For as long as I can remember, I thought that long hair was something to be envied. To me, it was a sign of beauty. My mother has gorgeous hair that always looks nice, but I was just not that lucky. For years I would jokingly say that my hair gene skipped several generations and went ALL the way back, but the joke isn’t so funny right now. I’ve felt my most attractive when my hair was thick and healthy and I sure would like to have that feeling again.
Hair loss and I are not strangers, I’ve dealt with it on and off for over 40 years. That said, what I’m through now is extreme, it’s never been this bad and it makes me feel very uncomfortable. Will the breakage continue? What’s next? It’s downright frightening.
I’ve shared this problem with a few people, but not many. I figure that there’s isn’t anything that anyone can do, so why bother. Plus I’m really hoping that most people don’t notice the problem that’s plaguing me.
This hair loss is very upsetting to me, I’m almost obsessed with it. I’m constantly worried about the condition of my hair, yet I know that worrying can only make the situation worse. I just never, ever thought it would get this bad.
But through it all, as with all unsettling transitions, there are lessons I can learn.
Lesson #1: Patience. This loss was gradual, so I have to understand that my hair is not going to grow back, or get back to a healthy condition, in a day. I have to be patient and force myself to be OK while my hair does whatever it is going to do.
Lesson #2: Keep an open mind. In recent years I’ve come to see magnificent beauty in many women with short hair. Natural styles, bald heads, stylish short cuts, tiny braids, I am loving them all and have broadened my opinion of what looks “beautiful.” I need to extend that to myself and realize that maybe, the time has come, for me to wear my hair super short and keep it that way. Maybe that’s where my hair will be most healthy. I may need to adjust my make up and earring choices, but maybe I can pull it off. I’ve got to be open to trying.
Lesson #3: Don’t sweat what I can’t change. I’m changing my hairstyle, using new products, and taking vitamins. I’m doing my part. Now it is up to my hair to do what it can to regain its health. And, if it doesn’t, I am learning that I have to be ok with that. I can’t sweat what I can’t change.
The truth of the matter is that these three lessons can be helpful in other areas of my life, too.
I can certainly be more patient with co-workers who get on my nerves, with drivers who I think are in my way, and even with people I care about who just aren’t who I need them to be. As I extend patience to my hair, I must also extend it to myself and to others.
Secondly, I can expand my mind to entertain opinions that are different from my own, recognizing that “different” does not mean wrong. With an open mind, I can better understand and more fully respect others, even if I don’t agree with them.
And sweating things I can’t change… well, I do that very well and I do it very often. But I have to adjust that way of thinking if I want to remain healthy and able to embrace all that life has to offer. Agonizing over things I can’t change only limits my life’s possibilities and keeps me stuck. I’m at a point in life when I cannot afford to be stuck, life is too short.
I’m really hoping that my hair will become healthy and grow back. At this point in my life, I think I’ll always keep it short, but I’d love for it to be healthy again. I want to stop worrying about it and give my attention to something a lot more pleasant. I’ll seek medical attention when that’s possible. I’ll also continue taking my vitamins and concentrating on my overall health.
If you or someone you care about are struggling with hair loss or some other issue that has you feeling unsettled, I hope my story has helped you. Sometimes just knowing that you’re not going through a troubling time alone can be a comfort. We’re in this together and I know that we’ll be ok. Whether the hair grows back or not, whether or not your issue is resolved the exact way you’re hoping, let’s trust that, in the end, we will be okay.