Are you there, God? It’s me. Alice. I miss my hair! No kidding!
I’ve been bald for only two months; it seems like two years! My arms and legs are as smooth as a baby’s bottom, my eyebrows look like the thin penciled line popular with ladies of the flapper era. I have eyelashes but they’re very sparse. The oncologist tells me I will probably see new hair appearing in a few more weeks, with enough to really notice around three months after the LAST chemotherapy, which would be around the middle of July.
When I was shopping for wigs and setting aside hats and scarves–“to have fun with” at my oncology nurses’ suggestion–I was only concerned with vanity. A very long time ago someone told me that he’d never seen anybody, other than me, whose looks were more determined by how my hair looked. He meant it as a compliment–I’m sure, because he was a nice, older man and my boss–but it was sort of true. If I missed one day without a shampoo, my thin baby fine hair hung as limp as a dishrag and made my chipmunk cheeks look fatter as if I were using using an upside down spoon as a mirror. Sadly, I realized it was true: the way I felt about and carried myself depended far too much on whether or not my hair was properly washed and styled.
I’ve noticed lately that lots of people think You make bad things happen to people in order to teach them lessons they need to learn. Naturally it occurred to me that my getting cancer was Your way of teaching me that hair did not define me. Well, it’s true. I’ve learned that lesson well. That’s why I’m writing this letter now as a way to cry “Uncle.” I concede to You on the matter of hair, vanity, and all that! Now I come to ask that–if it be Your will (I know that it has to be Your will from my Sunday school days and I know You’ll forgive me for saying “You” rather than the King James term, “Thy”)–if at all possible, please speed up the re-growth of my hair, no matter what color or texture you choose to send me.
You see, I’ve been having the devil of a time keeping my head warm at night to sleep. Scarves slip and either come down over my eyes to leave the back of my head exposed and cold. Most knitted caps add a layer of bulk that feel uncomfortable. The one I’ve been using lately, a soft fleece-lined stockinette stitch, otherwise perfectly soft and comfy sometimes gets too warm now that the weather is getting milder and I wake up and have to pull it off. Then it starts feeling chilly again, so I lay it carefully over my bald pate and try to go back to sleep without moving. So that’s why I’m so looking forward to having my hair back. I can look perfectly okay with wigs of color and styles which my own hair would be incapable of holding without a whole can of hairspray, but wigs are not comfortable to sleep in, thus cannot keep my head warm at night, trust me!
You already know this I’m sure, but I’ll say it anyway: I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity (Hubby calls it impatience) which I’m sure You stamped into my DNA before I was even born, so if there’s a way please send me a hint about the color I might expect. And this time, maybe the message could come in a much less dramatic way, an email perhaps.
I think you are right about the hair thing and I would include me in the vanity part. I do not have a pretty face without hair and even sometimes with hair if it is not cut or combed properly. If you get eyebrows back I will be really jealous because I haven’t had decent eyebrows since I can’t remember when. They are so sparse and blonde and scattered that they don’t even resemble the beautiful brows I long for. Some of them have slipped clear down onto my eyelids and what good are they there unless they get long enough to pull up and spray? I hope your hair comes in quickly. I have known people who had straight hair and it came in curly. And people with light hair that came in dark. I can imagine it is hard to wait on knowing so I don’t blame you for involving God. It is good to have you and your humor back, Alice!
I thought I was the only one whose hair played a part in how the carried themselves. I understand the cold in bed feeling. All my life I covered my head with the bedclothes, leaving only my face visible to the night air. We are back to 8°C tonight after several days at 22°C, I felt the cold all day and tonight the electric blanket will be on and the bed-socks while I curl into the foetal position and try to sleep.
Would a non slip scarf brought under the chin and then to the back of the neck and tied help?
Hair today, gone tomorrow. Hair has become the only thing I can get obsessed about as it appears I can’t control my weight the way I’d like to, I can’t do anything about the wrinkles without looking like I’m a blowfish. I can’t change a lot of things but I can get my hair blown dry by a professional and feel good about myself. Call us vain. I’m hoping your hair comes back soon, full, curly, thick, and all the things that you didn’t get the first time around.
I have no suggestions – laughed at the post’s title (I love that book).
Sending warm thoughts… and some prayers, too…
This is a lovely post.
Sweet Alice! Hair IS a big deal! In most cultures it is closely aligned with women’s femininity, sensuality, beauty, etc. And we are affected by the cultural messages sent to us via tradition, religion, media, and fashion. In fact, I think God is the ONLY person/personage NOT concerned about hair!
SO don’t be too hard on your beautiful self. (I LOVE your chipmunk cheeks!)
Maybe Telly Savalas should have proclaimed that “bald can be cold” instead of “bald is beautiful.” But then he lived in LA. I’m eager to hear about the color and the texture of your new hair, too. One tip: Never go out in the sun with a bald head. Regarding eyebrows, you can have them tatooed on, more commonly known as permanent makeup. You must be saving a bundle on hair styling, shampoo and creme rinse.
Alice, you really are wonderful. I would cheerfully loan you my hair if I could. Mine was too thick and wild. My mother was always after me to do something with it. There was nothing to be done. Now that I’m too old to be terribly concerned, it’s great; thinned out just enough and curly. Sometimes miracles do happen. I wish you the same.