Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Am Not My Hair

Posted Nov 1, 2008 6:30pm

A salesman is lost in a rural area and stops at a farm to get directions. As he is talking to the farmer he notices a pig with a wooden leg. "How did the pig get a wooden leg?" he asks the farmer.

"Well", says the farmer, "that is a very special pig. One night not too long ago we had a fire start in the barn. That pig set up a squealing that woke everyone, and by the time we got there he had herded all the other animals out of the barn and saved every one of them."

"And that was when he hurt his leg?" asked the salesman.

"Oh no" says the farmer. "He was fine after that. Though a while later I was in the woods out back and a bear attacked me. Well, sir, that pig was near by and he came running and set on that bear and chased him off. Saved me for sure."

"So the bear injured his leg then," says the salesman.

"Oh no. He came away without a scratch from that. Though a few days later my tractor turned over in a ditch and I was knocked unconscious. Well, that pig dove into the ditch and pulled me out before I drowned."

"So he hurt his leg then?" asks the salesman.

"Oh no," says the farmer.

"So how did he get the wooden leg?" the salesman asks.

"Well", the farmer tells him, "When you have a pig like that, you don't want to eat him all at once."

And when you are as attached to your hair as I am, you don’t want to cut it all at once. Monday morning I was looking out my bathroom window and noticed a few leaves had fallen from my fig tree. Uh oh… I had my normal energy back, so I put in a full day at work, stayed late to finish up the billing, did some grocery shopping, and came home with energy to spare. After dinner, I was lounging on the couch talking to Dave, and ran my fingers through my hair. I felt a little “snap” like when you pull a hair, but there was no physical sensation, except the tickle of a couple of hairs between my fingers. Uh oh…

Tuesday I washed it gently, and noticed there was more hair on the bathroom floor than usual after blowdrying it. That was the last day of my hair as I have known it. I wore it up in a clip for safekeeping, but when I tugged on a few stray hairs that had dangled to the back of my neck from the clip, I was able to discard most of those. There was no doubt that the process had begun. That night I showed Dave my new trick and he felt worse than I did. At that point I became more fascinated by the process than upset. I had been telling him that my roots were showing, and if my hair was going to stay much longer I'd better color it. Guess that problem is solved!!

So I decided I might as well make this fun. I tied back my hair, Dave took a picture, and I sent it to a whole bunch of friends with a request to help me decorate my head! (If you didn’t receive one and would like to play, just email me!)

I don't know if I got all my anxiety out of the way worrying about it earlier, or if it hasn't hit me yet, but right now it doesn't bother me & I'm curious to see what the process is going to be like. If nothing else, it is incredibly messy. I’ve tried wearing those little hair-catching caps to bed, but they pull off as soon as I turn over, and there is hair everywhere. One of my friends described it as “falling like autumn leaves,” and that is certainly an accurate metaphor. I either had to cut it or drag out a blower and a rake.

So Thursday morning I cut off about 6”. I tied the locks with a ribbon and saved them with the first yellow fig leaf to fall from my tree, and a beautiful red and yellow leaf from my maple. I look like the old photo on my website, so it wasn’t much of a shock. From this point on, we’re going for the ‘do of the day! On Friday I took advantage of Halloween & the rain and wrapped my head with my long, fringe-y burnt orange scarf. The explanation I use with the patients that don't know about this situation is that my hair is out of control in damp weather & I would rather wear a scarf, and they just love it :>)

Several times last night I woke with flying hair tickling my face, crawling down my back when I got up to go to the bathroom, leaving a trail on the tile. So this morning I cut it even shorter, and I had to laugh at the lack of control I had over it. Every time I would pull a section to cut, long strands would just loosen & fall, so I was never sure if what I cut was attached or not. Or if it would attached much longer. What a mess! Where’s a Flowbee when you need one? I swept everything into a paper bag, in the spring I’ll scatter it in my garden for the birds to use in their nests. It’s like the opposite of scattering my own ashes, a way to celebrate my life and share it with the other living critters that share the property.

Before taking a shower, I wanted to treat myself to the Miracle Whip facial that Lori-with-the-gorgeous-skin has been telling me about. I am not making this up. Her dermatologist was amazed that her skin has absolutely no sun damage, despite the same ritual of baby oil and iodine sun worship we all succumbed to in the ’60’s. You spread a thin layer of Miracle Whip on clean skin, wait a couple of minutes, and then rub gently. Off comes the old, dead skin! My skin is absolutely glowing. The only drawback is that I smell like a sandwich. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I may not repeat the process tomorrow, when my hair is really short. Looking like a glowing Chia pet that smells like a deli delight could just be the thing that sends me over the edge.

Tomorrow (if there’s anything left) we’re going for the spikey ‘do, but who knows? Stay tuned.

Here’s an exerpt from wonderful song by India.arie:

I Am Not My Hair

Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter
At fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and went all natural
February two thousand and two
I went and did
What I had to do
Because it was time to change my life
To become the women that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlock all gone
I looked in the mirror
For the first time and saw that HEY....

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?
Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend?
Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?
I am expressing my creativity..

Breast Cancer and Chemotherapy
Took away her crown and glory
She promised God if she was to survive
She would enjoy everyday of her life ooh
On national television
Her diamond eyes are sparkling
Bald headed like a full moon shining
Singing out to the whole wide world like HEY...
india.arie “I am not my hair:

If I wanna shave it close
Or if I wanna rock locks
That don't take a bit away
From the soul that I got

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