How I Completed The Perfect Pull
By Lindsay Woolman
Recently, I published my first novel, The Perfect Pull. I suppose I took the old adage, “write what you know,” and made a story out of it about a teenage girl.
I have always had long, pretty hair. People give me strange looks when I tell them I have trich. Yet, I fit the typical scenario: I started when I was 11, thought I was crazy for awhile, and have pulled until my arms hurt. Only I don’t pull my head hair, and have never pulled enough lashes or brows for it to be obvious.
This allows me a choice. I can decide whether I want to tell people or not. Yet, I have found it to be mostly empowering to be open. For a time I was running around telling everyone. Now, I’m quieter about it, but still willing to admit that this is who I am.
When I decided I wanted to write a book about a character with the same problem as me, the hardest thing was the ending. How do you wrap up a story about trich in a nice, clean way?
I did it by taking my character to a support group and giving her the same realization I had many years ago. The best thing I ever did for my trich was to go to a ten-week closed support group run by a therapist. I had, up until that point, accepted that trich was going to a life long problem. It was something I could live with. I could at least be grateful it wasn’t life threatening, at least not really.
At this group I met all kinds of pullers. It was eye opening. At first you walk into the room and if you were an outsider you would have had NO idea what we all had in common. Then you hear the stories and being the youngest person, I was hit with a realization: I could get better. I had my whole life ahead.
I decided to try to quit over the ten-week period. Except trich is like any addiction. You still have it inside, but it goes to sleep.
It’s similar to alcoholics who stop drinking, then relapse, then stop, then relapse. This is how recovery goes when it’s real. It is hitting milestones and then failing and then picking yourself up again and hitting milestones with your eye on the goal. Then one day you look at the calendar and realize you’re up to about three years of being pull free (more of less).
I always knew in the back of my mind that a novel with a main character who had trich would be a great contribution because it’s so relevant. It was another milestone I wanted to reach.
My story: too boring. So I made up a story about a girl in high school who had trich and started writing it.
Beautiful things can come from pain. I finished the book and tried to find a publisher because I felt like that would give trichotillomania more exposure to an audience of teenage readers. However, in the end, I decided to publish The Perfect Pull myself. I’m proud and amazed to have actually written it, let alone finished it.
The ending was hard, but endings are always hard.
I’m happy about what I created and the lives that might change from reading it. However, it’s kind of funny now because I’m facing the next challenge. Marketing it. I know at some point I have to go into a high school and talk about both my book and the disorder. I also plan to write more books — and maybe one of those books will do well enough that The Perfect Pull will get some attention.
Life just keeps throwing curve balls, but I think that is the point. Keep your eyes on the milestones (one day, one week, one month, one year) and keep moving ahead.
Buy The Perfect Pull on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Perfect-Pull-Lindsay-Woolman/dp/0988515407/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
Join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theperfectpull