I am having a Kardashian Moment, so I am going to share just about my hair today. After being a born-again-blonde for the last 20 years (I really was born with white-blonde hair, I swear!), I lost my hair to my very first chemo in March 2018. I wasn’t singled out; that’s how some chemo works. Now, after letting it grow in, then shaving it because I looked like a porcupine, then letting it grow, I am the proud owner of Mr. Minnillo’s Hair. Mr. Minnillo was an older gentleman with thick, wavy, salt and pepper hair who lived down the street from my family while we were growing up.
This is not what I had in mind when my hair started growing back. That it was gray and dark wasn’t a huge surprise, but the texture! I’ve never seen this hair on my head before and had no idea it was hiding in my head. And I have as many cowlicks as I have hair! When I get my hair trimmed, I come home and cut daily for the next 3 weeks. My hair might or might not be uneven, but it sticks out at will a different place every stinkin’ day. How can I have a bad hair day with one inch of hair? It’s unbelievable to me.
And as time has gone on, what I have learned is that if I let my hair grow beyond Mr. Minnillo, I am Combover Gumby. It starts to swirl on one side, grows to the top, then doubles back with the most interesting curl I’ve ever seen. There’s no cure for that.
But what all of this has made me think about is how total strangers have used my hair to support me. When I was in the middle of an ugly divorce years ago, I had to meet my then-husband at the bank. In the middle of his giving me a hard time, a man in about his thirties walked by me, smiled into my eyes and said loudly, “Great hair!” I felt like he was on my side.
And people walk up to me on a daily basis to tell me how great my hair looks. Yesterday a woman I don’t remember meeting even told me that she saw me when I was bald and loves how it looks now. It just blows me away! The biggest thing I’ve felt since diagnosed with cancer is how kind people are, how willing they are to extend themselves to a total stranger. I guess in some respects, being bald and older (cough, cough) makes me stand out from the crowd, right?
Don’t misunderstand: I wouldn’t have shaved my head for money if I had had a choice. I liked being blonde. But this is my new normal, and I want my life to be happy. I’m trying to cherish these amazing moments that will become nursing home memories. My life’s mission is to make people feel valued and empowered. When people do that for me, I understand why I want to do it. What if we filled the world with only happy people?