Off With Her Hair

September 28th, 20092:52 pm @ Angela Odom



Okay, so it's a little out of focus but this is my head

I know a lot of folks are wondering “why is she showing off her bald head?” Well, I’ll tell you why. First, I’m very proud of my bald head because what I thought was a knobby little head turned out to be a nicely shaped head. In fact, I was so pleased with my bald head I called my mother to tell her how proud I am of my head.  She responded “no forceps were used on that head of yours.” Thank you mom. As a sidenote, she also added that I began screaming as soon as my head entered the world, long before the rest of me popped out. Too funny and I’ll hold that note right up there with my mother telling me “you never crawled, you walked.”

Second, who better to do this than a hard ass like myself. Sure, I used to define myself by my looks and there was a time I thought myself so fascinating, so cute, and I was so full of myself I thought it didn’t stink. Well now, times have surely changed and Lupus, along with the medications I’m taking, have taught me to not define myself by outward appearances. It has been quite a lesson indeed and since I’m not one to shirk lessons, I own them, I am neither afraid of them nor am I intimidated by them.

Of course, at the beginning of this I almost fell into that place of shrinking violet. That did not last long because the more I ran into ignorant idiots, the angrier I got. Not just for myself, for those others who probably lack the voice or the intestinal fortitude to correct said idiots. I have no problem doing it and welcome them.

As I’ve said many times, it has not been uncommon for me to run across someone who will allow a door to slam in my face because they see me as fat. These ignorant idiots have no idea what prednisone will do to a person and they don’t care. I don’t take it personally, I’m not going to spend time cursing them out because they are not worth the energy, I just go about my business. Months later, when the prednisone is decreased and the fat around my face and belly are gone, these same idiots go out of their way to hold a door open for me. They’re idiots capable of human foibles and so what.

I may not have those beautiful high cheekbones I once prized, that sculpted chin, or the eyelashes to die for today. I may have them again one day, I may not. What is most important to me is to build up and maintain my integrity and credibility, focus on the who of me and not give play to how I look. That will destroy me and will add insult to injury as I will spend too much time stressing on how I look and what others think of me while stressing myself out to boot. Even worse, I will effectively make a bad situation worse because of the stress I cause myself by doing this. I will only make myself sicker.  Not worth it.

In my lifetime I have been cursed out for just being me. I wasn’t black enough, talked too proper, and I cannot count the many times I exited a bus to meet up with chronically unemployed men looking for employed women with their “hey baby, whazup?” to subsequently be met with the “B-word” because I responded with “I’m fine, how are you?” Lord knows folks are a fickle bunch. I’ve learned over the years to not pay attention to folks wishing to define me by what they think of me and I certainly don’t need others to validate my existence.

With that, my point is this, don’t allow others to define you and I don’t care how many degrees they have, how smart they or others claim they are and certainly, it matters not their status in life. They cannot define you. You define you. Period, end of statement. Some folks are just plain idiots and there’s nothing you can do about it. Leave them alone, get away from them, have nothing to do with them. They’re idiots, move on.

Another reason why I’m doing and saying this is I’ve heard too many stories of low self esteem brought on by illness. Whether you’re dealing with lupus, cancer, or any other illness, you will get through this. Don’t focus on what people outside are saying or doing. If your friends drop, good riddance. They were not your friends. If people make fun of you, know they are idiots but don’t shrivel up into a corner somewhere hating yourself. You’re a beautiful person, do not allow others to make you ugly.

Typically, what we don’t understand we fear and what we fear we attack. They may not admit their fear but know their fear exists. A lot of people suffer with low self esteem and they will attack others to either make themselves appear big or better or to deflect attention from themselves. See it for what it is and move on. Move in the direction of wisdom. Wisdom is more beautiful than outward appearance. It will carry you through the rest of you life and when the hair grows back, those cheekbones resurface and the weight is lost or gained, you will add wisdom as your most powerful beauty secret.

Now, on to my beautiful bald head. I finally purchased a pair of good shears to whack off the remaining hair on my head. The texture of my hair changed drastically this go round with Cytoxan and unfortunately, the hair was laying down on my head making it hotter than need be, particularly under a wig. Since I’m wearing wigs anyway, I thought it best to cut off all of the hair on my head to create a better seat for the wigs and sure enough, what a big difference. Now my wigs fit better, they’re not sliding around atop my head.

It is important to not only feel good about yourself, looking good is equally important. If someone should “snatch the wig from my head” my earrings are smoking, my makeup looks good and I can carry on without the wig until I get it back or practically kill the person who took it. I have a nice looking head and I would not have known this had it not been for shaving my head. I can survive without the wig and may do just that.

Looking and feeling good helps the healing process as well. Since I’ve been on this mission to overcome some of the harsh experiences I’ve had since being on chemo, I felt a psychological cleansing couldn’t hurt. Buying or selecting clothes that accentuate my particular style helps me feel good in my skin. Hair and makeup helps too. Putting together a whole package, in spite of what I’m going through, helps me think about something else besides “is that nausea I’m feeling?” or “not another day of pain” or “geez, I’m feeling so tired today.”

I may not always get past the malaise I feel every day, but it helps when I can look at myself and say “but you look good.” What I have discovered is when I feel bad and dress according to how I feel, I will typically feel worse by days’ end. When I chose instead to dress it up in spite of feeling bad, I will typically feel better and there have been times when the pain and fatigue dissipate as a result. It’s psychological, I know this, but I also know the brain is a powerful tool that can be used to trick the body. As often as I can I’ll employ this little trick because it works.

I did not want to chance using a razor on my head for fear of scaring and perhaps infection. The photo above shows a once over using the shears. I have since gone back over my head to get a closer cut. Now I can wash my head like I wash my face and I can’t tell you how cool, and I do mean cool, this nice bald head is. Oh, and you know I bought me some singing earrings right? Hoo Hah!!