Iwona: "Back then, everyone blamed everything on Chernobyl"


A post appears on a Facebook group of people struggling with alopecia areata. One of the girls writes that sometimes, just before leaving the house, she catches herself forgetting to put on a wig. The fragments come from the book “Alopecjanki. Stories of bald women” by Marta Kawczyńska, Wydawnictwo Harde, 2020.

“I'm already standing in the doorway, dressed. I put the key in the lock and suddenly I remember that I have no hair on my head. I'll be back soon, I bet. I'm afraid that one day I'll leave without them. I always feel a bit stressed at this point.

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Chernobyl and injections in the ass

The first pancakes on Iwona's head appeared in 1986.

“Back then, everyone blamed everything on Chernobyl. My disease too. My mother drove me to Katowice to see dermatologists. We stood in lines.

Iwona admits that she has no memory of dates. The patches on her head appeared and disappeared. Over and over again. Ten years ago, however, one of them settled down for good on the back of the head.

Iwona wore a wig for only a year. Although she was well-fitted, she was very tired in it.

“It was a terrible time for me. I can't even fully explain why. The wig certainly protected me from questions like, "What's going on?", "Will your hair grow back?" This is the worst nightmare that accompanies this disease of ours.

I was afraid they would take pictures of me

– When I am among friends or family, I have no problem showing up with a bald head. I always wear a hat or scarf around strangers. I feel resistance. It's not really about me, it's about them. I don't want people to feel bad seeing me bald. More and more often, however, I have it, luckily, deep in my ass and I take the wig off without any problems. What it depends on? It varies. It's not always easy for me to put my head out into what I call "daylight".

I still have a problem with self-acceptance. I don't like people taking pictures of me, I really don't. You don't even know how many times my friends got scolded for trying to snap a photo of me. I was even able to beat them up when I saw them do it. Over time, this aggression calmed down, disappeared. The absurd thing is that when I lost my hair for good, many things stopped bothering me.

Her hair fell out a few months after Iwona left her husband.


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Suddenly, good came to me

Iwona was twenty-four years old when she got married.

“I was not a mature, experienced person. I didn't have the knowledge I have now. I got it only in a therapeutic group for women living in violence. I recommend this to anyone who feels bad about their relationship. I still keep in touch with the girls from the group to this day. We were at different stages of life in an abusive environment, but the patterns repeated themselves. Most often, we choose partners similar to our fathers and imitate what we knew from home.

My relationships have always been quite tumultuous. Suddenly, good came to me. He stood by me, saved me. He confessed his love to me very quickly. After half a year we got married. The idyll lasted for several good years. Our lives went on as normal, we functioned without major problems. The children appeared. I don't know when things started to go wrong. I missed this moment. He never hit me, but he was aggressive. There were fights, screams, insults. When he got white fever, everything in the apartment was rattling. Then he explained that he was tired because he worked a lot. It took me a long time to realize that he had a drinking problem. After all, Prince Charming doesn't drink...

With a loan and three jobs

Iwona endured with her husband for a long time. She left only sixteen years later. It took her several years to prepare the plan.

I took a loan and rented an apartment. To support myself, I worked three jobs. I slept two or three hours a night. Also, my hair started falling out. I stood in front of the mirror and twitched. I said to myself, "You bitch, you fat man, how can you walk around like that in this world." I wouldn't tell my worst enemy what I would tell myself. I had a lot of bad emotions. I am still repaying the loan I took to rent an apartment. It will probably take me another ten years, but it was worth it.

I couldn't use the red handset

How did my marriage end? I went on vacation and took the kids with me. For many years, the three of us rode, because my husband didn't really like to ride with us. I didn't insist, because it was impossible to rest with him, we argued, and the kids were very upset. At the end of my vacation, I texted him that I was moving out when I got back.

He called, but I didn't want to talk to him. Before I had time to unpack properly, I heard the question: "When are you leaving?". This overflowed the scales of bitterness. I looked at my husband and replied tomorrow. This question dispelled my remaining doubts.

Iwona has a rose-shaped tattoo on her head. The flower is red, has several thorns. She did it a year and a half ago.

"It's my favorite flower." I gave the tattoo artist an idea, he designed the drawing. I think that a pretty, sweet rose, such a "feminine" would rather not suit me. I often act faster than I think. I went to a friend's tattoo studio. It turned out that he was going to a convention and he asked if I would go with him as a model. "You say and you have," I blurted out. Then it dawned on me what I had gotten myself into. There will be crowds of people there. But I can't break my promises. If I promised, I couldn't let him go. I was most afraid of the moment when I would have to take off my hat. I imagined they would start staring at me, pointing fingers. Nothing here, calm down. This got me thinking. Fear lived in my head.

I wasn't wearing a mask, I was building a wall

“I have often asked myself, what next? I can honestly say thousands of times. Finally, my therapist told me to come up with some bad scenarios. It made me realize that once I tamed them, I would stop worrying about them. It helped. It's better now, but I still have a lot of work to do.

– How do you see your femininity today? A few years ago, you looked at yourself in the mirror and called yourself names?

"I'm quite nice to myself now." I don't have the courage to stand in front of the mirror and say, "You're beautiful" yet. Sometimes I throw in the direction of my reflection: "that's not bad." I'm moving forward, step by step. I'm a bald chick and that's it. I do not have a problem with that.

– When I have difficult moments, sometimes I swear, sometimes I stamp my foot, and sometimes I just sit in the corner and say nothing. I had to learn to express my emotions.

It was the disease that taught me humility. She made me start to take care of myself again, I learned my worth. I'm back to painting my nails, I dress nice. I have broken down the wall around me and I don't attack anyone who comes near me.

Also read other stories from the book:

O autorce książkiMarta Kawczyńska - dziennikarka, psychoterapeutka tańcem i ruchem (DMT), autorka książki "Alopecjanki. Historie łysych kobiet", Wyd. Harde, 202023,99 zł

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