This is Meg, and I’m here to talk to you about HAIR 👏 GROWTH! 👏
It has been exactly *1 year* since I received the big, “You beat cancer!” news, and let me tell you, what a year it has been. I wanted to share this snippet of my story today in hopes that it can help women that are facing losing their hair, who have already lost it, or who are in the process of growing it back.
Hair seems like such a small factor in the grand scheme of cancer, but for most women, it’s a huge part of their identity. For me, I had bangs all of my life. I preferred to cover as much of my face as possible, because I always battled with self image. Losing my hair was a terrifying thought and I dreaded the day that it would happen. Because of this dread, I decided to have some fun with it. My friends who own a photo studio brought me in, sat me down, and took photos of me as I shaved my head, all surrounded by my friends. It was emotional at first, but when I heard someone speak for the first time, they said, “Holy shit - you have a perfectly shaped head!” That shaped the course of my day.
Being bald in Portland, Oregon is almost like being hip in Portland, so I was very lucky in that way. At first, I avoided all mirrors like the plague. I tried learning how to use makeup, I wore hats, attempted a wig; in the end, lipstick and earrings were all I needed to make myself feel good. I didn’t want to hide what was happening to me, even though nobody would have ever suspected that cancer was the first reason I was bald. Everyone always wanted to touch my head (for good luck) and I was often approached by people who simply wanted to tell me that I was beautiful and bold. People were so much more supportive than I could have imagined.
Jora and I #twinning and enjoying some wine together!
The hardest part was when the hair started growing back - something not many people talk about. I’d love to say that it all grows back nicely and evenly, but it simply doesn’t.
My biggest insecurity was my “landing strip”, as I called it, where the center line going from my forehead to the back of my head decided not to grow any hair. Evidently that’s common! Each person will grow their hair back in a unique (and equally annoying) way. I had my landing strip for about a month before everything started to smooth out. My hair came in way darker than before, and as it grew, everyone around me started to notice the curls that were forming. It changed color nearly every month, and the curls kept getting thicker. Now, it’s finally long enough that I have to pin the sides back to avoid looking like Bob Ross. I’m rocking a mullet (not much else I can do at this point) and am thankful to be spending this winter with a warm head.
My advice to all of you that are going to lose your hair: don’t wait for it to happen. The women that I talked to that waited, woke up one day and were able to pull chunks of hair out. It was scary to them and they wished they would have shaved it themselves. Try to make it fun! My best friend shaved her head with me and we have enjoyed spending the year being baldies together. The more you can make that into a positive experience, the more you can look back on it and feel happiness instead of something else.
To all of you who are bald: remember that you are BEAUTIFUL. Any flaw you see in yourself, I guarantee nobody else sees. We are way too hard on ourselves. I can promise you that other people are looking at you and wishing they could be as bold and confident as you are, rocking a bald head.
To all of you who are growing your hair back: it’s frustrating, sometimes you feel hopeless or ugly or defeated. It’s all temporary. A year seems like a really long time to grow 5 inches of hair, so do what you need to do to feel your best. Earrings always help. 😉
Finally! Please consider me a friend, an ally, and a resource. You might live across the country or even across the world, but my *virtual* door is always open. If you ever have any questions, please email me!
Sending you so much strength and love,
Meg | firstname.lastname@example.org