I’m a Leo, queen of the jungle, and for me, my hair has always been my mane. I’m not much of a girly girl, I don’t wear makeup, I don’t follow fashion. I do love my jewellery, and when I’m working enough to have money to spare I do love to have french polish gel nails. My hair may not have always looked well tamed, or stylishly coiffed, but for the last twenty years I have enjoyed experimenting with colour, I haven’t been afraid to chop it all off, and a few years ago I had an appointment to have it dreaded (but that’s a whole other story).
(only one of those photos is me lol)
As someone who has dyed their hair for twenty years, regrowth has always been the enemy. It shows things as they really are (that yes, my hair is not actually purple), and it marrs the perfection of conforming colour that only ever seems to exist the day you walk out of the hairdresser. That stripe of boring mousy brown underneath the platinum blonde gives away my true colours and takes away the pretense of being something other than I am. These days, regrowth is something to be celebrated and appreciated.
I’m going to the hairdresser tomorrow, to get my hair coloured for the first time in a year. It’s a big deal (although I’m sure to everyone else, not so much, it probably seems quite shallow and vain to most) because it’s the first time in a year that I have been allowed to do anything more than cut my hair. Those closest to me know this already, but a year ago my hair started falling out. Not the Big C, thank goodness, but the Big S. It seems I underestimated the physical effects that severe emotional Stress can cause, and the domino effect has been unpleasant and disabling in more ways than one. My hair has been the least of my physical concerns for the last year, and indeed the specialist did tell me that stressing about my hair would only make it fall out faster, so I put it aside and focused on the things I could have some control over. Baby steps on the way to getting my health back to where it was, building my strength back gradually.
It has been the winter of the beanie for me. My hairdresser did a wonderful job of cutting my hair in a way that was flattering (and deceptive) under a beanie or hat and sat nicely on top of a scarf. I was lucky I live in a cold climate that my beanie wearing went unnoticed. My hairdresser, and my doctors, were all emphatic that I was not to do anything to stress my hair until it stopped falling out and started regrowing. My last visit to my hairdresser was very disappointing as she told me not yet, next time, although it ended up being quite eventful in a different fashion thanks to a piercing, a comb, and a 6 month pregnant hairdresser almost fainting and in tears (again, a whole other story).
I now have a three inch halo of fuzzy new hair that rings my face, quite distinctive from the length that held on, uncontrollable and curly and mousy brown. I’ve never been so happy to see regrowth in my entire life. It means things are getting back to normal, finally; that life is beginning again. It means colour is coming back into my world. Although it may seem strange that the first thing I want to do with my regrowth is to cover it up with dye, same as before, things are different. Things that were previously taken for granted never will be again. That moment of walking out of the hairdresser tomorrow will be all the more sweet and wonderful because I know how much hard work (and learning how to take things easy, which for me has been hard work) has gone into getting to that moment.
I sometimes wonder if the last year would have been easier for me if my body hadn’t forced me to slow down (sometimes stop altogether). If I could have kept going, if I could have worked hard and stayed busy and not been so alone with my thoughts and regrets, would my heart and soul have healed quicker? I think that in a lot of ways, yes, but I would have been living in a state of denial; I would not have discovered the things about myself that I like, my soul would not have grown in the ways it has. I would have been stuck in that purgatory, limbo land; never getting worse, but never getting better either. I think that the time it has taken, the long long time, to heal my physical self, has made me a better person; a better mother, a better partner, a better friend. A better me.
The regrowth may not be pretty, but it’s the foundation of something new. A fresh start to build on, to make of it what I will. The past is gone. The beliefs and illusions of the past are gone. It was hard to let the romantic fairy tale go, harder still to forgive myself for getting it so wrong. When I let go of the past, I let go of who I thought I was, who I thought I should be, who I thought others see me as. It may have taken me over a year, but it’s time to do something with the regrowth. Tomorrow I deal with my hair. In less than a week, I make use of all of the personal regrowth of the last year. The next step in my journey of healing and growth and strength begins.