Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Bald Birthday To Me

Today is my 55th birthday. Today I am bald.

In some ways today is the final step or the first step in publicly having breast cancer. What a mind blower. I am sitting here watching "The Young Victoria" (she has a lot of hair) with a little turban number on my head. Who would have ever thought?

I had to stay home from work today. I just couldn't stop the waterworks when I realized I had to make an appointment to have my hair buzzed. I mean, I had the new wig and the bag of scarves and the whole deal. Theoretically, I was prepared. But trust me, I'm not sure you can ever be prepared for having handfuls of your hair fall out. It's pretty weird shit. It starts getting all over the place and suddenly you become afraid of your brush. A good friend of mine said, "Being positive is good, but some things just suck." This just sucks.

I had my hair buzzed at a local Aveda salon -- by the same stylist who had done the last cut and color on me (Ashley). I really didn't know what to expect but at least had the presence of mind to ask if they could cut my hair in a more private setting (Ashley's styling station is literally situated next to the floor-to-ceiling windows of the salon entrance. This is really quibbling considering that the entire salon is glass and mirrors surrounded by beautiful 20-year olds with perfect hair). In any case, they assured me that they could accommodate my request for privacy, and Ashley arranged to see me the same day to cut my hair.

Considering my state of mind and how I felt about having my head shaved, I guess I expected that Ashley would drag me into a bathroom and just "go for it". But it was so much more than that. I have to say that everyone --from the appointment scheduler to the guest services people-- were so kind. And Ashley gets to be at the top of that list. They may have been 20 and beautiful, but they totally "got it". When it was time for the big moment, Ashley insisted on giving me the royal treatment: she gave me a shoulder massage, shampooed my hair and took me back to a large, private "styling bathroom" complete with a shower and a tufted, red velvet bench. She asked me to sit on the bench facing away from the mirror because "the electrical outlet is on the other side". If this was a lie, it was one that I appreciated as I really wasn't up to watching the identity I had carried around for 55 years slide down my shoulders strand by strand. I just didn't think I was up to that.

During the hair buzzing "ceremony"Ashley and I made small talk and laughed a lot. I told her that my ex-husband thought I should have some Valium on hand (for hair cutting emergencies like this one), but I suspected that he really just wanted me to get it so he could borrrow some. We also figured out that neither one of us had done this before and I told her that this could mean a new business opportunity for her -- although maybe more of a "long term" opportunity in terms of adding to her clients.

When she was done, she helped me with my wig and styled it. And thankfully, I never had to look in the mirror at myself until I was all put together. This may sound a little psychotic, but honestly -- I was just not ready for that. I knew I would be eventually. But that day, I was just trying to keep all the pieces together. No need for self-actualization or "truth" on that day. No need to see if I look more like the female version of Mr. Clean or Howie Mandel on that day. I guess I figured there's nothing like a little healthy dose of denial if it helps get you through. Besides, I didn't have any Valium. Not yet anyway.

Next: Coping With Bald (and much more information you never wanted to know...)

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who has recently gone bald, too. You know how she got through? She made up for it by treating herself to a whole set of Estetica wigs. It didn't make her forget that she was bald, but it made her realize that she didn't have to feel bad about it. Maybe you should think that way too, Denine.