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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Being Bald

Despite what everyone says, being bald does not make me brave or beautiful. It just means I have cancer and the way to counteract that cancer is to take medicine that has bad side effects. It's not like I have a choice.

Here are a few things about being bald that you might not know.

1. Clothes fit differently. Okay, so clothes maybe don't fit differently, but they feel like they do because the lack of hair throws off your proportions visually. Of course, chemo tends to make me gain weight so those extra 5 pounds don't help, not to mention the puffy face that accompanies the steroids.

2. Getting ready in the morning should take a lot less time, but now you have to choose not just your outfit but a hat or scarf to match. Hats are easier and more comfortable, but they're hot as well as casual (at least the ones that I like). I currently only have 3-4 scarves and they're a pain to tie and the knot at the back of my neck drives me crazy, but they're dressier so a necessity with some outfits. By dressy, I simply mean not a t-shirt). :)  I also spend more time on my makeup because it feels important without hair to bring the feminity factor.

I have been late more in the last 3 months than ever in my life because I completely underestimate how long it takes to choose clothes and hat.

3. Kids cannot stop staring. If they're lucky, bald women do not cross their paths often, and I do not take offense at this ever. If you have kids, what an excellent opportunity to share about the challenges that accompany life and tell them they can help by praying for me. Inform them about cancer and medicine and side effects, but remind them that I am exactly the same Miss Melissa they've always known.

Even though Addison sees me often, she still spends quite a bit of time trying to figure it all out. The first couple of times we were together, she refused to kiss me but she's over that now. And she asks me every time if I feel better yet and lets me know that she prays for me to feel better every day. She always seems a bit confused as to why I'm not better yet. You and me both, sister.

4. It's not just the hair on your head that falls off. All of your body hair disappears. My eyebrows and eyelashes are slowly but surely disappearing. Did you know eyelashes are actually useful and not just on your face for vanity's sake? They help keep dust and particles out of your eyes, which means without them, my eyes are much more sensitive.

Another fun fact is you no longer have the tiny little nose hairs that help catch drippage so my nose constantly drips.

You know what doesn't fall off? The fuzz on your face.

5. Men (although I've noticed these are mostly acquaintances, not men I truly know) address me as beautiful and gorgeous. As in, "hey, beautiful" and "hi, gorgeous." While the intent is kind, this would have been considered inappropriate prior to being bald and so it always just feels so awkward. Women tend to comment on my looks often as well, but it feels different coming from women. Feels more supportive and loving, and I know that I would give the same encouragement to another woman.

How about we just do this whether bald or not? That sounds like a plan to me.

6. Your hair doesn't fall out evenly. Mine is fuzzy and randomly grows (just a little) in small patches. It is 100% not awesome.

Being bald is such a visible sign of illness and I hate the extra attention it brings. I wish that I could be just easy breezy about it, but I'm not really easy breezy about anything so definitely not about this. I haven't gone out in public bald yet, mostly to be as inconspicuous as possible, but I'm imagining that summer might bring out the bald because hats and scarves are so hot and we do live in hot and humid Tennessee. Maybe I should move to Alaska.

If I were truly brave, I would post a picture without the extra eyeliner, penciled in eyebrows, lipgloss, and filter, but I have more vanity than bravery.
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6 comments:

VinGirl said...

I think you look beautiful both ways, Melissa. I continue to think of you, and send you wishes of healing. You have such strength and determination in your eyes, and maybe being bald draws attention to that too. ❤️

Eric Roedel said...

You. Are. Beautiful. Inside and out. I have been there, sister. Prayers, love and healing sent your way! Lisa

Mimi said...

Well, said, Melissa, well said. Your post is so very true!

With love and prayers ❤
-mimi

Beth Bill said...

Thank you for such courage and vulnerability to let us step into a piece of your life. Praying for you Melissa!

Christine @ 12,450miles said...

You know... I didn't know about those. Or... maybe I just never thought it through? All very good points and definitely something that made me stop and think. (And appreciate not having those particular struggles.) I know I've said it before and I will say it again... you are beautiful. And gorgeous! Inside and out. I think the inner beauty is what radiates out and makes you stunning. In both health ... and not. Hugs my friend. You are amazing!

Jenny Sue said...

I literally cried myself sick when I lost my eyelashes. They were the last thing to go for me and I was wiping my eyes and looked down at my hands. They were burned charred lashes that finally were just too brittle to last any longer. I went out bald all the time but I started wearing makeup when I rarely wore it before. I know you are sick of hearing it but your eyes really do shine Jesus. Praying for you often as you look in the mirror each day. Some days are harder than others but what never changes is your Father delighting in you! Zep 3:17