I’ve been accused in the past by other warriors/survivors for being attention-seeking when I talk about my hair. I had trusted three, who I thought were friends, so took the insulting words to heart. That’s why I permanently left one local breast cancer group and took a three-month break from a national one. I came back to that national one because it’s too fabulous of a group to allow certain people’s insulting views keep me away from the support I need.
Now, I’ve always been a tad extra. That’s my natural and dramatic personality. Even when I’m sad or depressed, it’s done with flair.
It’s why I took ballet and always wore my hair in buns, French braids and twists.
It’s why I basically lived at Macon Little Theatre and Theatre Macon in high school and minored in Theatre at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.
It’s why I had special outfits during my salsa and swing dancing days.
It’s why to this day, I want to be an actress.
Losing my hair was even more traumatic than I could’ve ever imagined. Not only did I lose the hair on my head, I lost all the following as well:
That’s why I get so infuriated when people say, “it’s just hair.”
So, losing my hair and being beyond upset and devastated has been genuine. It’s why when my hair came back that chia pet curly I always reference was so difficult to process. That’s why it’s especially hurtful when those in cancerland question my feelings.
It’s never been about vanity. I know I rocked the bald look. I also rocked the chia pet curly look. That’s called style. The anger and just utter disbelief came from not physically recognizing my image in the mirror. I’ve dealt with and continue to deal with so many issues post-cancer like weight gain, more surgeries, more scars, and don’t recognize my body at all. None of it is even remotely the same. I just wanted the hair that I had known my entire life to grow back the way I remembered it – straight and super thick.
So, I made a video to show all the different looks of ME past and present (also posted earlier on social media). It’s MY hair story.
My Hair Story
I didn’t post it to reel in compliments. I posted it for myself, to see the progression of my hair pre and post cancer and see the different looks as I’ve tried to adjust to my reflection. I see the pain in my eyes masked with a smile in the ones starting in 2015 thru present.
I know I “look healthy” and all should be right with the world, but that is not my reality.
My friends continue die by the hands of the cancer beast – two died this week.
My mother’s treatments for her rare blood cancer continue to wipe her out.
My chronic pain continues to be a challenge to manage.
My career in the corporate world is stagnant.
So, don’t come at me with insults or how hair isn’t important to you. Every single person’s cancer journey is THEIRS and extremely personal. I just want to claim some part of me that hasn’t been devastated by breast cancer.
I want to see ME again.
I deserve to see ME again.
7 thoughts on “So, hair me out…”
Very well said. And I love the title too. Great job. (And sorry you had to deal with some who were so close-minded.)
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Hey Jeff! That title came to me right before church started. Ha! It was so fitting. Divine thought right there. lol I deal with close-minded people a lot, but just could not handle it coming from other breast cancer survivors. We used to hangout and call ourselves the fab 4. It makes trusting local Atlanta survivors harder for me. I get insulting DMs all the time from other survivors, but I don’t know them, so it rolls off my back. When I’ve been to their homes and talked and laughed, then get vile comments on MY personal FB page…I draw the line. And note not one had the courage to say any of it to my face.
Anyhoo, I just had to let others know it’s OK to care about your hair because it’s not just about vanity.
I totally get it. And NO ONE has the right to tell you how to feel about your hair, or anything else. This is YOUR journey. One which you did not choose.
Love your post!! I understand all too well. A lot of people told me that they thought that I took the news of me losing my hair harder than hearing that I had breast cancer. YES, I did bc to me our hair is what defines us and make us..US!!! I lost all of my hair too….everywhere. I had to get my eyebrows micro bladed bc they came back in but not all of them and not full like they used to be. So if I want to do micro blading to make me happier and look a little more normal than that’s my prerogative, right…lol!! I also still have to wear false eyelashes after 2 yrs of not doing chemo bc my eyelashes did not fully come back. When I was reading your post and read that even some warriors/survivors were giving you hell for you talking about your hair…OH WELL!! YOU have the right to feel the way you do bc we all feel some time of way. Just some of us express it more and then there are those that keep everything bottled up. Not a good way to deal with things. I admire you for speaking about this topic. My hair grew back and I had a lot of chemo curl, but I have had the best hairstylist up at our oncology center. She cut off all the chemo curl and it started growing back straight which I was not used to bc I had natural curly hair. So I was a little depressed knowing that I wasn’t going to have natural curly hair anymore. It came back BLACK and my natural hair color was medium brown with some red tones. It did start coming back thicker bc I have always had thin hair BUT now that I have been on exemestane my hair has started to thin again. But, on another side note, my natural curly hair came back. I think God heard me kind of complaining that I wouldn’t have curl so guess what He gave me my curl back..lol
I know this is a long response to your post but I just hope that whoever comes across this and reads your post and reads the comments understands that we have the right to vent if we want to. And that when we put our trust in warrior/survivor friends we don’t expect for them to stab us in the back bc they know all too well what we have been through.
Keep your head up my Surviving Warrior Sister!!!
It is so extremely frustrating when i hear that other cancer survivors are so judgy. I hope i have never said anything that hurt your or another survivors feelings. I have said before its just hair but that was my experience, not everyone’s. Losing my hair was traumatic but not as much as it was for others. Losing my eyebrows was the most challenging. And the nosebleeds from losing nose hairs and the dryness. I sure loved not having to shave for a year though😅. I think you are beautiful and find healing in writing like i do. 😘
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I so agree about the nose hair!!! I’m highly allergic to cats, but over the years have adjusted to my cat’s dander. When I lost all my nose hair, it took a good three months to get adjusted and then immune to my little Nathan’s dander. Those nosebleeds were scary! The only time I get pissed off is when someone tells me how I should feel or completely invalidates my feelings. That’s when I lose it. I sure do miss my eyebrows! I used to love getting them threaded. It’s so strange to not look the same. I think you are a beautiful and talented writer as well. Hugs!!!!