I can handle the thought of cancer and surgery and months of treatments, but hot diggity! I completely lose it when I think about losing my hair.

For the last 41 years, I’ve had a love-hate-love relationship with my hair. I’ve been known to cry and scream when I get bad haircuts, and to drive more than two hours to visit a favorite stylist. I was a runner-up for the “best hair” superlative in college. When budgeting, there’s one item that can’t be sacrificed: my hair expenses (cut every four weeks, color every eight weeks. Plus there’s the shampoos, conditioners, leave in conditioners, curl enhancers, creams/gels/mousses, hairsprays, and anti-frizz agents – all of which change seasonally).

I spent a good part of my childhood straightening the curls. I hated how my hair both made me stand out from everyone else AND made me obviously part of my mom’s family (in which everyone has curly hair). Around mid-high school, I just went with it. I embraced my naturally curly hair. It’s a big part of me. My curls are sometimes wild, sometimes sassy, sometimes really big. But it’s never boring.

It’s also apparently pretty memorable. I get more comments and compliments on my hair than anything else. This summer, while at a concert, a girl walked up to me and told her boyfriend that they were obviously in the right line for the bus home because she remembered my HAIR – not me, not my friend, nope. This super drunk chick remembered MY HAIR.

And I could (will?) lose it soon.

My hair will grow back, I know that. But it could grow back DIFFERENTLY. I don’t know how to handle anything other than super-high-maintenance curls. What if it’s straight or half curly/half straight? What if it’s a different color? OMG, what if it’s my natural dirty ashy blonde? There’s a reason it’s been 20 years since I started dying my hair.

I really dislike how much the idea of losing my hair affects me. I hate the thought of losing my hair, but I hate the thought of CARING about it so much, too. It’s so damn vain to focus on something so darn trivial, like hair. I’ve looked at the “cancer wigs” and there’s nothing even close to my hair, which makes me sad that I won’t look like “me” when I’m going thought this. I really like to think of myself as not the vain-type. But apparently I am. At least when it comes to my hair.

As a child, I straightened my hair, rejecting the curls completely. I also liked to wear wool blazers.


That’s me, standing in the back. The one who looks like a boy, according to Ethan. This was around early high school years, so yay for the 80s!


More recently, I’m all about my curls. Two photos from the last six months:


3 thoughts on “Curls

  1. Your beautiful with or without hair. As a woman who has had many family and friends go through is I totally understand. For woman our hair has become a symbol of how we are feeling about everything. You seem to be a strong and spiritually secure. This too shall pass and you’ll be a great teacher for all those walking with you through this.

  2. Thinking of and praying for you at this difficult, uncertain time. Don’t feel bad for caring about your hair – it IS a huge deal. You’ve gone through so much in recent years and being strong on the outside helps being strong on the inside – the thought of that armor/normalcy being gone is terrifying. In my own experience with cancer, the anticipation of what’s to come is always the worst. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. Xoxo

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