Non-newbies will know that, when I had my catastrophic (35 pounds in, what, 3 months?) med-related weight loss in late 2003/early 2004, my hair fell out. Not all of it - but about half.
My hair has always been my self-defining feature. I'm not a big fan of my body overall - but I have always liked my hair. It is/was long, wavycurly, and thick.
Not so thick anymore, which was traumatic enough. I cried when I realized just how much hair I'd lost. I felt it as it'd happened, of course, but intermittent handfuls feel different from ponytailing your hair and realizing that that ponytail is skinnier than the stealth pigtails you used to wear. (Those old-timers who wonder why I no longer do stealth pigtails? That's why. Not enough hair anymore.)
And not so long - which was the end result of dying it red a lot; the dyed parts weren't healthy, so I was gradually cutting them off as new healthy hair grew. This tactic dated from before the weight loss, so the length was still about the same, near-waist-length, when I started losing.
For my wedding, I had my hairstylist in Florida cut all of the unhealthy hair off. Which made my hair about the length it was in the icon, little tiny bit shorter. Which was - aaagh! Not me. Didn't feel like me. Worse, she put layers in, so I couldn't braid it neatly anymore. But at least the crunchy bits were gone.
I don't get my hair cut often, because I like it long. It just needs a trim every six months or so to ward off split ends. But since I was going to be in Florida, my mom booked me with my regular hairstylist.
Kim: "So what are we doing today?"
Me, saying the usual: "Just a trim. I'm growing it out."
Kim, eying me skeptically. "['song]... that's not going to work. The hair that you lost is growing back a little. If you grow the rest of your hair out, it's going to look like shit. You need to keep your hair short so that hair can catch up."
Me, blinking: "Um. I. ...how long do I need to keep it short?"
Kim, pulling lightly at new growth: "Maybe a couple of years. I'll layer your hair so the new hair blends. But it's going to take time. Maybe more than a few years."
And I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach; I literally veered close to panic. Control yourself. You're in a fucking hair salon. Your kid is just a few feet away. Breathe. Because it was hard to breathe. It hurt. Pretend you're okay. Don't cry. Breathe.
Because to people who don't Know me, or people who are indifferent towards their own hair, this sounds like eye-rollingly superficial shit, I know.
But long hair is my identity.
I have had short hair exactly three times in my life.
1. My mom had my hair Dorothy Hamilled in third grade, and I hated it.
2. I shaved one side of my head and dyed my hair purple my senior year in high school. In Utah.
3. When Elayna was an infant, she loved to stuff my hair in her mouth... yank on the hair, chew it, then release it, slapping me in the face with babydrool all. day. I chopped it. By the time it grew back, she was past that stage.
I hated it every time. The first and third times, I wept inconsolably.
I am not meant for short hair. Mom loves the way I look with short hair, sure. Adam likes short hair on girls.
But short hair is Not Me. It's like evil Mirror Universe me, Bizarro me. It is the Anti-Me.
My hair was my crowning glory.
And what that meant to me, sitting in my chair at the stylist's:
This is one more thing that epilepsy has stolen from me, perhaps forever.
It's not content to just take my mind.
It will even take everything about my body that I like.
Have I not given up enough?
Will it ever stop taking?
So. I have short hair. I have the hair-length depicted in this icon, little shorter. Hair that only just barely goes below my shoulders. And I can't grow it out. Not for years. It will be years and years before I get to look like myself again. If ever.
Take and take and take.
So. That is my entry about my hair.