The Bald Truth
...You don't need hair to kick ass. ~Unknown
Let me be honest here. I hate my hair. My hair and I have had a contentious relationship my entire life. From the day I entered this world—screaming at the top of my lungs because I probably saw the shaggy tresses reflected in the shiny steel of the delivery room lights—the mop of protein protruding from my scalp has had a mind of its own. It’s baby fine. It’s straight. I have a lot of it, and God only knows what color it is.
And now it is falling out.
The strange tingling of my scalp indicated it was about to begin last weekend. I ran my hand through the blonde forest on my head, and a small hunk of hair clung to it. No matter where I sit or walk these days, I noticed blonde threads floating around me, sometimes a few.... many times a flurry. If you remember Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoons, you'll know how I feel seeing all this stuff swirling around me.
The oncologist and the nurses and my friends who have gone thorough this all told me to prepare for hair loss. Nothing can prepare you for it. Nothing. Hair is a key element of our identity, especially women. We cut. We color. We braid. We cover grey. We lighten. We curl. We straighten. Hair is a complex part of who we are. Losing it, even when you expect it, is traumatizing.
"Here's the thing," I cried to Mike when I showed him my hairbrush full of hair yesterday, "I'm not a very pretty woman. Without hair, I'm going to look perfectly awful." He attempted to calm me down saying everything you would expect a husband to say. The fear still remains. My scalp still hurts.
I'm tired of seeing hair all over my laptop keyboard and screen. I'm tired of suddenly having hair in my mouth. I hate seeing strands of hair all over my shirts and pillows and chairs and counters. I know I'm going to have to shave it because, worst of all, I don't like that my scalp hurts.
"You'll look great," my friends tell me. "You'll be beautiful inside and out," my husband tells me. No offense to anyone, but it's hard to believe when you are facing this fate. Still, I try to prepare myself for the inevitable. I pull my hair back, and I put on turbans. I don't recognize the person looking back at me. I have two wigs—one blonde and one strawberry blond. I put them on and see nests of fake hair perched on my head. I cry. I want to run away and hide. I want this to be over. The fear still remains. The scalp still hurts.
I know I will have to shave my head soon. I know that my hair is going to grow back. I know that this will give me opportunity to reevaluate what I do with the mop once it starts to grow back. I know thousands of women go through this. I keep telling myself that not having hair will not change who I am. I know that I will survive this.
I'm just not sure that my ego will.