"The hair is the richest ornament of women."--Martin Luther
Fifteen months have passed since I shut my eyes tight and gripped my mom's hand as hard as I could while my hair was shaven off my head in response to chemotherapy treatments. The intense sorrow I felt during that hour at the salon was matched only by the horror I felt when I finally worked up the courage to look at myself in the mirror later that night.
They say that time heals all wounds. I disagree, but I would compromise and acknowledge that time takes the sting out of most wounds. As much as I hated it, I learned to live without my hair. Life kept going on all around me, and I made the choice to participate as much as I was able.
But my already-fragile self-esteem was shattered by my cancer-induced baldness. All these months, I've put on a brave face and a good show, but every time I looked in the mirror, I saw ugly.
Now my hair is growing. I've had it cut a few times, and recently finally got it colored because I've found that blondes really do have more fun. I begged my hairdresser to find a way to fix the crazy, kinky curls into a silky straight mane, and you know what she said? "You should embrace the curls." Humph. Some advice.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. Turns out she knows what she's talking about. After two agonizing trips and quite a few dollars to the beauty supply store, I found out that all the products and flat irons in the world can't fix this. Trying to straighten this hair only makes me look like I'm wearing a huge mushroom on my head.
So I have curls. Lots and lots of very blonde curls. I've experimented with a few different things, but the bottom line is the same every. single. day. It's still ugly. I can't comb it down or tuck it behind my ears or put a clip in it or anything. I can't even manage to make it look like I meant to style my hair this way!
Since the boys have been out of school, I have been wig-free for the most part. They have gotten used to the new look, so I know it's time for me to go public with my hair. Tomorrow will be that day. I don't mean to dramatize it, but I have great anxiety about going to church without my wig. I feel vulnerable and exposed. It's hard to explain...I think I should feel victorious and joyful instead of scared.
I've often said I wouldn't trade my cancer journey for anything because I've learned so many valuable lessons along the way. But how I wish I could have taken this same journey with a full head of hair! But then again, what I've learned probably wouldn't have mattered nearly as much. Like knowing that life has very little to do with my hair and everything to do with my heart.