It's Just Hair...

Late November 2015
So, a few weeks back as I was nearing the end of my patience with my hair extensions, I saw a blog post by Clare Bowen (Is she not just the most adorable person you have ever seen?) entitled "It's Just Hair". I had been debating for weeks whether I was going to put the extensions back or if I was going to embrace whatever hair had sprouted on my head.

Before reading that post, I was starting to draw my own conclusions that while my extensions were beautiful, they were also a huge expense and a serious pain the arse (I don't know about you, but I can think of a million other things that are more fun to do than spend 10, yes I said 10, hours in a chair at the salon). But, of course, I had some preconceived notions of my own about hair, naturally to spend the amount of time and money that I had on them, my notions must have been pretty potent. Reading her post made up my mind for me! I did a lot of soul-searching after seeing and reading that blog entry.

I have never considered myself to be obsessive with hair. Before having cancer, I made frequent trips to the beauty salon for cuts and highlights. But, I was never crazy about it. Often, I would wait way too long and get to the point of wanting to rip my hair out (and much to my stylist's dismay and frustration was not above taking the scissors to my own head when things got too bad). So, I was not one of these people who visits her stylist every three weeks, nor was I one of those people that ran to the salon every time a root peaked through. I washed, dried and styled my hair every morning, and then did not think about it the rest of the day, until I would pull it into a ponytail at the end of the day. I never carried hairspray or a comb: a rubber band: yes, styling tools: no! See, there is nothing really over the top there.

Early November 2014
As I have admitted many times, one of the first questions out of my mouth after hearing that I had cancer was "Am I going to lose my hair?". Looking back, clearly that was an absurd question. Regardless, the truth of the matter is that losing my hair terrified me. No matter how hard I tried, I could not rationalize that I was going to save an hour every morning on styling my hair,  or that I would be saving a ton of money on styling products and trips to the salon. And why the heck could I not grasp the concept that I was also, of course, going to be alive! Frankly, I felt so strongly about losing my hair that it was almost a battle between hair and living that shocked the heck out of me. I swear I grieved more about losing my hair than losing my breasts, actually I know I did.

I am sure you are wondering, if all of this is true, what the heck happened? Well, it's complicated. In a lot of ways, I guess I perceived not having hair as being unhealthy and looking sick. I have never liked "looking sick". Even when I have the flu or a head cold, I still do my hair and put on my makeup because I know that if I do so, I will feel better. And let's face it, we are living in a hair obsessed society. I never noticed exactly  how many hair commercials there were until I had no hair. Then I felt like every single commercial was about hair. I do not know how it happened, but during the time I was hairless, all of the car manufacturers, toilet paper companies, and all of the stores stopped advertising to make room for endless commercials about HAIR. I could not turn on the tv without seeing a woman tossing long, luscious, glorious hair over her shoulders. Seriously? No wonder I stopped watching tv and turned off the Direct TV service.

My obsession with hair, or should I say lack of it, started when I lost all of mine. While my mom (she's my mom, of course, she is going to say that I look cute no matter what) and many of my friends frequently commented on how cute I looked without hair, I was dreadfully unhappy. I guess I fell victim to the common thought in society than girls cannot be a princess without long hair (although, I am a little old for the whole princess thing, you get the idea). Without my hair, I most certainly did not feel like myself and I definitely did not feel pretty no matter how many times people commented about my adorable short hair. I felt broken. I desperately wanted not to feel broken.

Late November 2014 
I took some pretty drastic (and expensive) measures to make myself feel whole again. And, looking back, I guess that is where the soul searching should have begun. Why on earth did I need hair and lots of it to feel beautiful and loved? There is really something wrong with that. Frankly, my friends and family do not think anything less, or anything more of me because of the length of my hair or the lack of hair entirely.

So, in a rather abrupt move, almost two weeks ago (right after bringing Jazzy home) I made a phone call to start righting my "hair" ship. Fate intervened, and I was able to see someone about removing the extensions that day. Since I was only going for a consultation, I grabbed Jazzy and headed off to the salon. But, fate is one of those busy bodied things, and as I sat there that morning (with Jazzy in my lap) it turned out that I could have it done right then and there. Why wait? So, with my adorable puppy in my lap, I had my extensions removed, my hair washed, cut and dried.

Forgive me while I give a shameless plug to my four and a half-month-old puppy. She sat in my lap the entire time, with her head on a pillow, being what I would consider an exceptionally good puppy. Of course, she took that opportunity to charm the heck out of everyone in the salon, and as we left, we were told that she was welcome back any time! Good puppy! Have I mentioned yet how in love I am with this boxer?

As Jazzy and walked back to the car, I felt lighter. I felt better. For the first time in months, I felt like myself. I realized that those who love me, love me because of who I am as a person, and they could care less how much hair I have. While my family does not really have any say in "choosing me" so to speak, my friends have chosen to be my friends. I like to think it is because I am caring, funny, witty and a ton of fun to be around: long hair or short hair.

Shame on a society or any person that makes anyone feel like any less of a person because of "hair". I did not chose cancer and I most definitely did not chose to lose all of my hair. For some of us, it is a life-saving necessity. It made me think later that night when I saw a commercial for "It's a 10" hair products. The women in the commercial all had long, flowing hair and they were boasting about how they proudly support breast cancer research. Perhaps they could chose better when they select their models for their commercials because women who have endured breast cancer, for at least a little while; have short hair.

I have news for you Loreal, Nexxus, Revlon and all of the other "hair product" companies out there, there are a lot of gorgeous women running around out there with short hair. Look at Faith Hill or Halle Berry just to name a few.  Both of these women have been blessed to be noted as the world's most beautiful women. And just for the record, even though my hair is short, I still use shampoo and condition, gel, and leave-in conditioners are my friend, and hair spray flies in my bathroom every single morning. You are seriously missing a whole market... Just sayin'!

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