I’ve spent days trying to pick an angle in which I should write about loosing my hair. There are so many. I’ve always liked to add some comedy to my less than comical situation and humor was a seemingly easy writing route. Although funny doesn’t even begin to explain the feelings I embody when reflecting upon being bald, not to mention going bald. Here it is on the real real...
My hair has always been one of my favorite things about myself. Most of my life it has been beautiful, brown, bountiful and long. Though, I have dyed it nearly every color in the book. Even when I wore it spiked and short I acquired the name “cool hair” from a few guys around campus. Not to mention my natty dread that I've been harvesting for nearly SEVEN years now (don't worry, I saved it). Whether I used it as a way to express myself, or hide myself, I’ve always valued my hair.
A part of me actually believed I would be the one in a milli who wouldn’t loose their hair. The day I got discharged from my first round of chemo was a day full of emotion. I was re-released into this big world that had been going on, continuing and changing. The hustle and bustle never stopped and people were rushing around everywhere. All the while my world was at a stand-still. All the while my world felt as if it was digressing. I got out of those glass hospital doors and into the car, windows down, smiling. I was free! All that freedom had my hair falling out in clumps. No more than a day later my dear friend Kaleigh Nickerson came over and gave me a fresh short cut. The short hair was painful for me to get used to, but less painful emotionally to loose.
Over the next couple days I continued to shed like a dog, only much worse. My roommate Megan said to me, “Kales lets shave your head. You don’t need all that raining down on your parade everyday.” She was right! The next morning I expressed to my boyfriend, Zach that I wanted to shave my head, but I didn’t have a buzzer. He opened the bathroom drawer and pulled out his face, pube, head electric razor thing and says, “lets see if this works.” Without any further notice he runs it across the front of my hair. Welp, its settled than. Now that I had a line shaved across the front of my head I was left with no choice. He continued to shave it all off.
I was staring Zach in the eyes, my heart had jumped into my butt and my back was to the mirror. I couldn’t bring myself to turn around. He had a familiar look in his eyes. Similar to the one he had when he pulled off my snowboard glove to find my wrist completely mangled. I couldn’t look then either... Finally, I turned around and much to my surprise I didn’t cry! I felt strong and weak at the same time. It’s one thing to be hurting, or sick on the inside and be able to hide it with your appearance. When you loose your appearance you loose a lot more than you imagine. I felt naked and ashamed. I quickly reached for a beanie. I don’t think people realize how strong the judgments and restrains of society are. It’s fucked up, man! Everyone looks at you different. They know you have something wrong with you. It’s almost as if people become scared of you.
Fighting a terminal illness brings feelings of being different from everyone else. I’m sure other cancer survivors share this loss. Instead of a loss, I’m turning my journey and lack of hair into a gain. I never dreamed I could fight, love, or be loved with such passion and dedication. This next year isn’t going to be an easy one, but it will be MY year! I WILL have beat cancer! I WILL have developed a loving and trusting relationship with myself that I never could have dreamed of. I WILL have broken through many of the restraints that society puts on us. I will be confidant in knowing I am a beautiful warrior! As are YOU! You are a warrior. You are beautiful. Everyone is fighting some battle and each is relevant to their lives. Be kind to everyone you meet.
P.S. I'm super grateful for my eyebrows and eyelashes. I hope they choose to stick around a while.
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