Today is the day – the day I discover whether I will be an ugly bald woman, or a badass bald woman, either way - I will be a BALD WOMAN! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared . . . AND, nervous, sad, mad, anxious etc. My hair stylist was on her way over to my house with her shaving tools and I was more than ready to get this fucking shit (a.k.a what use to be my hair, but now a toupee of my former mane) off my head. It was time to take control of this SHIT-u-ation. My hair didn't even feel like my hair anymore. I had been rolling around the house looking like, who shot John, for the past few days. To paint the picture, I had been in my usual uniform of, robe, caftan and fluffy socks, (of course) but have added new accessories, including sunglasses and a hair cap. The sunglasses were for blocking out the light. I do not know what is happening with my eyes but the glare from everything was killing me. It could be from the light in a room, the glare from the t.v. or even if the sunlight shone in through the blinds at the wrong angle, point being the sunglasses? SO necessary. The head cap was obvious, no? It was to catch the dead fucking hair. I was so terrified that I would start to see clumps of hair around the house, or on my pillow when I woke up in the morning that I decided to to contain it under this cap. Seemed logical to me. Corey had informed me I looked like a kid who had raided their parents closet, just missing the high heels. I let that slide.
I refused to let this day be as depressing as I had concocted in my head. Photos and video would be taking, (if only to remind myself of the day I had the biggest balls EVER), so I did what I knew to do. Look as hot as I could, (while feeling like shit). I put on my brightest red lip, gold eye shadow, and mascara. I was READY! Unfortunately by the time my hair stylist showed up I had lost all my energy, and fatigue had set in. This was the most movement I had mustered in the last 5 days. I laid on the couch while she set up and told my brother he was allocated to, videographer/photographer and Corey was on the ones and twos (a.k.a D.jaying tunes from his phone). But it was time. As I sat upright in the chair and Christine put the smock around me I started to panic a bit, FUCK I could feel the tears stinging my eyes coming and my heart racing. Christine had been doing my hair for the last 6 years and I felt we were pretty close, I mean she has been there for every major occasion to make me look fly, (she did my hair before jet setting out of town, important presentation, photo shoot, business meeting, hot date with the hubby, my wedding), she was my, I GOTTA LOOK FLY, right hand. But as she stood behind me I started thinking I wasn't sure how she would react to the hair, she had so carefully looked after for so long, falling out in chunks to reveal bald spots underneath. I felt extremely vulnerable and I didn't want show that side of me her (as vocal as I am now about what I am going through the tears are reserved for a select few). I was sure I was going to wail and sob and gather the hair around me and hum some negro spirituals . . . then I thought, OK ENOUGH OF THIS DRAMA!
Corey and my brother were kind of just standing in front of me with a these sort of sad, encouraging smiles and she hadn’t even started yet. So, I said, “Ok guys, STOP acting so weird, please, I need you to pretend this is normal day, Corey please put on my song, you know the one and Alero, get to snapping some pics, act normal, talk sports and Christine you do your thing." Everyone smiled and got to work. I choked back a few tears just in time for, "Bad and Boogie," to come blaring out of Corey's phone, (NO TEARS!). I closed my eyes and she got to work. I couldn't watch the hair falling around me for the first half hour. I just bopped my head and let it happen (for any of you who do not know my current theme song, Bad and Boujee, GET ON IT!). I told Corey to keep the tunes going, no emo shit, just some grimy trap tunes with no pause.
One hour later my brother looks at me and smiled, "It actually looks good! I can’t lie I was a bit scared for you, but it looks good, you could have been rocking this look from time!" It was like music to my ears. I looked at Corey, “It looks great babe, go take a look in the washroom.” I had purposing kept all mirrors out of the room, in fear I would freak out. Christine washed my head in the sink (which felt like heaven, especially since I had been keeping it captive under that cap for the last 5 days). Christine was praising how good it looked, more importantly she said, “You had a great shape head." (The night before I had a dream I had a square head and never knew it.)
I loved all their encouragement but I was still scared to look. I thought I would look once everyone was gone, but Corey was like, “It’s OK, let’s go look at it together . . .”
I walked in the washroom gingerly peaking in, little by little to look at the mirror. I caught a snippit and freaked out and ran back out, (more out of shock). But I went back. I WAS BALD! CRAZY!!!! AND I did have a good shaped head! WOW! It was like me still, but without hair. Now I know that sounds crazy, but I really thought I wouldn't recognize myself, but there I was. Me as me, without hair . . . So strange. What a relief! All I could think of was THANK GOD I STILL HAD MY EYEBROWS, or this may have not as gone as well! Also I think because I have lost 15lbs my face was looking quite slender (thank-you chemo diet… ummm would not recommend it).
I thought about how I would write this post, the post about the day I shaved my head. I thought about writing a sort of, “Hair Adventures,” tribute of sorts, (so necessary right?) I would collect pictures from all the styles over the years and accompany them with cute anecdotal stories. Then I would write a piece on, “Why a Black Woman's Hair is her Crown and Glory,” and all the history behind the Afro etc. But then I thought, . . WHO FUCKING CARES! Not to discredit the political voice our hair carries, (whether we like it or not), on this day, none of that mattered. What I discovered today is, as India Irie, (and my home girl Janielle has pointed out so accurately), I AM NOT MY HAIR! Not to be flippant about it, because it was the biggest mind fuck to shave my head. HOWEVER, the pain I have been really feeling is the significance I have been putting into what it would mean if I had to shave my head. Besides the fact it would mean I can no longer deny looking like I have fucking cancer, (which is annoying as fuck I won't lie) what was really there was, I won't be beautiful without it. There would be no amount of make-up, fake lashes or cool clothes that would give me the type of armor my hair provided. AND THAT scared me more than anything. Now that the hair is gone, the armor is gone with it and I feel completely naked . . . and free. There is nothing to hide behind, and although being naked is associated with being at your most vulnerable, it is actually the most liberated I have ever felt in my life. What you see is what you get, no more hiding (anything you ladies out there hiding behind? If there is I can tell you it is preventing you from being your 100% authentic self).
AND I don't have to wear a shower cap anymore, I would say that is a huge win in itself!