Are you freaking out because your hair is falling out?
Hair. Some people have it, some people don’t. It’s standard practice to freak out when you realize your hair is not as full as it once was, or when your forehead slowly transforms into a fivehead. I’m not a guy, but I know a thing or two about hair loss.
Since I had my twins ten years ago, my hair has resembled baby bird feathers more than human hair. My feather-like hair also isn’t attached to my head very securely. Blow drying my hair turns my bathroom into a party. Instead of confetti, though, it’s strands of feather-like hair falling down all around me.
Recently, I decided that a buzz cut was less demoralizing than hoping my hair would be thicker, stop falling out, or just look normal. Now that most of my hair is gone– on my terms– I feel relieved. Hair, or lack of it, is no longer on my radar.
Here are five things I learned about hair loss:
Nobody cares if you are losing your hair. Even when my shower drain was full of hair and my bathroom resembled a hair-snow globe when I got ready for work, nobody else seemed to care. I was my harshest critic. Not one person said, “Ha! Look at you! You have way less hair than yesterday.” I did not lose a single friend because I was losing hair. If others could accept my hair situation, I figured I could muster up some self-acceptance as well. And, let’s be honest, if you lose friends because you are losing hair, they weren’t very good friends to begin with.
Your hair doesn’t need to be part of your identity. If your sense of self-worth is inextricably linked to what is growing (or not growing) out of your scalp, you will feel disappointment and loss when you start losing your hair. Here’s what I’ve come to terms with: My value has nothing to do with the quality or quantity of keratin and dead cells on my head.
The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable people will be with you. If you are OK with your hair (or lack of hair), chances are, the people you encounter will be as well. I saw a guy at the airport the other week rocking a man-bun, man-pris, and a ukulele. Am I mentioning him because I thought he was absurd? Absolutely not. Why? Because he seemed confident and really comfortable with himself. Now, if he had come up to me and asked, “Does my man-bun look OK to you? Do these pants make me look too hipstery?” Well, then my view of him might have been entirely different. Same goes with your baldness or thinning hair. You look fine, so act like you look fine. Rock it.
You can choose to be OK with your hair. Speaking of man-bun, who gets to decide what sort of hair is acceptable? I have less hair than most men both in terms of length and overall thickness. I figure if men can wear man-buns, mullets, high top fades, bowl cuts, Mohawks and faux-hawks, I can buzz my head. That is my hair rule. You can write your own hair rules. If that involves growing out certain parts to sculpt into a Donald Trump comb-over, perfect. If that involves shaving your head, that’s perfect too. And, if that involves just having less of your regular hair, guess what? Yep. Perfect.
Hair loss is normal for men and women. Getting older can involve losing hair. So can sickness, stress, and other factors. Sometimes it is temporary, sometimes it is permanent. Most people eventually experience some form of hair loss. It doesn’t need to be a source of embarrassment and angst. It is just a fact of life.
Hair loss can be devastating, but it is also exhausting to fight something that is inevitable and over which we have such little control. Would I prefer long, shampoo-commercial-quality hair? Yes. Am I going to let the hair I have turn every day into a bad-hair day? Certainly not. I am more than my hair and you are too.
Photo: Flickr/A. Breaux