The hair journey begins here with a slight trim and fresh color. In a conversation with the Oncology nurse, I learned that I have about 60 days of hair left before I shave it completely off, so I might as well enjoy the journey between now and then.
We talked briefly about the cold cap that is now available for women who want to keep their hair. It takes an extra hour on the front end of chemo, an extra hour on the back end, it’s expensive, it’s not covered, and the nurse told us that one patient came out of the cap with whole patches of hair falling out at once. It does work for some women, but not for everyone. And honestly, I’m just not interested in the fight.
I gave up fighting my hair years ago when I started wearing super short hair. I quit using styling products, and I stopped using a curling iron and rarely used a hair dryer. I still colored my hair with temporary colors, and did an occasional bleach, but other than that – I gave up the “every hair in place” fight, and it felt good. It felt really good.
I have always cut my own hair. Well, not always – my Mom cut my hair all through my childhood, and I think that may be one reason why my hair autonomy matters so much to me now. She thought my longer hair looked “stringy” and reflected badly on her, so I got the short cut she wanted. There is another woman who has cut my hair a few times, and a dear old barber gave me a spiffy men’s do after I had really made a mess of things one time. I know he has refused to cut hair for many women, but I was an exception. Other than that, I found my autonomy in cutting my own hair and I have always loved playing with colors!
I have a video on my YouTube channel to show you how to cut your own pixie cut, and that video kind of took off during Covid when people couldn’t get to their hair dressers, and so I made some money off it. It’s still the only video on my YouTube channel that gets any real notice, lol!
I refuse to allow cancer to steal my hair from me, so I will make an offering out of it instead. But I will not be offering my hair to cancer! Nope! There is a spiritual aspect of my long hair that is difficult to put into words, and I was given it by God as a part of all these remarkable body systems. I suppose I will just give it back. No matter how many times I have complained about the “musty rodent brown” natural color or the lack of curl or even bend in my hair (not being entirely grateful for or appreciative of the gift I was given) I still have loved the process of expressing myself with colors and cuts, and even some hats from time to time. A friend of mine has glorious curls and I have always been a little jealous, but that was her, and my hair was mine, I can get curls if I fry hard enough, but they don’t stick around.
Over the last three years since I made that video, I started growing out my hair, giving it a trim each year in the spring. Growing out stages are not that fun, but I have enjoyed having long hair down my back and around my shoulders. Nevertheless, it was been an expression of my autonomy and uniqueness, it is easy to get some fun colors, and there are endless opportunities for creative expression!
And now that I know our remaining time together is short, I have messed around with putting some curl in it and gave it a nice trim. Check out the photo… I think this will be the “before” picture, or at least one of the first photos in a parade of ever-shorter styles. I have decided to enjoy this hair and express myself with it. I won’t lose it to cancer, I will cut it myself at times that are right for me. And maybe I will be sad and shed some tears along the way, and maybe I won’t. But whatever the emotions are – they are all acceptable, they are mine, they are authentic… and they will pass. One day at a time, one tear at a time, and one smile at a time – even if it’s a wobbly one.
Here is my crafted prayer and declaration as I contemplate my hair in this season.
I am making my hair an offering. It is not stolen from me. I give it to the One who gave it to me. My hair is an embodied prayer, a sacrifice of praise, and I offer it freely.
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