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.