Lost and Found

Smile on her face, Tomlin looks through clothing items at Urban Outfitters July 10. Tomlin enjoys shopping with friends to clear her mind. “I like to express myself through clothes,” Tomlin said. “It is a fun way to display my creative side.”

Hamilton Southeastern junior Sophia Tomlin finds passion after diagnosis

   Heart pounding and hands clammy, she nervously walked to the front of the classroom as instructed by her sixth-grade teacher. After missing a quarter of the school year, then-sixth grader Sophia Tomlin was ordered to tell her peers exactly why she was absent for so long. Despite her anxieties, she told them. 

   Tomlin was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair follicles. To combat bald spots, her mom shaved her head. She was devastated. Her curly dirty blonde locks now resided in the garbage can, along with her self-confidence.  

   For a long time, Tomlin was angry about the situation. She isolated herself from social events and activities due to the fear of being made fun of or rejected. This caused her to stay home from school for a quarter in sixth grade. 

    However, things started to look up when current-junior Sophia Tomlin gained an interest in fashion. She realized that wearing interesting and different clothing would take attention away from her diagnosis. She wanted people to look at her as more than a girl with no hair.  

   “I became interested in clothes and street fashion shortly after being diagnosed,” Tomlin said. “I wanted people to see me and think ‘Hey, her outfit is cute,’ rather than ‘Where is her hair?’.” 

      Tomlin enjoyed going to thrift stores and finding ways to reuse clothes or upcycle. She liked to cut and sew hemlines and add her unique touch to vintage pieces.  

   “I find it very relaxing and therapeutic to shop and then make the clothes special by adding signature touches,” Tomlin said. “It makes me feel better about the way I look and I like that no one would own the same clothing item.” 

   Soon after discovering her passion, Tomlin felt comfortable going out without a wig. To her, it was not a big deal. Life was more than the hair on her head. She turned the negative into a positive and regained her self-confidence. 

   “I am not ashamed of my alopecia anymore,” Tomlin said. “Now I realize that without this setback I would not be the person I am today.”