I find myself explaining.
“ I cut it off as a donation…”
I guess I am self-conscious.
“Oh my sister/mother/best friend/brother-in-law did that too,” they reply without any pause.
A true sign o’ times.
This fifth of July bookends my 25th year of survivorship of cancer; and I wanted to do something for others who now face this damn disease. Almost 40% more people are going to face hearing the words, “You have cancer,” than in the mid-80’s. As I’ve told our congressional and legislative folks on Capitol Hill, “The numbers are going the wrong way.” Sure more of us may be surviving it and good thing otherwise we would be becoming extinct.
A two-time survivor of breast cancer and former client of mine from DC messaged me on FB the other day.
“Did you chop your hair off?????” I knew she would be one of the first to comment. While living in DC I had watched her struggle with the loss of her hair, twice. I swear I could visibly see her willing it to grow back fast. I related from my own devastation.
One morning, I navigated my way out of the shower with compromised energy, as it had been most mornings at that time. In the mirror, I stood up as steady as I could. As I pulled down on my hairbrush, clumps of my prized bleach blonde post-punk ‘do came with it. My brittle hair fell into the sink in front of me. That most compassionate Other Daughter bounded into the bathroom. With no forethought as usual, she shrieked. “Oh my GOD! Your hair is falling out!” She could offer no other comment, certainly no comfort, and I was left alone with my own shock, horror and shame. I stared into the mirror as more of my blonde beauty fell, knowing it would soon be all gone.
As I contemplated releasing my latest foot plus head of locks, my prior client and other women like her who struggles with the loss of an image seeped into my brain over and over. What is it about hair, especially long hair? The amount of compliments on my hair long easily outnumbered my years of short hair. So I did some googling. I found ridiculous articles like this one on short hair = sexless women and of course Wikipedia had something to say as well. So interesting.
For me, now, it is just hair. It will grow back. Right now, for me, it is not an attachment. So when I sat in the chair of my hair stylist Matt this past WednesdayI had no trepidation. I waited for it. Nothing came. What brought emotion was the thought of the comfort it may give another woman losing her hair.
Matt was wonderful and so honored to be part the donation he had gotten the box, filled out the form and read through all the directions carefully to be sure we could give the best offering possible. Thank you Matt. And may my locks be soothed the mind and heart of whoever’s head they rest upon next.