So we are now approaching nineteen months after my last chemo. I’ve just had another haircut, and Dragan warned me that I’m getting to a difficult stage. “But you’re doing a great job faking it,” he reassured me. We talked about the growing out process. He conceded that I could have just let it grow instead of coming to him faithfully every five or six weeks. That may have been a little quicker to shoulder length, but I know I’d have hated every minute of it. This way, I’ve had a lot of different hairstyles, but they’ve all looked intentional. Intentional. That one word makes a world of difference to me. As soon as it was long enough to get cut, I never again looked like a cancer patient growing out her hair, I looked like a woman who had chosen to have a short hair cut. (Of course, I only looked like I had made the choice, in reality, it had been made for me.) Dragan’s encouraged me to really play with my hair and see what I can do– see how I like it. The bottom two pics are my normal looks– more rock and roll on the left and smooth, tucked behind the ears weather girl style on the right. I tried out the rocker style last week when I was headed into Turner’s classroom, and upon my entry, he loudly exclaimed, “It looks like you have bed head!” Um, mommy’s trying something new, sweetie. Thanks for noticing.
I was chatting with a short-haired friend who lamented at how long my hair is getting– she really loved it short. I told her I was growing it out, mostly for my family. As we chatted, I had to admit that pre-cancer, I would have considered Clay’s opinion of my hair but would have likened letting the kids have a say in my hairstyle to letting them eat cookies for breakfast. Sure, sometimes they want something, but kids don’t always make the best decisions. I’m the adult. It’s really only because of the cancer that I’m making that concession. I want to be able to give them the “normal” they remember– the wife and mom with long flowing locks who didn’t have cancer. Of course, it will be years before I have those same long locks, and by then I’ll be over forty and probably due for the “I’m getting to old for this” chopping of the hair. But it wasn’t until this weekend that it dawned on me– I’ll grow it as long as I can, but the next time I end up with a pixie or a faux-hawk, it will be my choice– not a necessity brought on by cancer. And somehow, I think that small distinction will make all the difference.