I know you were all waiting with bated breath for a picture of the hair… I asked for short, and I got it! He also gave me some tips– apparently I will need to use the blow dryer a bit and some of my long hair product to help fight those pesky chemo curls. (He said they will probably calm down within a year or so.) Hopefully it’s short enough that I won’t be going crazy dying for a cut in five weeks, when I’ll apparently need to have it cut again. This short hair thing is not as easy as I’d always thought!
I know you’re all wondering why I haven’t talked about my hair in over a week. No? As it turns out, my hair is currently driving me a little bonkers, so you’re going to have to hear about it yet again. I have these crazy curls– not quite super tight curls, but definitely more than “texture.” So if I’m not careful, that is, if I don’t over do the product and re-wet it every hour or two, I end up with a fuzzy, round head. Not a pretty sight. I’m used to working on my hair, though, so I decided to try out some of my old long hair tricks last week. On the left, my attempt at a standard blow out. Really tough to do with short hair– hard to get the brush to grab onto anything to pull it straight. The result: straighter and more directional, but still pretty fluffy. On the right, I tried the flat iron. Also very tough. (I may have burned myself a couple of times.) The result: just about every hair on the top of my head stuck straight up, so that didn’t cut down of the fluffy problem either. Remarkably, I don’t hate these two photos nearly as much as I hated the hair styles in person. I can’t figure out what’s up with that. Regardless, I’m not happy with my hair right now. I figured there was no way I’d get in to see Dragan before I had to break down and cut my own hair, but I was thrilled when I called this week and he had a cancellation for this afternoon! Of course, I’ve always left a lot to his discretion, but I’m telling him that I’m not trying to grow it out and I want a short ‘do, hopefully one that can last more than a couple of weeks! Stay tuned for more on the hair drama. (To see a picture even sooner, follow me on Facebook and Twitter— I’ll probably put something up there right away!)
So I’ve been thinking a lot about my hair lately. I think a lot of people have. You all ask about it– will I let it grow out? Maybe not, not right now, anyway. According to a post Ashley did, it will take about 4.9 years for my hair to grow out to its former glory. (I love that she figured that out!) Somehow, I’m not sure a woman over 40 needs hair that long. Or at least, not this woman. But mainly, I like it this way. And not because it’s easy. Honestly, yes, it is easier than blowing out all that hair before either straightening it or curling it. Somehow, I’m betting not many people honestly think that I make fashion choices because they’re easy. If we’ve talked about my hair and you’ve been one of the very many who’ve commented, “Well, at least it’s easy,” that’s ok, please don’t feel bad. It is easy, and so many people have said it that I don’t have any idea who has. But I’m realizing that’s not something I’ll say to anyone with really short hair again– whether she has short hair by choice or necessity, to insinuate the best thing about her hair is ease isn’t the biggest compliment.
That being said, I’ve gotten lots of wonderful compliments. The best compliments come from complete strangers, and they’re my favorite because I know that these people truly like my hair, they’re not just being nice because they figure at least I’m not bald anymore. My most favorite comment? From a man who works in the cosmetic department at Niemann Marcus. Enough said.
It’s still weird for me. I catch my reflection in the mirror or see my shadow on the sidewalk and don’t always recognize myself. I see myself with long hair in my mind, and yet I’m starting to see myself as I look in Sally’s most recent photos, too. Like maybe it’s fifty-fifty now, sometimes I think of myself with long hair, sometimes short. I haven’t quite decided how I’d like my hair to look in 4.9 years. But for now, I think I’m sticking with short. It tells a story. When I see my short hair, I am reminded that I am strong, not only that I’ve gotten past cancer, but that I can feel confident with out the long lovely locks that I once considered a major part of my identity.
I was so excited last week to head back to Georgetown for my first haircut since the “big cut” last fall. Since I didn’t take along my photographer, the picture’s not so hot. I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay so much for cutting such a little bit of hair, but it was so worth it. Dragan did a great job and I really love how it turned out.
So many decisions… Wig? Hat? Scarf? On my very first visit to the oncologist, I sat in the lab to have blood drawn with another young woman. She was so stylish—skinny jeans, tall boots, and a long scarf tied around her bald head. Somehow, at that moment, I knew that I’d spend most of my time in a scarf. Just about two weeks before, I’d headed to Zoe Boutique to hang out for Fashion’s Night Out in Alexandria. I love a good swag bag, and that night was no exception—the pebbled Velvet scarf on the far left was part of Zoe’s swag for the night. It turned out to be the perfect “neutral” and I wore it more than any other scarf, with just about everything. It’s a jersey (t-shirt) knit, and so comfy, and I liked having the long “tail” hanging behind me. Maybe I was missing my pony tail. Second from the left was my second favorite—a silk scarf that I picked up at Amalgamated Classics Clothing and Dry Goods—a fun little vintage shop in Del Ray, I wore it with a few of my favorite bulky brown sweaters—it was a square scarf and tied more like a kerchief without the long tail. The rest actually got more wear around my neck, when I was looking to hide the straps and bulkiness of the post-surgical compression gear. I looked for more scarves, but came up with few options, in the fall, most of the scarves were too bulky. Now that it’s spring, I feel like I see scarves I’d like to wear on my head all the time! (I have to fight the urge to hoard them!) I’ve also noticed that there is quite a good selection of scarves at consignment and thrift shops, which is great not only because they’re not as spendy, but it’s easier to pick up a pretty unique selection at a place like that. Wish I’d been looking there last fall!
Glamorous, I know. The week before surgery I ended up with pink eye, so on top of the bald head, I had to wear my glasses. A post-run shopping outing with a toddler on my back? I couldn’t have felt less fabulous. But how could you not smile at this scene? And I love all those smiles! Babies and really little kiddos were a little afraid of me at first, and elementary kids tended to stare for a while, and I can’t blame them for that. But as soon as I’d smile and act normal, they got over it. Thankfully, I never felt like I got too many pity-filled glances from adults. But what I loved—the young adults who told me I could really rock a bald head, and the old ladies—they were the best. I’m betting many of them saw themselves or their friends in the first glimpse of my bald head and smiled to encourage me. Little old ladies love a bald girl, but it turns out they’re a little less enthusiastic when they’re trying to figure out if I’m growing out my post-chemo hair or if I’m sporting a lesbian-chic look! I don’t get nearly as much old lady love now that I’ve got enough hair to put product in! (And speaking of hair, Sally and I went on a photo session/adventure yesterday, I’ll be sure to post some pics of my sleek new ‘do when she passes them along!)
This is the first in a series of what I’ll miss from my time as a cancer patient. I know cancer is a serious thing, not everyone tolerates treatment well, and not everyone recovers. I don’t mean to offend by making light of a serious subject. These posts are just a glimpse of my efforts to make the best of my situation—to find the silver linings wherever I can.
If you look really closely on the right side of my head (left of the photo), you can a fuzzy little patch of bed head! Not normally something to be excited about, let alone post on the internet for all to see, but this is proof that I have enough hair to actually get messed up! Thankfully, fixing it is as easy as hopping out of the shower (or getting my hands wet in the sink!) and smoothing it down with a little product. My new friend Meg, who started out as Sally’s friend Meg, trimmed up my hair for me a few weeks ago and I had to ask her about product for my new super short hair. Short hair products are very different than long hair products! At her suggestion, I got some Aquage Transforming Paste, and it does an awesome job at transforming this fuzzy mess into something that looks a bit more deliberate. (And yes, that is my painfully old iPhone. I keep thinking it will stop working and I’ll need a new one, and would you believe it? That thing just won’t die!)