Back in March of 2020, I started working from home. You all know the story of the pandemic, so I’m not going to rehash it here. Suffice it to say that my hair was not exactly my top concern. I decided to let it grow.
As it progressed, I had it dyed and trimmed periodically, seeing my stylist as the pandemic safety protocols allowed. Eventually it was past my ears. Then it became jaw length. Finally the day came when I was able to put it up. (I had to buy myself elastics and a brush and everything!)
Since I have enough hair, I have become a fan of ponytails, headbands and, my personal favorite; adorable wee little space buns. It’s been a big change for me. Up until recently, I’ve pretty much always had short hair.
My sister, on the other hand, has had long, beautiful, dark red hair for a long time. It is very feminine, it suits her well, and I haven’t seen Alli truly chop her hair short in maybe…ever? I mean, would ya just look at that hair?
Hair can be a powerful signifier for who we are as a person. How we choose to wear our hair can be deeply linked to our perception of ourselves.
Which is why it can suck so much when cancer patients lose their hair.
The doctors told mom that she would most-likely lose hers. She didn’t relish the idea of experiencing her hair falling out, so she decided to go ahead and just shave it. She decided that she wanted to lose her hair on her own terms.
So, the three of us went to our favourite salon to see longtime family friend and hairstylist Trish Molloy to have her shave mom’s head. Trish also dyed, cut and styled mom’s new wig.
All the same, we know that bald is not a look my mom would have gone for ordinarily. My sister and I were afraid she’d find it hard. Seeing herself bald might come as a shock. Maybe make her feel more like a “cancer patient.”
Well screw that. More like, “Cancer patient, but make it fashion!” We decided not to let her do it alone. (What, you think I’d let her have all of those “Borg queen” vibes herself?)
When she looks in the mirror, she might be reminded of the disease. But she can also be reminded of this moment; and that she’s not alone.
(To me, we either look very punk rock, or like a modern version of Macbeth’s 3 witches.)
Mom had her first round of chemo Friday. One round down, five more to go!
Onwards and upwards!