I was born with a full head of hair. It was long when I was little, and then when I was about 8 or maybe 10, my Mom cut it into this awful mullet style – there is evidence in the form of school pictures. I let it grow back in and then when I was about 13, I cut it in a chin-length bob with a strong desire to look like Breathless Mahoney.
My hair definitely had the curl to support this style but I was never able to achieve the same volume and bounce… probably because I was a 13 year old girl with no idea how to style it or what products to use. I eventually grew it out and got layers.
Those are the only two times in 37 years that my hair has been short. Otherwise, it has always been medium, long, or super long.
In a one-week span I went from long to short to buzzed to balding mangy dog (which I am currently maintaining). People tell you that no matter how prepared you are, the hair loss will be traumatizing, but I have to disagree with the use of that word. I have been through “traumatizing” – I had to get treatment for PTSD after Gregory’s complicated and nearly-fatal-to-both-of-us birth. The word I would use is demoralizing. Part of it is my issue – I am both feminine and vain, and mangy dog is not a hairstyle that is natural to either. I have cried. A lot. I am a naturally insecure and awkward person, and although my hair wasn’t winning me any beauty awards, it was my damned hair – and it was unceremoniously taken from me. I read an article recently about how in the middle ages a punishment for women was to cut off their long hair, and that concept recurs to me nearly every day – I am being punished. Why am I being punished? (Of course I know I am not, but it sure feels that way.)
With that said, I’m not hiding it. If my head is cold, I put on a hat. If it’s not, I don’t. I saw the eyes in the airport as we made our way back to Seattle. Some people study me and look sad. Others look at me and then quickly flick their eyes away, embarrassed, afraid to stare. One kind lady in line for food asked me outright, “How are you doing?” and wished me good luck. Scarves right now make my head itch as the hair is still falling out. I’m not sure if I’ll invest in a wig or not – having done burlesque I know firsthand that they’re often itchy, hot, and unnatural looking. And if I do get hot, it’s not as easy to just whip it off in public as it is with a hat.
At home, it’s more the annoyance of it than anything – my head and neck get cold really easily, and the hair gets everywhere, making me eternally itchy. I scrub my head in the shower to try to get as much hair out as possible, but it never seems to stop shedding. More annoying, what little hair remains is actually GROWING, so I guess I’d better invest in a pair of clippers.
On the bright side, I shaved my armpits three days ago and they’re still soft as a baby’s behind, so there’s a silver lining. Also my eyelashes and eyebrows are hanging in, which I pray they continue to.
For now, just need to get used to my new, weird patchy reality, and pray it goes quickly. Next chemo this Wednesday.