Hair loss with chemo did not rock my boat. I took it well. I just wanted to live, bald or not. My wig was delightful looking I thought. But as hair comes in now, it bothers me. I am not crazy about the color, but I can live with it…or color in time I have left. I don’t like the feel of it, feels fuzzy. But mostly when I look in the mirror I just do not see the me I know.
As a child, I had two modes of hair—ugly and painful. My mother either had my hair cut off into Buster Brown cuts or she did those old Toni perms. Oh, they smelled bad and I had to sit still for so long. But mostly then you had Saturday wash and pin curls which ended up tangled and Mother brushed the heck out of them pulling like each strand was a balking mule in harness. It hurt. In summer it was no choice, the hair was whacked off and horrid, deep seated bangs were chopped. If they were crooked, it was my fault because surely, I moved on the beautician!
When I was in eighth grade, we visited Mom’s cousin in Tulsa who had once done hair. My bangs were long and she offered to trim them. It was time for the summer chop, but dear Pat asked ME what I wanted. I explained I wanted t look like the rest of the 1962 girls. She shaped my bangs so beautifully, trimmed the ends of my almost shoulder length hair, and she rebutted my Mother’s urging for a chop. Pat said let the girl have her hair! So, from that day forward I never had short hair again!
There were times when my hair was midback. Others I kept it shorter but still long and straight like the times. I taught myself to pile it beautifully on top of my head as by high school tall, upswept hair was the rage Long hair cost more to have done at a beauty shop, and I had no money anyway. For my senior pictures, I did it myself and one older woman, a clothes horse and ritzy hair style gal, wanted to know where it was done she liked it so well. She could not believe I had done my own!
My Mother always wore her hair short and shorter, but that is another tale. I dreaded her trips to the beauty shop as she often did not like what they did. She would fume and recomb and be in a bad mood. My Granny told me often that she felt sorry for Mother’s dates with my Dad as he would sit on the couch waiting, waiting, waiting for Mother to stop seething and smoldering in front of a mirror over her uncooperative hair.
Cancer reduces you. It takes organs, hair, strength, cheer, blood health, and the ability to do for yourself. It is nice that people help and I am grateful for all the kindnesses and assistance I have received. Yet, it can often feel like you are a drawing and someone with a strong eraser is removing parts of you one line at a time, eliminating what makes you who you are. It makes you feel diminished, an abridged edition of who you once were.
On Friday my dear friend, Melissa, is going to look at my head and see if she can help me find myself!