Written December 2019
After shaving my head, I thought I would have days of regret, or days when I looked in the mirror and loathed myself, but that hasn’t happened. It’s been quite the opposite. I have had more confidence rocking the shave, than when I had hair. Maybe it’s because I can walk out the door without having a ‘bad hair day’.
I never have a morning where I spend time on my hair only to have it fail me. I never have to decide how to wear my hair or glare at the mirror and see split ends, breakage or my hair color fading. What freedom! And, even though I am 53 and my face is not young and beautiful, I don’t think the shave has made me ugly. Sure, I feel prettier with long hair, but I don’t feel insecure with the shave.
For the first few weeks, I wore a wig to church, because my hair was barely a centimeter long, and I didn’t want to shock those who would only see me, but who did not follow me on Facebook or know what was going on. And, my husband and I volunteer with a special needs class and I didn’t want to shock them either. Especially Bobby.
Bobby is my very special friend who always sits by me in class, and he would touch my hair and tell me he liked it. We nick named him Bobby Joy, because he is always happy and telling everybody he loves them and he cares about them. A couple of Sundays before the shave, I let Bobby know my secret. I told him I was going to shave my hair and that I wouldn’t have my hair for a while.
Bobby looked thoughtful for a moment, and then he said to me, “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you… and I love you… even with no hair.” And that is why our class is named God’s Special People – they truly are.
When I donned the wig that first Sunday, I whispered to Bobby, “Now this is my wig… remember you can’t touch it or it might come off.” He smiled. A few other classmates noticed the different style and said, “You changed your hair!”
Oh the wig felt weird. I had a nice wig, but I didn’t like the way it felt on my head. It wasn’t like a hat. I hat flows with me and I like hats. But a wig feels weird because I brush hair away from my face – hair that isn’t mine. And the net cap inside isn’t that comfortable with a shave because the tiny hairs standing straight up rub against the cap and it tickles.
As soon as church was over, I pulled off my wig in the car and we headed to Jasmine for lunch. We eat there every Sunday after church, so I was comfortable being bald there.
My mother in-law Peggy said she liked it and said I looked sophisticated. I didn’t really get any ‘looks’ like I thought I might get from people. I guess in today’s era ‘anything goes’ and this really isn’t that big of a deal.
Each day when I woke up, I sprinkled a little water on my head and smoothed my hair with a little hair serum and I put on makeup. I had forgotten how fun makeup was. When I turned 50, I stopped wearing foundation and powder on my skin because I like the feel of my skin being able to breath and I love the clean feeling. And I wanted to be more natural, so if I chose to wear any make up, it was just earthy tones of eyeshadow and lipstick and sometimes mascara. I still like a clean feel, so the only make up I added, was to add eyebrow gel, and more colorful lipstick – and the fact that I wear it every day.
I loved the color I put on my face! I had missed that and didn’t realize it. It is fun to wear makeup to enhance with color. And that is why, I no longer judge someone who has pink or blue hair. I used to think to myself, that they are searching for themselves or they are going through a phase, but no matter what is going on for them emotionally, maybe it is just about them liking it! And that’s okay.
I like makeup, so since I have no hair to fix, I enjoy wearing make up every day. When I was a kid, I watched The Lucy Show and wondered why she wore a dress just to vacuum the house and take care of little Ricky. But here I am doing laundry while wearing makeup, nice clothes and jewelry – even when I am not going anywhere. I like that it doesn’t take me long to get ready and I like ‘accessorizing’ the shave.
But after a few weeks, one day I woke up, not feeling it. I wanted to take a day off from make up. Then, my favorite clothing store “The Place” on 12th street in Murray, posted on their Facebook wall a beautiful red jacket. I hadn’t asked my husband for anything for Christmas yet, so I asked for that jacket. He told me to get it.
My day of no makeup was short-lived. I put on makeup and bright red lipstick and went and got that jacket! I love red and I love wearing red lipstick! It goes well with my dark roots with silver popping out as my hair grows a little. It’s still too short to see how the color of my natural hair will be, but I am pleased with the silvery gray I see. I had “highlights” and didn’t even know it!
I told the ladies at The Place what I did with shaving my hair off, and my reasons. Then, the magic happened. I knew that God would use this season in my life, to talk with other women who dealt with not having hair. I met Carolyn. She told me she was a survivor. We talked about her losing her hair, but thankfully, she didn’t lose all of it. She said it grew back less curly than it used to be. She wasn’t sure if that was because of treatment, or if that’s what happened naturally for her. She had very lovely hair and I asked if I could do a short, impromptu interview with her. She agreed.
Click the link to see Carolyn’s interview: https://youtu.be/29a_xakC0oQ
It has been a month since I shaved my hair and it has grown a smidgen. That ‘chia pet’ look I feared hasn’t been so bad, but I have plenty of hats to wear just in case. So far, it still hasn’t laid down, but it isn’t too long where it looks fuzzy. I have been enjoying wearing my hats, which change my appearance of looking so bald. I like that, but I also still love wearing the bald, because I like the freedom. And, I like the confidence this has given me.
So far I have not had one day of regret. I recently spoke with the grandmother of twins who have alopecia and I hope to make a lunch date with them sometime soon, so we can talk about their experience.