I have lost over half of the hair on my head in the last two months. I recently cut Audrey Hepburn bangs because the front of my head legitimately has fifteen hairs sprouting and then it is covered by bangs. I never really thought much about my hair before (with the exception of the color). However, extreme medical issues have put my body through the ringer and along with my pretty, pretty stomach scars, my hair is in second place for taking abuse from the trauma.
Some days I can be an Amazonian warrior and wear my scars like a badge. Some days I can view my body like a road map and see the pride in my C-section, in the droop of my breasts from breast-feeding my child, in the pale stretch marks left on my stomach from creating and growing life. Some days I can look in the mirror and not give one iota of a fuck that I have lost a lot of hair on my head. I love those days. If I were talking to any other woman on the planet, I would preach body positivity. I would tell her how gorgeous she is because of the sum of her imperfections, as well as her attributes. But when it comes to myself? I can be a real bitch.
Truth be told, some days I am extremely self-conscious and I won’t look anyone in the eye. I want to curl up in my bed and cry and never leave the cocoon of safety. I know I am grieving the loss of a lot of time in my life that I was ill and recovering. I know I am grieving the woman who is lost forever; the riot gurrrl who wore feminism as a badge of honor and was almost always ready to kick ass and take names.
I want so badly to be able to age with grace and dignity and part of aging is accepting that medical issues happen. The older I get the more I realize how temporary everything is, including the way we look. The most I can hope for is to raise my own self-esteem and pass that on to my daughter. I don’t want her to be worrying about stomach bulges when she is 115 pounds soaking wet. I don’t want her to focus on the parts of herself she doesn’t like. I want more/better for her. Unfortunately, functioning as someone in acceptance and not in perfectionism and controlling behavior is far easier said than done. Thank God today I know I don’t have all the answers. Thank God today, I can focus on all the amazing things to be grateful for and not what I am missing.
I know, as humans, that we are rarely satisfied with where we are and what we have. That being said when we look back, everything is usually remembered in a much more rosy light than when we were living through it. Today, I know the truth. I know I need to suck every ounce of happiness out of this day and spread as much of it around as possible. It is real to me today that I am beyond lucky to still be alive in this world and able to function in a much more efficient way than I had the three plus years previously. Today, I hope that something I say reaches someone and makes their day just a little bit less heavy and dark.
I know right now that I resemble Homer Simpson much more than I would like to, but I also know when I am 80 I will look back, I will wonder why I cared so much about my hair and didn’t notice how young and vibrant I was. Today, I put faith in seeing the good and not the bad.