Monthly Archives: February 2009
Hey Everyone. As a sort of introduction for adding more content to my Hair Page, I’ve decided to write more about what’s been going on with me and my hair that prompts such drastic action. Let me preface the following by saying that what comes next will sound like the ramblings of a vain person, and you’d be right! I am pretty vain about my hair, so it goes without saying that the story of my hair loss will sound like a horror story…. because, to me, it is a horror story. I write about it because I’m certain that there are more women out there going through the same thing, though, they’d be loath to admit it… or just plain don’t want to think about it, let alone talk about it….geez!
To give a little bit of a background, for most of my life my hair has been the key to my identity. I somehow got it into my head that hair = femininity. I still believe that my hair is the most feminine part I’ve got. Ha.. seems that in some areas, I’m a very blank and white kind of person… just think of the sweet blank and white cookies, the Drake’s favorite, BTW. All my life I grew very long hair, down past my waist and I was very proud of it. Then somewhere along the way, my friend next door got very long, thick hair and thicker than mine… and mine was pretty thick. Soon, we were in a hair competition, unspoken, of course. I think it was that competition that blocked out any thought of cutting it or going for any kind of style. My own hair credentials are that it was long, shiny (hers was not) and I had a lot of it, which made it pretty thick. The hair shaft was not course, but fine; which gave it a really nice shine. It has a slight wave to it, which allows me to also have wavy hair. I am lucky enough to have hair that can be set into a style and it will actually stay. The great volume of it means that with so much hair, it can be still classified as thick even though the hair shaft is fine. I wore my glorious mane down most of the time, but I was constantly nagged by my mom about it being messy all the time… HA… Now this so called “messy-ness” is called the casual look. When I was a teenager, I had no idea as to how I could style it, or even the proper way to maintain it other than brushing. My mother was totally unapproachable as her very presence was a threat to keeping it long. I never asked her for advice because I didn’t want to draw attention to my hair… and her making me cut it. Her two aunts were beauticians and ultimately, during the summer between the 8th grade and the 9th, she dragged me kicking and screaming into the backyard and one of my aunts mutilated my head by chopping my hair into three distinct sections. I was devastatingly traumatized and spent the next several years just trying to grow it out. It took four to five years to get it back to where it was before the “incident”. Such a waste of time. My stupid mother did not realize that she was cutting away my security blanket… or maybe she DID know that and did it as some sort of act of parenting. Anyway, she ruined me for high school because I spent my time striving to blend into the woodwork of a school made of cement blocks. I digress…….
So, I pretty much kept my hair long after that with the exception of a few years in the 80’s when perms became popular. I loved how my girlfriend’s hair looked and decided to hack off my hair AND perm it at the same time…. a pretty drastic change for someone who clung to her hair/security blanket. It just goes to show you what can be achieved IF you really want it. I loved Stevie Nicks. Remember her hair? I got that look. I got the longest layered style possible and had it permed into Stevie. I loved every minute of that phase! After a few years, I stopped perming and found out that, with the particular characteristics of my hair, I didn’t need to perm to get the look. All I had to do was wash my hair and let it dry naturally… oh yes, into the “messy” look….. WTF?
Okay… so I stopped spending money to perm my hair and started spending $$ to color it. I loved the reds and went for the lightest auburn, even though I had dark brown coloring. I did blonde a couple of times, but I never saw what was so great about it. Now, RED! That is something! There was one summer that L’Oreal came out with really bright, intense colors that were supposed to be temporary. The red one came out fire engine red, literally; and I loved it! It pays to have a DH working at L’Oreal. I get to try out anything I want for half price, which is great when you have really long hair and need 3-4 boxes of the stuff. Last summer, however, they discontinued it in their store and I scooped up the last of what I could find. Copper Craze. Now the reason the colors looked so intense on me is because a lot of my hair in the front is gray, so color on top of white, makes it exceptionally bright. Copper Craze turned out to be bright ORANGE. I wasn not very happy with that, but it did grow on me and I ended up loving it. As it got washed out, it turned a nice Honey Blonde and I got so many compliments about that phase. People thought I colored and highlighted my hair blonde…. brrrr! To this day, I still have blonde-ish streaks that are growing out.
Enough background, don’t you think? Onward…. In my thirties, my hair stopped growing. I could not get it below my shoulders. When I got pregnant with my son, it started growing, along with my nails. It grew so fast and so unexpectedly, that I started treating it like long hair and took care of it nice. Several months ago, it went through a shedding phase, but it I will call it hair loss. I call it that because literally tons of it came out every time I showered. Usually, we lose 50 or so strands of hair a day. That is normal. Visually, I know what that looks like; so when clumps of it started to come out in the shower, I panicked. Now, I have a thing that I do when I wash my hair. As it’s washed, and especially during conditioning, it comes out into my hands and I throw the clump onto the shower wall to prevent it from getting into the drain. Oh, and there is also a small basket in the drain to catch everything. Before, I cleaned out the basket after my shower…. NOW, I am cleaning my hair outta there two and three times. The amount of hair that is hitting the wall is at least double if not more of the volume. Pretty freaking scary. This has been happening for a long and the only thing that is saving me is the volume of hair that I started out with because if I didn’t have really, really thick hair to start with, I be freaking bald right now. My friends don’t really understand because they don’t see a difference, but I can feel the difference. I can also see my scalp and almost count the follicles. I can SEE the individual strands, whereas before, I could not…. so I know what’s going on. Maybe it looks okay now, but if the shedding doesn’t stop, I’ll be bald soon.
Still, not the end of the world, right? Of course, and I DO know that. So now, I will have a bald head and a face and neck full of manly hair that needs to be shaved just about every other day, if I cared about it. Funny, I don’t really feel weird about having that facial hair, which is because I’ve had it all my life… UGH another thing to contend with, but I do it every day. No bid deal, so why is my head hair such a traumatic experience? Because I’m vain about it. Because I have a certain perception of it… and that is how beautiful it looks when I fix it up nice… and how I cannot now create beautiful, soft updo’s that project my femininity because they fall flat with no hair inside to puff it out. I wanted to become the mature Storm… you know, from the X-Men. All her power is in her hair, you know. HA…. I KNOW. That might not happen now because I’ll be bald before I go completely gray. I’m sad that my grays are falling out, too…. I love my grays!
So, with all this said. My next posting will get more into hair loss and various causes… and how we can be proactive with prevention of hair loss. I’m a firm believer in having as much understanding as possible in everything I experience. Understanding is the key to acceptance. It’s the key to living, in general. That is my belief. If I can’t get my hair back, I want to understand why. I want to know that I’ve done all that I can do to prevent it; and if I still cannot get it back, my understanding of the situation will allow me to accept where I’m at and know that it’s out of my control.
oh well, there’s always wigs.
I will be updating my hair page soon (you may have noticed it’s tab at the top of this page) to take on the issues of major hair loss. It will be a work in progress and I’ll be adding content into the main blog post area. Recently, for whatever reason, I’ve been experiencing major shedding, hair loss, whatever you want to call it. I think it’s something that is terribly traumatic for women since a lot, if not all of their identity and/or femininity is connected to their hair. This is my belief, but really, I do acknowledge that this could not possibly be true for everyone, but I do believe there are a lot of women out there affected by it.
Please stay tuned for more on my own experiences and what I’ve been doing about it and how I am feeling… yada yada yada.
Alas, I am finally showing my age! Well you know, I cannot let this be the end of the world for me, so I feel the urge to work through it and, most importantly for me and possibly others, to WRITE about it. Thanks for your patience. I know I’m not such a dedicated writer recently, but I find that I write when I feel strongly about something… and I can feel it building up….. ?
I know. I’m not blogging as much as I should, but I’ve been honing my fiber skills! Still, something happened yesterday that I simply MUST document.
Ever since Gabriel was born, I envisioned myself as being one of those moms who will find a way to discuss anything with her child, regardless of gender. I even wrote a song and book about the WHY questions of the very young. After almost four whole years, Gabriel finally asked his mommie a direct, engaging question. It was so totally unexpected and so totally outrageous. You be the judge:
Last night I gave him a bath; and because our apartment is on the cool side, afterwards we usually spend time on his bed to snuggle to keep him warm while he’s still wet. He gets wrapped up in a huge towel and I’ll dry his hair with the end of it. Last night I unwrapped him for the ritual of slathering shea butter all over him, and I caught him playing with his penis. Well. This was not the first I saw him doing this, AND it’s very normal behavior for this age… I guess for any age. The thing is that this mommie has never handled this situation as a mommie. I’ve heard stories from his teachers about how the boys are going at it during nap time! I’ve been told about how those little beds actually slide across the room! Some teachers were freaking out, so the school had to create a workshop for them to help them understand and handle it better. Again, very normal and they treat it as such.
Even though it’s normal, however, I still need to teach Gabe that he should not do this in public… OOOH, going back a few months, he went through a phase of pulling down his pants to play with his little willy. It unfolded so suddenly that I could not think about how to handle it as I didn’t want to traumatize the kid with my ineptness as a toddler interpreter. To make things worse, he started this behavior exactly on the morning of a cookie decorating party that had about 12 other kids attending. My first reaction as to be mortified when, after all the talking I did before we got there NOT to do that, he did. I have since figured out that he was doing this when he was bored. At the party, there came a point when all the other kids went downstairs and he was left upstairs with just the mommies. Even though I had my eyes on him 99% of the time, it was during that 1% he decided to put his hands in his pants. How I found out was that I had noticed someone looking in his direction with a funny face. I looked over and there he was. Thank goodness he was basically alone, but standing in the middle of the room being pretty obvious about the whole thing. I am so grateful for those mommies who have more than just a few years of mommie seniority on me. They really helped me get my head back and gave advice on how I should be handling it. However, you know that things like this do not go away overnight, so that Monday afternoon, I was advised by the school that he had exposed himself in front of all the kids… which is not normally a bad thing, but they are more concerned about the other kids’ parents finding out, especially new parents and those of the girls, because sometimes they don’t understand that it’s pretty innocent. The teachers also gave advice on how to handle this.
I’d say that the most important thing is to keep calm and to not project negativity about the actual penis or that playing with it is taboo. Again, let me say right here that this is my own opinion and the point of this is not to criticize any one else’s parenting. For myself, I want my child to be comfortable with his body and that means I will not teach him that touching his penis, or any other part of his body, is wrong. Now, getting back to the landmark question I was asked just yesterday. Oh, I should say that Gabe had stopped pulling down his pants in front of me and I had not gotten any reports, of him doing the same, from school,.
Getting back to last night. I grabbed this opportunity to talk more about the need to keep private and decided to tell Gabe not to play with his penis. I went on to say that he should not let other people see his penis because it was a “private part”, HIS private part. For a little while he was silent, then he looked right at me and asked, “Mommie, what’s wrong with my penis?” Wow, that came on so suddenly that all I could do was to just sit there, taking it in for a bit. I said, “Gabe, there is nothing wrong with your penis. Your penis is perfectly fine, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s just that your penis should be private and it’s bad manners to let other people see it.” Oh God, I am hoping that was okay to say. There is so much more that needs to be said on this subject, for his protection, about perverts, so heavy; but I still have no idea how to convey all this additional stuff, so kept silent, for now. I don’t remember using the word “wrong” when I first told him not to touch it, but I honestly don’t remember word for word, but do remember word for word, my response… how weird that is. From the whole experience? I’m walking on eggs wondering if I handled that okay… though I think I did. I had no idea he had this on his mind, if he did prior to this interaction.
SIGH… so that is the story of the million dollar question… not a “Why” question, but it’s plenty for now. REALLY. I am still so looking forward to Gabe asking more questions. I will go into a bit of history here. When I was growing up, my parents were not open, and definitely did not project approachability. There was affection, NO communication other than various dictates, rulings and being disciplined. As we got older, I think my mother missed being close with us, but really, she did nothing earlier in our lives to welcome us into “her” world. I’ve vowed that will not be the case with my son. Yes, I’m an older mommie, but I think it’s just the right time for me to become a mother. I never could have done this if I was younger. I am more mature and more developed, myself, which makes me better mom material.