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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
I feel like it shouldn't matter that I've lost half my hair. I feel… 
3rd-Dec-2009 08:22 am
I feel like it shouldn't matter that I've lost half my hair. I feel like feeling wounded over this is a vanity thing that I should be able to suck up and get over.

But it matters. Because, as I posted not long ago, my hair is a big part of my identity, and it's one of my favorite parts of me.

35 pounds down in a few months = losing half my hair. And when I realized how fast I was losing weight again, I tried hard to slow it down, but to no avail.

My hair goes in layers from the bottom of my bra strap to midback. When I get my first paycheck, it will be cut to maybe shoulder-length, so when it grows back it won't be all thick on top and thin in the middle and ends. And, like in 2003-4 when this first happened, I will spend some time not looking like myself.

I wish I didn't find that quite so unsettling.
3rd-Dec-2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
I hear ya. Not on the loss, so much, but on the hair=identity thing.
3rd-Dec-2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
My hair is immensely thinner than it was when I was younger, and it matters, and it makes me sad. This icon might give you some idea.

So, yeah, I understand too well how much it matters, and I don't blame you for feeling this way at all!
3rd-Dec-2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
Hair is a huge, huge part of identity. It took me six months to get up the nerve to cut my hair from butt-length to chin, and I physically had to do that because I couldn't take care of it anymore. And it really was a transformational thing - I wasn't the same person inside after the accident, and cutting my hair was the external recognition of that. It didn't take me as long as I thought it would to get used to it, and now I love it, but damn it was *hard*.

So yeah, I get it. It's not vanity, especially when the change is being effectively forced on you by medical crap. It's like all the clothes in your closet suddenly transmute to pink frippery with rhinestones.

I'm babbling. Too early for commenting. Hi.
3rd-Dec-2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
So yeah, I get it. It's not vanity, especially when the change is being effectively forced on you by medical crap

3rd-Dec-2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
Mine used to be butt-length as well, and it really doesn't look good shorter than shoulder-length. It's been a part of my identity. I'd always been the "flower child" throwback, the gypsy, the free spirit. I like having it long enough to braid. A good barometer for my mood is the length of my hair: if it's short, I'm depressed. The longer it is, the better I feel. After a traumatic event, I cut it chin-length and hated it, but it matched how I was feeling inside, ugly, invisible and angry. I don't ever want to return to that emotional place.
3rd-Dec-2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
I totally understand where you are coming from. I am losing hair in almost-clumps. :P
3rd-Dec-2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Is the weight loss due to the gluten intolerance?

I feel you though. I thought my weight loss would stop after I discovered the dairy intolerance but it must be something else on top of it because I keep losing. Down 20 lbs, and now I'm barely 115 for 5'10. And while that has always been more or less the case, I liked being pretty in the face.
3rd-Dec-2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
It probably is, and I think I've almost stabilized. Still. :(
3rd-Dec-2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
*nods* I know what you mean. I'd like to get tested for gluten intolerance myself, but I don't know if I could give it up too - after coffee, alcohol, dairy and avoiding sugar I need something!
3rd-Dec-2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
(And this icon just doesn't look much like me at all anymore.)
3rd-Dec-2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I know that feeling. Going to short hair after long for so long was not a happy thought. But with my hair constantly coming out in clumps with no projected end in sight (yay medication :P), I didn't see an alternative. So I decided to make it a *really* good cut.

I've been going to the same stylist (as in, if she's not there, I won't get my hair cut that day) for a while, and so every 2 months, I go in and tell her to "have fun". Not that you'll be *keeping* yours short - but if you have a stylist that you trust who knows your hair really well, s/he should be able to create a cut that will suit you well both face and personality.

My cut last night? Best yet!
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Dec-2009 02:27 pm (UTC) - I will re-recommend my hair guys
I think you'd get along well with them and they know how to treat people who like their long hair.

14A Elliot St
Harvard Sq

Tell them I sent you.
3rd-Dec-2009 05:13 pm (UTC) - Re: I will re-recommend my hair guys
Tried 'em once; they fail at curly hair!
3rd-Dec-2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
This happened to me too. (Er...is happening. But saying that is even worse.) It's awful. I'm sorry. Don't beat yourself up over the fact that something painful and difficult is hurting you.
3rd-Dec-2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
*empathizes* My hair started falling out while I was depressed, and it's still much thinner than it had been. Plus, my weight has been fluctuating. I need a different sort of cut for now, because the less thick my hair is, the fatter my face looks. I can't cut it too short if I want to cover up the scar on my neck. I might go today to the hairdresser around the corner, but I really don't have the time.

Anyway, yeah; it isn't about vanity, it really is about not being "you" anymore, at least on the outside.
3rd-Dec-2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
Oh honey I'm so sorry. I have a hard time seeing you with short hair, although I'm sure it will look fabulous on you, I get the whole hair=identity thing. I'm sorry this is being forced on you.
(Deleted comment)
3rd-Dec-2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
What, you lost 35 pounds since I last saw you? That doesn't sound good at all, given that you've never been very large to begin with. Hope you can get some of the hair and some of the weight back.
3rd-Dec-2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Bite your tongue. I still need to lose about 10 pounds!
3rd-Dec-2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Maybe try shortening it a little at a time, to get used to the shorter length? You know, take off an inch a week (someone handy with scissors but not necessarily a stylist per se), and then when you're close to shoulder-length, go to the stylist.

I know precisely what you mean about your hair, and I know why it's so important to you. It's hard to look at yourself in the mirror and it's not what you expect. But just keep focusing on that it's a temporary thing, and that it *will* grow back.

PS, unrelated to this: Elayna was in my dream last night. Tell her not to drive any red Mazda Miatas, okay? :)
3rd-Dec-2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
In a way, I very much understand this.
I have a birthmark on my left shoulder that is over an inch in diameter, dark (I'm quite pale), raised, wrinkled and has odd edges. This description is also a list of "What to look for: this may be cancer". But throughout my childhood, I was teased about it so much. ("Is that $hit on your back?") It took me a looong time to incorporate this birthmark into my image of myself; to make it a part of who I am. So much so that I don't want it removed. I *have* spoken to my general practice doc about it - as it doesn't *change* size or shape except as my body changes with weight and hormones, she's allowed me to keep an eye on it with her.
But I'm aware the day may come when I have to have it removed. The adjustment to that will be terrifying.
Good luck on your journey.
3rd-Dec-2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
*hugs and much sympathy*

I think I've seen you rockin' the bandana look successfully, we can do it together. :)
3rd-Dec-2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Speaking as someone who shaved her head last night...

Hair is a particularly powerful thing, even outside vanity, as it is part of our face. We humans tie a lot of our social interaction to facial expressions, and hair is a part of all that.

Believe me, I get it.

I've shaved my head three or four times in my life, partly as a way to sever myself from my image. It's not that I dislike how I look or how I think I look. It's just that I have a personal philosophy that you should occasionally fuck shit up, just to get a fresh perspective. Shaving my head is an absurdly easy way for me to do that.

Also, I used to have hair-model hair. Perfectly straight, shiny, chestnut hair that fell past my waist. I had it for 23 years. I cut it all off one day so I could spend a month in the Arctic doing biology research. In fact, the hair I cut off paid for much of my camping equipment.

I've never looked back -- having short hair suited my face and my lifestyle far better than the long hair ever did. But would I have discovered that if I hadn't cut it all off? Possibly not.

I'm not saying you should shave your head or cut your hair short or anything. I'm just saying that perhaps this is an opportunity of some sort.

Edited at 2009-12-03 05:18 pm (UTC)
3rd-Dec-2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
*nods* I have had it short before, and it really, really does not suit my face at all. :(
3rd-Dec-2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
It is coincidental that you wrote this, as I was thinking on this very same subject last night as I watched my hubby get his hair cut.

Being a natural redhead I've always had attention (not always positive) paid to me about my hair. When I was little it was uber-long, almost down to my waist. I cut it into a pixy style (early act of rebellion?) when I was in 7th grade, but then let it grow out again. It was always easy to do that - just let it grow. I had it down to my below bra-strap level for forever.

Then I started having girly issues (endo, fibroids, etc.) and it seemed like my hair wasn't growing like it used to. I had to have a partial-hysto at 30, after being married to my ex for only 4 months, I went to my hairdresser and told her to cut it off. She wouldn't do it. I told her that I'd rather have her do it, but if she didn't, I'd go someplace else. I cut it into a pixy cut again. In retrospect, I think it was an act of mourning. I felt like I was losing part of my femininity by losing the baby baking equipment. : /

After several years, and after the ex moving back to Chicago, I tried letting it grow again. It grew, but sooooo slowly and the color wasn't as vibrant as it used to be. It was a symptom of the hypothyroidism that was as of yet undiagnosed. It is still falling out way more than I'm comfortable with, but that's part of the medication fiddling I suppose. But it is unbelievably disheartening to see something I liked about myself and was part of my identity in the bath drain, the hairbrush, my coat...like yet again my body is betraying me.

I think we are supposed to take this and digest it and use it to rise above that ego-drive of self-identity...does that make sense? We don't lose who we are if our physical image changes...we're more than that. You're your words, your experiences, your choices.

Hopefully, you'll get the medical issues settled down and your body can put more towards your tresses and less fighting what you're dealing with right now.

3rd-Dec-2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Speaking for my best friend, who has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last six years, I would humbly suggest a slight paradigm shift. You could try being grateful for the fact that you do, in fact, have hair. Wigs are such a pain, especially here in South Florida.

Just sayin'...
3rd-Dec-2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
-hugs lots- I hear you on the hair thing. I have hereditary female baldness and it's so upsetting, because my hair is the one thing I like about myself. And I'm slowly losing it. :/
3rd-Dec-2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
I think I look awful with short hair (although its texture means it also can't be terribly long; what I have now is perfect.) I also very strongly identify as a blonde. I've experimented with almost every color imaginable but I always go back to blonde, because I am not me as, say, a brunette or a redhead. (I do all right with pink hair, though.)
3rd-Dec-2009 08:13 pm (UTC) - Self-image is an odd thing.
*nod* I've found having recently shaved off my beard that the difference is striking enough to be dissonant... for the most part feedback has been positive on it, but it's just not quite *me* that I see in pictures and reflections now, so I'm growing it back.
3rd-Dec-2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
It absolutely is unsettling. Thanks to the Topamax I just chopped my hair back to just below my ears (from around my shoulders) since it just looks straggly and wrong any longer than that now. And I have to go to the expensive salon because they understand that my 'thick hair' is actually much thinner than it used to be and can take care if it properly. Curly does not equal thick when you get handfuls of hair in the shower and when trying to style your hair every morning. My hair is too weak to hold a solid curl any longer than it currently is now. And I used to have it all the way down my back. And even now- I startle myself in the mirror. There is this stranger looking back at me. Not unattractive, but not me exactly.

So, yes- you have every right to be unsettled.
3rd-Dec-2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
As a transwoman I know what it is like not to look like yourself. I feel for you, and hope you get back to "yourself" as soon as possible.
4th-Dec-2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Oh, I sympathize ENTIRELY. With my recent hair woes, you have extra fresh recent sympathy. I have heard that vitamins help it grow thicker/better/stronger, but I have not found that to be the case myself. Hopefully yours comes in just the way you want it. [hugs]
4th-Dec-2009 03:27 am (UTC)
*hugs* (sadly in lieu of any actual useful advice or insight.)
4th-Dec-2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
The two things I like most about my appearance are my smile and my hair. Sorry to learn you have been experiencing hair loss too. I've been on warfarin for nearly six months after having a blood clot in my left leg, and my hair has really thinned out, which freaks me out. I can't run my hands through my hair without coming away with a lot of hair.
6th-Dec-2009 06:22 am (UTC)
*gentle hugs*

I wish there was something I could do to make things Okay.
12th-Dec-2009 04:41 am (UTC)
I'm actually surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but the fact you're losing so much hair all of a sudden is not just an appearance issue, it's a medical issue. That should not be happening. I'm no health professional, but I know I've read before that that is an indication of something wrong with your body. I believe it sometimes happens when you're lacking certain vitamins or minerals (though I don't remember which ones). A problem like that could be caused by one or more of your medications. You've talked to your doctor about this issue, right? I apologize if I'm rehashing stuff you already know, but I'm concerned, and I'm not always able to keep up with livejournal these days.
12th-Dec-2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Already discussed that extensively in previous posts, is why no one's mentioned it here... it's a side effect of the rapid weight loss I had coming off Lyrica.
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