08 January 2013


The Holy Scriptures describe God's children as sheep--lost, found, wandering, black, etc.--but I've always related more to goats. 

Apparently, some goats identify with other species. Not sure where that leaves me. 

So, I wasn't planning an extension of yesterday's hair piece (ahem)--it was just a whim to snap and post those silly shots--but I got quite a few comments on Facebook, either in favor of my would-be shaved head or in the true spirit of nix. I wasn't implying that I'd look great with an all-out buzz. Frankly, I've got the wrong head shape for such a 'do (or should that be a 'don't?). I'm sure of this because I study bald heads. Also, I'm not in pursuit of making a statement. Plus, it's the coldest winter I've ever known in Utah, and that causes me to want to stay as well-insulated as possible.

Sure, a 100% committed buzz cut is something I've always wanted to try, for the experience. Hair is wonderful but awful too in a way. I itch to ditch the vanity and fuss of it all and see what it's like to be temporarily free of the stuff, with the option of course to quickly grow it back, through all its painful transitional stages. (Oof!) Admit it--haven't you also been curious about what it would be like to be perfectly streamlined? What, no? Really?

I could wear a wig. Is that weird? My mom and grandmother played around with wigs. Big tall beehives back in the day. Wiglets. And giant hats. Stuffed hats. Turbans. Headwear. I could love that stuff too. You've missed out on a lot of fun if you haven't gone with your girlfriends to either a wig shop or a hat shop or both and tried on some outrageous looks. You don't have to shave your hair off to enjoy that either. But what if it was critical and you had no hair, and you weren't just funnin'? Would you go for a demure natural look, or would you try for electric attention?

What I didn't bring up (or even intend to) yesterday, but some of you already know, is that from time to time I have to deal with bouts of alopecia areata, or as I call them, crop circles. It's an auto-immune disorder connected to nothing else, at least not so far as any doctors can tell. When it flares up, it takes my hair out in patches. Sometimes the patches are small and occur in places where they don't create too many problems... unless you consider the treatments I receive as problematic. I get shots. Lots and lots and lots of shots, a syringe poked repeatedly into my head. My thin trusting scalp! Is that a problem for you? Hurts me like Murder. I become Dr. B.'s human voodoo dolly.

It's been, what, two years since the last circles filled back in? I can't remember. But I was beginning to get really comfortable and believe that maybe my body had decided to be finished attacking itself. But, nope. I had a flare up last fall and it's gotten worse and worse. I now have a strong line of crop circles crossing me like a headband; it's odd the way it's organized. I think it is some kind of sign to aliens and my abduction must be imminent. The crop circles are deconstructing me and claiming acreage quickly. Already the holes like to shine out from beneath my locks, and I keep having to move my part so I don't scare the neighbors. If it keeps going this way, pretty soon the crop circles will give me a new and freakish hairline. I'm not eager for that.

So, you see, sometimes I just want to beat this thing to the punch. Fine, alopecia, you want to eat my hair? Then I'll shave it off and deny you the pleasure. Or something like that. I don't want to lose my hair, especially after the great bob I got before the holidays, but I'm getting tired of fretting and waiting.

There's also the knowing I have that when my hair does finally begin to grow back, it will come in like a prickly crown, exactly where the cursed empty headband is right now! Oh, that will be a special time. It'll be what I call a real bob-killer. I will have no use for Shep Salon. At that point, either no hair or a micro-'do will be the only styling options that will make sense.

Or, hats and scarves and turbans and wigs. Here we are again.

To buzz or not to buzz? And when? Those are the questions.

I don't want to be stymied by setbacks. There's necessary recovery time involved after every disappointment, but one of my life's intentions is to never let myself become stuck in dissatisfaction or regret. If a cake falls, I shake my fist but then I cube up its good parts, layer it with whipped cream in a pretty dish, and serve an unapologetic trifle. The oven breaks, so I learn to make stovetop breads good enough to keep on making them once the repairman comes. (Mary, the recipe is coming, just for you.) These are little ways to practice making graceful identity shifts.

It's tougher with the personal bits and pieces of me. If I am seized with a depression and my spirit sinks low, it's harder to figure out how to make the emotional equivalent of trifle, though I'm always testing recipes. If I lose my hair, no matter now much I've claimed in the past to want to disentangle myself (ahem) from vanity, how do I compensate, and who am I then? I mean, what if this time it doesn't grow back, or what if the disorder takes the whole lot (it can happen)? Yeah, it's only attacking my looks (and perhaps my body temperature), but I would be a big liar if I said I didn't care about that.

It's not about a temporary buzz cut. It's not even about alopecia. It's about identity. Who am I? Who do I think I am? What will I do and who will I be if what I'd planned for or just assumed would happen falls through? Maybe ultimately it's not about identity either, but it's about patience and a willingness to do, rather than be.

I may be onto something, or I may have just talked myself into a nonsense corner. I think I ought to take a vacation from my own thoughts for a while, maybe watch some Netflix.

Anyway, I hope that if I'm a goat, I can be glad of whatever voice comes out of me, and if I make chicken sounds and others laugh, I hope I can laugh with them. If aliens abduct all my hair, not just long enough for a few strange haircuts, but for good, and my eyebrows too, I hope I can get some kicks out of wearing a wild wig and snatching it off by turns to startle the general public. I hope I can knit myself some fabulous options. I hope I can afford to commission some artist to landscape my head like a brave new world.

From: Hair is for Pulling

From: Hair is for Pulling


LuckyRedHen said...

Sweater hair?!? That. Looks. AWESOME! I want you to have sweater hair. It'd be warm and cozy and you could switch it up all day long.

I've secretly envied those girlfriend's of cancer patients who shave their heads in solidarity for their friend. A shout-out to cancer saying Eph Off with every hair gone. Not that I want a friend with cancer (because I have, that's not my point), but to have a noble excuse when I do it on a whim and people look puzzled at me like I turned into Britney S. when she went coocoo. It's like you have to have a reasonable explanation. "For my friend," "because I want world peace," "to help goats," just something that has validity other than, "I wanted to try it."

It's like when I ask someone about their tattoo and they reply, "I picked it out of the tattoo catalog." Same thing with a custom-made ring. There has to be SOME reason you choose this or that.

Woah, I kinda went on and on.

I loved your pixie, I loved your long, I love your middle, I love you no matter what.

Melody said...

Sweater hair. Yes. In this your true identity lives. . . I'm certain of it.

Love this post. Love you.

Holly Decker said...

and iiiiiiii will always love youuuuuuuuuuu and i will always love youuuuuu. just had to get that out there. xo

lara said...

love this post, georgia, especially the bit about the "emotional equivalent of trifle." i'm always trying to think of ways to turn set-backs into triumphs. not so good at it yet, but getting better. i hope you will post about the next time you turn an emotional setback into a delicious trifle. i could use some inspiration in that department. or maybe you already have some examples? i guess i'm requesting a post. . . .

Geo said...

Hey, Lucky, if I end up needing to shave my head, will you get a sympathy shave and tell people it's to help a goat? You did not go on too long. I like reading you.

Melody, I am certain of it too, even if I don't shave my head. I have been puzzling over the knitted wig photos, trying to decode them. My soul is crying out for a pink wool blend!

Holly, Whitney Houston's got nothing on you!

Lara, I will see what I can cook up for you. Thanks for asking.

xo to all

Mrs. Organic said...

I think a lovely pink cashmerino would make scrumptious scalp cozy, but the brows would make it complete.

I love that you are irrepressible even in your vulnerabilities. Truly, you are on Bright Street.

Aside: do you think head tats in pin curls would hurt more or less than a migraine?

Jamie said...

I thought of you as I washed many 2" hairs down the sink last night after shampooing. I can't keep my hair since Niles was born. The lowest three inches grows as usual, but I have bald and regrowth patches all over the top, and most of the postpartum hair has grown back slowly forming a 3" toupe which, coupled with the longer bits around the bottom, looks rather unfortunately like a Joan Jett mullet. I feel like wearing a Tshirt that says, This haircut in no way reflects my personality. BUt sometimes I join you in shouting, "DOWN WITH VANITY!" Did you see how great Anne Hathaway looked buzzed? Your beautiful face could EASILY pull it off.

Mary Ann said...

Geo, you may not be into a western medicine fix, or you may have tried it already, but my hairdresser believes in a product called Spectral DNC-N by DS Laboratories (find them at dslaboratories.com). And in the meantime, keep up the writing! It shines!