I have this thing about my hair. When I was in my twenties, my straight hair went down to my butt. It was so long, I had to braid it at night, otherwise I pulled it in my sleep. I thought several times about cutting it, but I felt that I “needed” my hair for some reason. To hide behind? Because I thought it made me beautiful? I don’t really know why.
Then I went through a period where I was going to beauty shops and getting it styled. I’d walk in and tell the beautician “I pay you for your expertise, not to tell you what I want, so analyze my face and figure out what would look nice on me and do it.” If I didn’t pay $150 for some fancy do, I’d feel like it wasn’t enough. Some do’s turned out silly looking, some were pretty nice. However they turned out, I accepted my different looks without much thought.
Then the big C came and I began to find hair all over the place as it shed. Hubby cried the night I locked myself in the bathroom and sat on the bathtub, pulling it all out. After I was done, I looked at the wad of hair in the trash can and said good bye to it. That person was gone forever and a new person was born out of that nest — what they call a “cancer survivor”.
I was ashamed of my baldness for a long time. Wigs scratched my head, though, and scarves were a pain to tie properly. I bought an armload of caps so I’d never have to show the world my bald head.
But a year is a long time when you’re occupied with constantly being god-awful sick and then flying high through the clouds on the good days. Eventually I used my caps mostly to keep my head warm and didn’t bother with them when I left home on hot days.
There’s a sort of power that you have when you go out in public bald. What I saw in people wasn’t disgust, what I saw was fear of death. It made me bold and proud of my baldness. When someone stared at me, I turned to smile at them as though nothing were unusual, and they’d look away, embarrassed. I felt empowered by the knowledge that death was my companion.
After my treatments, I went back to work. My hair grew back, but I was a different person than before my cancer. Death would be my companion for life, I discovered. For the longest time I kept my hair cut close to my head, knowing I could never have that same pre-cancer innocence again. I’d let it grow for a while, but whenever I got overstressed I would want my hair gone and I’d cut it back again.
Now I’m retired. I go to the local barber and keep my hair cut short for $10. Just like me, it has no sense of style or discipline. It just sits on top of my head, sticking out like patches of wild grass. This is my perfect.
Write about a time you had a Goldilocks experience, exploring different choices and finally arriving at “just right.”