Surrendering your hair and loving yourself moreSep 28, 2022
The wastebasket next to the bathroom vanity was gaining more of my hair each passing day. "That seems like a lot of hair today", I whispered faintly. As my stomach clenched with each look in the mirror, as I desperately pat the sections of hair left hoping no more will fall out, as the fear begins to creep in and hisses in the background that people will stare or judge my appearance, as I literally lose a physical part of me... control, confidence and calm wither too.
My daughter anticipated how hard it would be to watch me lose my hair, making this all so real. She suggested that I try an interim step by going with a shorter bob as my hair thinned. I have always had long hair, so this was a definite shift, but a great time to take that risk and also a little fun.
When the day came that I needed to shave what hair was left, my daughter again came with me to my appointment. My trusted friend - "Hair Mary" as I lovingly called her... would gently help me surrender my hair when the time came... and we decided to take pictures with various mohawk, combovers and fun shorter and shorter styles until we got down to the final step of shaving it all off. I was grateful for any lightness we could bring to this day in pictures and creativity, as the heartache was also real and heavy.
Part of my healing journey included learning to hold love and self-compassion for how I looked in this stage. I spent a lot of energy fearing the loss of my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes... and once it was all gone... I realized that how I looked wasn't everything...I was still beautiful and worthy of this precious life I had. I was remembering my story, my identity, my strengths and all of the things I loved. None of it had to do with my hair. While I did try different wigs and hats... I was slowly embracing going completely natural when in company of family or close friends. I was grateful for Minnesota winters and being able to wear my Love Your Melon hats when I went out for appointments - and occasionally a wig under a hat to keep aligned with how I used to look before cancer.
It takes daily practice to love yourself when going through big changes that you have no choice over. I found a few things that helped me during this time...
- reminding myself "this is only temporary"
- finding comfort in a cozy space, lighting a favorite scented candle and listening to inspiring music
- experimenting with different wigs, hats, makeup and earrings
- meditating and journaling
- challenging and flipping fearful thoughts to more loving variations
I hope your list of ideas is growing to overcoming the challenges you may face right now. If you are in a breast cancer journey and would love some more tools, ideas or connection... check out what LoveME Healing offers here.