Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley is boldly walking in her truth after revealing that she has been struggling with alopecia.
“This is my official public revealing,” Pressley said in the interview. “I’ve only been bald in the privacy of my home and in the company of close friends.”
”What happened is that, I got these Senegalese twists and I feel like I met myself fully for the first time,” the congresswoman said. “You know, I sort of looked in the mirror and I said, ‘oh, there I am,’ and it felt good.”
Although many interpreted her fierceness as a political statement, Rep. Pressley states that the decision to wear her natural hair was a personal decision to reflect her cultural pride.
“What I was not prepared for was the glorious gift and blessing of the acceptance and the community and the affirmation,” Pressley said. “Now I walk into rooms and little girls are wearing T-shirts that say ‘my congresswoman wears braids.’”
Rep. Pressley shared that when she started to notice that her patches of short hair had turned into full blown section of baldness last fall, she began to feel like she was losing her identity.
“I did not want to go to sleep because I did not want the morning to come where I would remove this bonnet and my wrap and be met with more hair in the sink,” Rep. Pressley continued. “I was completely bald and in a matter of hours, was going to have to walk into the floor, the House Chamber, House of Representatives, and cast a vote in support of articles of impeachment.”
Although the act of going public with her struggles took a lot of courage, Pressley noted that for her it was the first step in walking in the newness of who she is and she hopes that her transparency will continue to inspire others.
“I felt naked, exposed, vulnerable. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed,” she said. “I felt betrayed, and then I also felt that I was participating in a cultural betrayal because of all the little girls who write me letters, who come up to me, who take selfies with me #twistnation,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley said. “I am ready now because I want to be freed from the secret, and the shame that that secret carries with it, because I’m not here just to occupy space, I’m here to create it.”
Check out the full interview below.