When the Hair Came Crashing Down

Today I am going to talk about losing my beautiful luscious locks. Ha, luscious… if only.

I have had a love hate relationship with my hair from birth. At birth, it straight up hated me. In that it didn’t even bother to show up. I was bald blad blad until I was about 2. Then it came in Blonde and curly and precious. Awwww. Then it grew like nobody’s business, thick and pretty straight. Fond memories of my mom beating the top of my head as I screamed about the knots she was yanking out of my hair. It started getting “dirty blonde”.  OK whoever decided to call it dirty was just rude, talk about creating a complex for little ladies across the world! In kindergarten it was close to being able to be sat on. It was also hard to handle while chewing gum. Somehow a piece managed to get wadded up in the frontal forehead region and me being pretty clever for a 5 year old, already was trained in the cutting of bangs. And so I cut out the gum, and rocked a great look! Actually my terrified mom took me to a professional and he gave me so pointers for next time. And those bangs he showed me had to start pretty deep in the top of my head. It was the early 90’s the big bangs were still ok, don’t judge! I’m going have to call mom for some photos, if I can get some they will be posted, have no fear!

 As I got older and my hair got weirder, I began the hate feeling. Around puberty I suppose, I got boobs, and I got frizz. By 7th grade I had a relationship with gel and mousse that was borderline unhealthy. I had realized though that my hair took really well to scrunching it while wet with some product and I got those to die for crunchy curls. By the beginning of 8th grade I also realized I would be playing basketball for the WNBA hence my hair was a nuisance and had to go. And it did, all the way to being razor cut in the back and progressively longer to a weird mushroom shape up top and that perfect one bang rolled big across my forehead. Also, a picture request for this time in my life will be sent to mom.

By freshman year I realized the boys aren’t into girls with shorter hair than them, bangs or not. So it grew out and I discovered glorious dye. It started with a home highlight chunking kit and just got worse. I kept it pretty long those days, had a sweet side swooping bang that was sleek and modern and tried every color I could. I tended to stick with the dark reds, blacks, browns and highlights, often all at the same time. I did red on top black on bottom, red all over with brown and blonde highlights and lowlights, all black, all red… I learned how to use anti-frizz products and straighteners and curl enhancing sprays and by the time I was 17 and 18, I had a dome piece to be jealous of.

In my early 20’s I got cheap as the parents were no longer footing my salon visit bills and started doing my own. Again lots of colors, brown hair with bleached bangs, brown hair with blue underneath, etc.  Eventually I settled on a ponytail every flipping day and if I hadn’t washed it lately, a headband to hide the greasy look.

And then, a week before we were to move to CO, a great friend of mine took me in for a haircut. And I didn’t want a trim, thank you. Remember my WNBA dreams? Well they were back. Actually I just wanted something dramatic for my new life in CO, something fresh, funky and modern. I got that and more. I got a badass faux hawk, with blond highlights and a little tail piece off one side. It’s was amazing! I loved it. My hubs, well he was a week away from being the hubs, HATED it. I freaking forgot what I learned in high school, boy don’t like it short. Ooops my bad! I rocked it lots of ways as it grew out and was eventually back to being in a ponytail 99% of the time, the frizz present as ever and then a diagnosis.

When the hair loss topic came up, I was stoked. Girlfriends tried to sound encouraging, well they make great wigs and you can wear scarfs and hats and it will be cool. Uh no. I have wanted to shave my head, like actually shave it as long as I can remember. Brush beating flashbacks were like Nam! Ha, I kid but I was looking forward to it.

But when it actually started falling out, by the handful reality sank in. It wasn’t a mourning the loss of my hair reality, but an Oh my God, I am actually sick. I have cancer. It fell and it fell until it was this weird, thin mess that would dred up at night and then I could pull the whole dred out in the morning. It was time to cut it. Matt was in town visiting and helping and we busted out his clippers and he got to work. We realized about hallway that it actually looked pretty good in a cute little pixie and so we stopped short of shaving it for a couple weeks. But eventually, one night I couldn’t deal anymore and I put the #2 snap on onto the clippers and buzzed it all off in the bathroom sink. And I loved it. It felt cool and foreign and for the first time, I saw cancer in my mirror. I never bothered with wigs, hats, scarfs, etc. Those things I felt screamed, I’m sick, I have cancer, keep staring at me! I was proud and thoroughly please at finding I had the perfect round head for the job. And little in the ways of hair vanity.

 I shed no tears, it was just hair, and it would come back! I know girls especially struggle with this, but hair doesn’t make you who you are, it doesn’t make you more or less beautiful. It’s society that places the bar so high on having great hair. The same society that tells you anyone larger than a size 6 is fat, anyone that has tattoo’s and facial piercings is an irresponsible punk, wrinkles are ugly, sagging is bad and who you are as person doesn’t matter as long as you can be airbrushed into perfection.  

One of my dearest and most loved friends James, EW don’t let him read this, decided to cut off his looooong locks with me. He had this great head of hair that was way past his nipples. Hey that is a legit measuring system, trust me! He donated it to a children’s cancer organization and I am so proud of him and feel somewhat indebted to him. Trust me, he loves to tell me whenever I get whiney or make fun of him or really any time, that he shaved his head for me, so I better simmer down! But seriously it was such an important friendship and support offering that I will never forget him for it.

I haven’t had treatment since June 1st, so my hair is slowly coming back. It’s darker than I expected and very fine. I was hoping to be blessed with bright orange/red tight perfect afro curls, but so far no signs of that. I did learn I have a cowlick on the front of my head that seems to dissipate when my hair is long enough to weigh it down.  That weight doesn’t exist yet so it sticks straight out to the right. The bitter sweet part, is I resume chemo again Friday. Meaning it will probably thin out again and I may have to start over again on the re-growth. But that’s ok. As soon as I am healthy again and the hair is good and strong, you best believe it’s gonna meet a dye bottle and I am going to do outrageous things to it.

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