“Breast Cancer and Chemotherapy…Took away her crown and glory…I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within” India Arie -“I am not my Hair”
Thursday, July 1st started out as a wonderful day. It was 80 degrees, sunny and breezy. My weekly doctor’s visit to get my bloodwork checked went extremely well. The nurse said my red and white blood counts were perfect. I was on an emotional high. I left GW and headed straight to the hairdresser for my 12:30 appointment. For the past 2 weeks my hair had been twisted up, so when I unraveled the twists, I wasn’t too alarmed about the hair that was shedding. I decided last week to go to a new stylist, Tanji, my girl Tekeah’s hairdresser. Before she began to wash my hair, I told her I recently had undergone 1 round of chemo and I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen once she washed it. As she started to detangle my hair, I noticed the clumps of long strands she was throwing into the trash. I tried to remain as calm as I possibly could, but to be frank, I wanted to scream and fall out. My brain began to flood with scenarios; am I going to be bald? My head is huge, I can’t rock a low cut!! Why is this happening to ME!?!
As a black woman, I am among the countless number of women that takes pride in her hair. Hair gives you a sense of confidence. I’ve always had long thick hair since I was a child, so the thought of not having any, especially not on my own terms and against my will, is frustrating. I immediately called my sister, Nicole, Roilyn, and Tekeah. I needed some support ASAP! Thank God Roi was on the Beltway and came right to the shop within 20 minutes. Kelley left work and came also. As I watched the clumps of hair slide out my scalp, I knew I have to make a decision soon. I really wanted to walk 6 doors down to the barbershop and get a low cut Caesar with the deep wave. The initial shock of that much hair coming out was too overwhelming. Tanji told me her sister had gone thru chemo and never went totally bald, but her hair thinned alot. Her words were reassuring that maybe I shouldn’t make a decision so quickly.
So we left it out, put some leave in conditioner on it and I went home. Later that night, Tekeah came over (with flowers 😉 and asked me a question that really stuck with me. “What’s your biggest fear?” I told her being totally bald was…then it made me think more, is that really all that bad? There have been many women who pulled off the low cut look, why was I so afraid of losing all my hair? It made me dig a bit deeper about where the source of my confidence really lies. To be honest, depending on how my hair is styled, I feel different emotionally. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I am beautiful regardless of if my hair is down to my shoulders or styled like Grace Jones. Am I narcissistically attached to my hair?
By the end of that night, I felt better. I am so thankful that every step of the way, God places people in my path that encourage, uplift, give me strength, make me laugh and remind me of how loved and blessed I am. I’m not sure what’s about to happen with my hair, but I am preparing myself for whatever comes my way. I found some cute lace front wigs online and even considered chopping a few inches off to see how I would look with a short do.
I had a reassuring talk today with Ms. Rena, a fellow conqueror and wealth of knowledge, who reassured me that my hair coming out wasn’t all that bad. She encouraged me to enjoy the different stages I will experience with the different lengths and count it all joy. I’m one step closer to the big chop than I thought…
Luke 12: 7- But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.