Lately I’ve been mostly reminiscing or ranting, but today I’m thinking about something that has the potential to affect the mental and physical well-being of almost everyone: good hair days. I have lots of good hair days, unlike some people I know. Make that many people I know, men and women alike, who are completely obsessed by their hair.
There have been times in my life when I’ve been obsessed with hair, too–but this is not one of them. I’m only thinking about hair because of meeting Arianna Huffington this week.
I don’t know how Arianna felt, but for me, that was a pretty good hair day. Arianna didn’t mention anything about my hair, but other people did, who saw the picture and noticed how LONG my hair is. Even my daughter Alli called from Texas, wondering if I had gotten extensions.
The hair is all mine. And according to those who know these things, my hair is very very age-inappropriate. This much hair was maybe age-appropriate the last time it was this long.
Which was in 1995. When this picture was taken. I was actually sitting in a hair salon and a stylist was about to do my hair–but this was NOT a good hair day.
5 minutes after this picture was taken, the stylist cut off my long hair.
I didn’t cut my hair to be stylish or to play a part in a movie or something. I cut off my hair to make a wig out of it. Because I was starting chemotherapy.
I wasn’t one of those brave women who get a crewcut or buzz it off ahead of time. I wasn’t brave at all about losing my hair and I had no intention of losing it a moment sooner than I had to.
A few weeks later, my new short style didn’t look so cute. This was definitely NOT a good hair day. More of my hair was in my hand than on my head. And what was left on my head was just resting there. Like a welcome mat. It also felt like a welcome mat—with the same rough texture, thanks to a few weeks of chemo. I didn’t care– and still had desperate fantasies of salvaging some of it. Even though by the time of this picture, I had stopped trying to do anything with my hair. I didn’t wash it; I didn’t comb it. Every time I even touched it, more came off.
The day after this was taken, the rest of my hair kind of slid off my head. I can’t show you a picture of how I looked completely bald– because I don’t have any. In order to have a picture, someone would have to take it, and no one could take it because I never let anyone see me bald. Not my husband. Not my children. I saw myself bald but only when I had to. I could barely stand to look in the mirror.
I wore wigs and hats and scarves. And my hair did grow back. Even though at the beginning it was really curly and short, and my husband V. said I looked like George Clooney.
I could live with that. I like George Clooney.
And having my hair look like George Clooney’s hair meant a good hair day. Because ever since I was bald, every day is a good hair day. A great hair day. And I am lucky enough to have had continuously great hair days for the past 13 years.
And now whether it’s age-inappropriate or not, there’s a reason my hair is almost as long as it was 13 years ago. Because someday in the future I am going to sit in a chair in a hair salon and have a stylist cut it off again. Only this time I won’t be making a wig for me. I’ll be donating my hair to Locks of Love to make a wig for someone else . And I have a feeling that is going to be the best hair day I’ve ever had.