I’ve struggled with several health issues over the years. Nothing too severe or life threatening. Just problems bad enough to make me feel like a total crazy hypochondriac…or bad enough to help me learn that I am not my body. It all depends on which self I decide to be when I look at it.
One of my issues is hair loss. I have been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease alopecia areata.
Here’s a picture of my hair six or seven years ago.
It seemed I was going to have to make a decision about how I was going to handle this. Was I going to wrap my head in a scarf…or shave my scalp bald? Maybe I could be like Diane Keaton and start a great hat collection. Beyonce wears a wig really well. Maybe I could check out the wig scene.
I asked my closest friend about my hair. Is it as bad as I think it is? She replied that yes, it was time to make a hair move. So I got some scarves, bought some hats and decided to head to some wig stores to try out my options. (Wasn’t quite yet bold enough to take a razor to my scalp.)
Here’s the first wig I ever tried on.
The sales lady at this high end wig store said it was real red hair cut from the head of a woman living in rural Ireland. I don’t know if that was true, but it was selling for $5000. Although I loved it, it seemed that real hair wigs were far outside my price range. On to the next store. The next few wigs I tried on made me laugh so hard I cried, or ugly cry so hard I laughed…I’m not sure which.
I was starting to give up on the wig idea when I ordered a couple of them on line for $100 a piece…and ended up with one that looked like it might work.
I started watching hours of you tube videos on how to make the synthetic hair more realistic looking and blend in better with your own hairline, and I eventually started venturing out with my new do. Not all the time…I never wore it to work….just when I was going out on the town and wanted to feel a little more sassy.
Not bad, right?
Maybe I would become a wig person. But after a few months, summer hit in Los Angeles, where we lived at the time. And when it gets above 85 degrees, it gets mighty hard to keep a wig on your head. On a total whim one hot day, I just went into the bathroom and cut off my own hair. (I had become tired of hairstylists commenting on my hair’s ill health and their attempts to sell me hair products they promised would fix it).
Cutting it short actually did make it look fuller since my hair barely grows anymore and the last five inches had become super thin and straggly looking. The natural poof and wave in my hair was no longer weighed down by length was able to hide how thin it actually was.
Learning to love my body, whether or not it has hair on it has been a huge growing process. But I have learned…I am not my hair. Hair is an accessory we have (or don’t have) in this earthly life. If we have it, (or not)…it shouldn’t change how we feel about ourselves at our core. Losing my locks caused me to learn to love myself deeper. More unconditionally. More wholeheartedly.
Loving myself more fully has taken me on a deep healing journey. So much has changed since I started losing handfuls of hair 10 years ago. I value and understand healthy living on a whole different level than I used to. I used to commute hours a day in bad Los Angeles traffic. I worked over 40 hours a week while trying to raise children.
Life in Homer, Alaska where I live now is much slower paced. Life in LA was always so complicated. Just getting up, getting the kids to school and getting to work on time took immense amounts of effort. I was worn out before my work day even started. Now I crave simplicity. I am so much more aware of the negative effects stress has on my body, and I do everything in my power to avoid any stress.
I am able to focus so much more attention on what I put in and on my body. It is so lovely to live in an area where I know my local farmers and how they grow and raise their food and animals. I feel so grateful to have well water to wash my hair with that hasn’t been treated with harsh chemicals.