Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Day of No Hats

Me, in one of my favorite hats.
(No makeup here, don't be scared!)
My hair growth has gotten to the point now where I almost feel comfortable going hat-less.  Almost.

Before today, I was at the point where I would wear a hat places but take it off in stores.  But, still, carry the hat...just in case.  Just in case of what, I don't know. Just in case there was some crazy lottery where everyone with a hat in their possession won one million dollars?  Just in case there was some devastating apocalypse where only hat wearers survived?   Regardless, it made me feel better to know that I just had it.

Having the hat with me was like a signal to other people (in my mind) that I just had cancer.  A signal that I didn't do this horrible haircut to myself on purpose!  A signal that I'm not trying to look "cool" at 42 years old by shaving all of my hair off.  As long as I had the hat with me, it served as an explanation.

Today, I went to the grocery store and I didn't take my hat!  Not at all!  Not even to the car so I could, maybe, change my mind later.  I left all my hats at home.  I thought long and hard about this.  Was I ready to give up my security blanket so soon?  Was I ready to face the world knowing that I would be judged for looking like this and not hiding behind a hat?

Me, college years.  Oh hair, I MISS YOU!
As I walked through the grocery store, I felt a bit empowered.  I am woman, hear me roar without my hat!  But, I did get more than a few looks.  There weren't any of the looks that I got back when my head was bald and I wore a scarf.  The looks of sadness and pity weren't there.  These were looks of, "Why the hell would anyone do that to themselves?"  "Does that woman think that "hairstyle" looks GOOD?"  I knew what people were thinking as clearly as if they had screamed it at me themselves.

On one hand, I hate how my hair looks right now.  In my vain youth, I would have never been seen out in public looking like this!  On the other hand, it's a badge of honor too.  "Look at me!  I made it!  I survived cancer! I DID IT!"  Unfortunately, I think I'm the only one who knows that it's a badge of honor and not just a really bad haircut.

I've had several people tell me that they love my hair.  Some people, in fact, have told me that they love it now even more than when I had hair.  I'm not sure whether to thank them or slap them.  Was my "real" hairstyle so bad that I look better now this way?

Closeup of the anarchy that is happening
on my head right now.
The gray is ever present and seems to be more abundant than before (it was the first to grow back - oh joy).  I guess if anything is going to turn you gray, cancer would do it.  In that last few days, my hair has also decided that it would be super fun to be curly.  Instead of being a cute manageable curl, it tends to just stick out without abandon like it's trying to escape my head altogether.  Places where the hair just sticks straight out as if to say, "Get me off this crazy woman!!"  To me, none of this equals an acceptable look.

Are hats a thing of my past?  I can't be sure.  It's nice to have the option to go without a hat but it's hard to do so when you hate what's on top of your head.  But, hair grows only as fast as it grows (and mine does grow fast).  This is who I am right now.  It is a badge of honor, no matter if strangers know it or not.


  1. Guilty of being the one to tell you I like this better than before. But I DO. I think it looks fantastic on you. Seriously. I love how it shows off your eyes!!

    Go ahead... hit me!

  2. Hit me too. After spending all that time with you, all you have to do is speak and everyone will truly understand who you are. you are woman! You are strong! Who cares what they think, normal looks versus pity looks mean you have come FAR. I am honored to be your friend. So, hit me.