know it is terribly embarrassing to explain to my hairdresser why certain areas of my hair are shorter than the rest.
Fortunately, I can hide it pretty well, wearing my hair in styles that cover the sparse areas on my head. There are people with severe cases who have pulled out the majority of their hair, eyebrows and sometimes even eyelashes.
Last year, I came across a blog about secrets. And I looked to see if anyone had mine.
They didn’t. But there were lots of other secrets out there. Terrible secrets. Scary secrets. It certainly offers some perspective on our own lives.
Anyway, secrets… I think most of us have one.
So I’m telling you my secret – on the small chance it helps one of you, with a secret of your own.
Judy Daniell is married with three sons. She works part-time. Read her Wednesdays on momaha.com.