On Sunday, I sensed, rather than felt, my hair separate from my scalp. I was in bed and stayed very still hoping that if I didn’t move, my hair would stay intact. I woke up gingerly and took the courage to look at myself in the mirror. Relief! Hair was on top of head. Everything was fine with the world! And then I took a shower and observed in painful shock as hair disbanded from my head and collected by my feet. Not a good feeling. I realized the time had come for extreme measures. So who did I call? Not Ghostbusters. But my hairstylist, Afsan, who I adore. We set up time to shave my hair at my home on Tuesday night at 8pm. This had to be planned so that my Investment Banker son, Shayne, could be home for this event, at his request. The actual shave happened quite seamlessly. My family cheered on and offered encouraging words. My mom cried. I refused to look in the mirror. Afsan was compassionate, professional and sensitive. As soon as she left, I wore a colorful scarf to hide my shaved head. That made me feel safe. That was my plan – to scarf my way until my hair grew back. We celebrated by having cheesecake and coffee.
Shaving your head is one thing. Accepting how you look with a shaved head is an entirely different matter. The first thing I experienced is that my head got quite cold when I went to bed and I had to wear a toque to sleep. I felt like the candlestick maker from nursery rhymes of the past who wore those pointy hats to bed.
I woke up this morning, went to the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror. I screamed at the top of my lungs because I did not recognize myself. If it were not so funny, it would be sad! Somehow I have to align the vision I see in the mirror with what I see reflected. This is easier said than done. Tomorrow I plan to stand in front of the mirror for as long as it takes and have an honest chat with the reflection I see. I am going to say, “I am you, and you are me” so let’s deal with it”. I am going to find a way to be comfortable with this new look and embrace it. Besides I don’t want to be scaring myself every morning! Today I pay tribute to my incredible husband. Every time I hid behind the scarf, he gently removed it and told me I was beautiful bald. He did it so often today that I am starting to believe. Yet another part of the journey, another learning, another blessing.