Stranger Things is an American science fiction–horrorweb television series that inspired Alexandra Dotson that Girls Can Do Anything! I am also a Stranger Things fan! My 15 year old daughter, Chloe, wanted me to watch the series and we must have watched the first season’s episode on Netflix 2x! The character, Eleven is so beautiful and she can really rock a cute almost shaved hairdo! I think many women regardless of their age, see a little bit of themselves in that character. Eleven brings out the strength in all of us, including Trich Fighter, Alexandra. Here’s her story:
Alexandra Dotson has Trichotillomania (Trik-o-til-o-may-nee-uh or Trich), a disorder that causes an uncontrollable compulsion to pull one’s hair. Alexandra does not let her Trich interfere with her commitment to always being her authentic self.
In fourth grade Alexandra began to pull her eyebrows out in clumps, by fifth grade, she progressed to her scalp, initially pulling single strands. As her hair got shorter, her hair pulling advanced to handfuls of hair at a time, sometimes leaving bald patches on Alexandra’s head. At first, she began to streak her hair and wear powder to cover the patches, and makeup to fill in her eyebrows, but eventually chose to go without the makeup and wigs.
“The wigs and makeup became pointless. I don’t care what people say, I’ve never really cared,”
said the bright-eyed seventh-grader who attends Montford Middle School.
Alexandra does not know the cause of her disorder but believes it was due to anxiety in fourth grade. Her Trich has phases, during the summer she picks less, opposed to during the school year when she is stressed. To control her stress, Alexandra exercises and when family and friends catch her picking the code word for her to stop is “fish sticks.”
“I like people to know what I have. I rather they ask me questions than wonder if what I have is contagious. It makes me more open to share, I know then people are comfortable talking about it with me,”
According to Health Research Funding, approximately three percent (280 million people) of the world’s population suffers from Trichotillomania. Accurate data is hard to develop, as many individuals deny they are suffering from the condition due to shame. Dotson, a purple-haired rebel, fights the stigma by educating classmates at the beginning of each school year about her disorder.
Through living with her condition, Alexandra has learned to embrace her whole self, regardless of what other people think, how they comment, or even if they point and stare.
“I realized this is me, the ‘weirdo’, and I like me,” said the young cellist. Alexandra is so much more than a girl with Trich. She has the courage of a lion.
Each year in March, as part of Women’s History Month, The Oasis Center for Women & Girls recognizes local women and girls who have rewritten history by blazing trails. The Girls Can Do Anything! Award is given to a local trailblazing girl who has made a difference by paving the way for other girls to follow. Alexandra is being recognized as the 2017 Girls Can Do Anything! Honoree.
Alexandra is a leader who walks the talk. She has begun using her condition as a platform to challenge societal norms for girls and women. Alexandra encourages her friends to create their own definition of beauty and to worry less about what other people think. She is an advocate for anyone that might not “fit in” and encourages authenticity, boldness and acceptance among her peers.
Two women who inspire Alexandra are Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven on “Stranger Things” for Brown’s confidence to rock short hair and Jillian Clark, a photographer and model with Trich who inspired her to dye her hair.
Eleven, presumably born as Jane Ives, also known as El and 011, is a fictional character from the Netflix series Stranger Things. Portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown, she is a girl with psychokinetic abilities and a limited vocabulary. Wikipedia. Photo credit- eonline.com
Ready to take on the world, Alexandra plans to be a musician, actor or work for a nonprofit Trich organization.
Written by Ashley E. Smith for The Oasis Center for Women &Girls, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support.” Smith is a communications volunteer and a freelance public relations practitioner.Contact Executive Director, Haley Cutler-Seeber at 850-222-2747 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on The Oasis Center, visit www.theoasiscenter.net
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