I thought I’d do a mini update after that terrifying hi-I’m-kinda-rull-bad post to say HI I’M NOT THAT BAD NOW.
And to write a little love letter to my hair.
My hair is something that my sisters and I have always joked is completely wasted on me. I’m lucky to have 3 sisters who are gifted and talented beautiful ladies – who also happen to be unicorns when it comes to anything to do with arts and crafts and doing artful things with their hair. One’s even an award-winning hairdresser.
In contrast, I was born with two feet for hands.
At intermediate, the metalwork teacher got so alarmed by my many near-misses at cutting off various body parts that he just started using my materials as the “demonstration” pieces to the class, to mutual satisfaction.
BUT, unlike my sisters, there is lots of it. It’s a glossy brown, it’s 31 years old (well, my scalp is), and yet to spark a grey. It grows so fast that it’s usually in my eyes about 3 weeks after every fringe trim. My luscious mane shines like a unicorn no matter what supermarket crap I’m putting in it (sorry Liz!).
When it’s up in a ponytail, it makes an audible SWISH from side from side, wagging like a happy dogs tail as I go forth into the world.
No matter what’s going on in my life, whether I’m a galloping crying wreck, literally running away from a full trolley full of groceries because my card declined**, or a rapidly talking ideasidaire, my happy hair shines like a beacon throughout.
Well *RECORD SCRATCH* not anymore.
My magical mane has now dwindled to about a half of its former glory.
For months now, clumps of it have been coming out in the shower – to my horror. It’s been so bad that it floods the shower every day – with a draino twice a week.
When I tell my psychiatrist (repeatedly, at every weekly session), she doesn’t react. My GP is equally unperturbed. I tell everyone – my workmates, my friends, my Manfriend.
You can’t tell, everyone keeps telling me, clearly a bit nonplussed that I’m so distressed about it. I still have more hair than a lot of people anyway. Why complain about it.
It’s just stress, right? Meanwhile, my hairbrush is pulling out huge hanks of my hair, whether I’m working through knots or not. When is it going to stop? The shower stops overflowing – there’s just not enough hair to clog it up now.
Eventually I go to get my haircut. My sister runs her hands through my hair. Bex, she says. You’ve lost half your hair. You need to go to see a doctor IMMEDIATELY. You need to make them listen.
Something in me just breaks.
I feel like I’ve been living in some alternative universe – trying to tell people for so long that something’s seriously wrong, and no one has been listening to me.
My doctor’s tells me that there’s not really any point having tests to see why I’ve lost my hair. It could be anything – extreme stress (check), sudden weight loss (check), natural aging (WTF), and medications (CHECK, CHECK, and CHECK).
It’s another shrug response, and leaves me wondering how much longer I’m going to put up with the “at least you’re not dead” side-effects mantra. What other field of medicine would have that as a benchmark, other than for a terminal disease?
I know that in the grand scheme of things this isn’t earth-shattering stuff.
Yes, my ponytail’s a bit more petit than a Fabio-esque unicorn mane, but you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if you saw me on the street. I look completely fine, nice even.
I’m not a bald lady, or even a lady with patchy candy-floss hair that you’d fine yourself trying not to stare at.
So much of what’s happened with this rough ride through cray-town and medication side-effects and the impact that’s had on my body has been out of my control.
My hair has always been my ONE thing that I’ve the one thing that shines through on this rough ride up and down through cray-town and the various attempts to manage it.
It’s been the one thing I can count on – whether I’ve ballooned up 20 kgs and have been too self-conscious to look at myself in the mirror, or have shaking hands that mean I type like9ekthis.
What I’ve lost is more than than aesthetics. At my lowest point, my only goal is *ever* to have a shower. I need to wash the mane.
That ritual of washing my hair, of brushing it, drying it. Of putting it up. And then then the confidence of it – knowing it’s its own mini shampoo ad. Feeling its security blanket-like weight of it on my neck. Running my fingers through it absent-mindedly during the day. Taking it out and putting it back up, just because it feels nice to.
Now that sense of identity and ritual is diminished, and it has a sense of sadness around it. I reach up to my ghost hair and it’s my sad little plait instead.
My lovely morning ritual is an exercise in trying-to-lose-as-little-hair-as-possible. There’s no SWISH when I walk. I can’t even really convey what that means because it sounds ridiculous, but that companionable swish was kind of a teeny-tiny confidence booster whenever I needed it.
I *think* my hair’s finished the freak fall-out.
So hair, I just wanted you to know – you weren’t wasted on me. You were loved. Now plz come back x
*Also just a side note to say that at the time, I didn’ think my hell picture was terrifying enough to convey how I felt. I APOLOGISE. IT.IS.HORRIFIC. Crazy Bex eh. She craaaay.
**True story. The teenage checkout chick was utterly bewildered and I ran ALL the way home like a crazy person, got home, and then realised my card declined because I’d used the wrong bank account.