“I felt like I would never be looked at as beautiful again. I couldn’t look at the mirror at myself. I didn’t feel beautiful and I didn’t feel confident,” said Sanah Jivani, a sophomore communication and sociology major at UTSA.

This is how Jivani felt when she lost her hair to a condition called Alopecia. Alopecia is a condition that causes one to lose his or her hair because the body attacks the hair follicles, thinking the follicles are enemies.

“I woke up one morning and without too much notice or any symptoms really, I found all of my hair on my pillow, and as a seventh grader, that was hard to deal with. I really struggled,” said Jivani.

She immediately bought a wig to wear to school. The happy girl with curly hair was no longer comfortable in her own skin.

Other students bullied Jivani and spread rumors about her because she wore a wig. “It was super hurtful,” said Jivani.

After some time, Jivani decided to embrace her natural self and use her experiences to help others. In ninth grade, she decided to stop wearing her wig and created a non-profit foundation called LYNS (Love Your Natural Self). LYNS aims to empower people to love themselves and be confident in themselves. She also created natural day,  a day when people are encouraged to be confident, let go of their insecurities and love their natural selves.

The foundation and the project at her school were successful. During the Natural Day event held at Jivani’s school, her classmates opened up about their lives, shared their own insecurities and went without makeup.

Jivani’s ability to love herself allowed her show love to and help others. Jivani speaks at many conferences and schools, telling her story and empowering people to love themselves. So Far, 60 campuses—high schools and middle schools—have adopted the natural day project.

UTSA had its own Natural Day event on Monday, Feb. 13 in the Harris Room from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. UTSA is the first college campus to host the project. There were presentations, food and fun.

Jivani’s goal is to see Natural Day marked as a special day on every calendar and celebrated in every school. She wants it to be celebrated just like we celebrate other special days such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. “I want people to recognize that we need self love.”

If you want to learn how to love yourself and others around you or how to be more confident, visit internationalnaturalday.com.

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