The Day I Lost My Hair Usually when we talk about hair loss, it’s when the hair was still wanted and the loss was out of our control. But few people realize that some of us want to lose our hair, and that there is even a huge relief that comes with it.
All my childhood I had long hair. My mother would wash and brush it for me regularly, and all of my classmates would comment on it positively. Complete strangers that I never met before would comment on it, usually implying that they were jealous of it. I was at a knowledge bowl tournament once and had a random teacher say that she “coveted” my long, straight hair. The color is a deep, golden brown that shines in sunlight, so when I had a lot of it, I guess other people thought it was really beautiful.
My hair became an intrinsic part of my identity. Jokers would pick up scissors and claim they were going to cut it. Even though I knew they were joking, the thought of someone cutting off my hair sent me into terrible anxiety attacks. What was I without my hair? It was my defining physical feature. I don’t have a striking face, I don’t wear make-up, and when I was a kid I don’t have the curves that I do now as an adult. My hair was the only thing making me stand out in a crowd.
Then I went to college. People there also commented on my hair, which was regularly to my rear. (I would know it was time for a trim when I was starting to sit on my hair.) After a while, I began to think of my hair as a nuisance: combing it after a wash was the worst, it was always tangling, and instead of seeing it as a part of “me” I began to see it as a needless extension. You see, in college I had began to define myself by other things, most of them mental and emotional.
My hair became unnecessary.
I experimented with short wigs to make sure that I liked the feel and look of short hair. The wigs were a hit with everyone I knew. Soon I started to seriously contemplate not only cutting off my locks but giving myself a pixie cut – go big or go home. When I told my mother, she said I could do what I wanted since it was my hair, but she made it clear she was disappointed.
Still, I went to the hairdresser’s.
That day was both nerve wracking and exciting. I figured if I hated it, I could always grow it out again. But when the hairdresser put my hair in a pony tail and got out the scissors, I knew it was really happening.
And I haven’t looked back since.
That was four years ago. In that time I haven’t let my hair grow past my ears without cutting it again. I feel more free than ever before since losing my hair. I no longer have to worry about brushing it, having people grab it, or having it get in the way when I am outside. I hope I never lose all of my hair, but for now, I can’t imagine a life with more.