“hand me a washcloth please, i need to comb my hair…”


my mother told me that my grandfather used to say this. a man i never remember with hair on his head, not even in ancient curled black and white photos of when he and my grandmother were first married. he was a funny, rascally kind of guy and i know he would have been utterly amused with my newly shorn self.

so i was shorn on halloween, which makes me smile. every hair dresser in the salon had a wig on that day for the holiday and o’dell, my hairdresser extraordinaire, tried to convince me it was in my honor. which made me smile. my hair had just started to go on sunday, shimmering comb fulls of  my hair. monday it was filling a brush and on tuesday i could pull out long hand fulls, like pulling cotton candy.

there was nothing traumatic about it at all. it was fascinating to me. it did not hurt, it was just shedding. i was like a malamute in july. it became almost impossible to leave it alone. like peeling a sunburn or messing with a loose tooth.  i had started taking all of it out to the garden for the birds to make nests with. on wednesday morning i took an enormous hairball out to the garden and made an autumnal still life with it and the last of the tomatoes, coleus and  fallen leaves. like a tiny cousin it. an offering of my former self to the earth and the sky. i saved a hand full for a keepsake and what was left on the salon floor was just, swept away.


i had a dear friend come with me to film the event and it was all so festive.  i have spend most of my life with short hair, so i had no fear of short hair, but shaved…that was new. these long beautiful tresses i had were grown during the last 4 years. i loved my long hair, but i also loved the extremeness of shaving it all off.

o’dell has worked with an organization called “look good, feel better” for the last 20 plus years, that fits women going through chemo with wigs. he said that many women who had sat in his chair said that they loved pulling out their own hair. he also spoke of the power of not doing it behind closed doors, but out in the open. i could feel everyone’s eyes on me, full of surprise, love and support. one woman in particular did not take her eyes off of me and came over and asked how many chemos i had had. she was a 12 year survivor and was so strong, healthy, powerful  and positive looking. it takes a village…

i also have a sexy new wig. long, reddish hair, a bit longer than my original hair. he fit me for that, and it looks great, very natural. but, i love my shaved look better. the wig will be a fun change of pace, but not the day to day image i had imagined. so interesting. don’t want to cover anything up.

i love my new head. sleek, sexy, and a heightened sense to touch… and cold. gathering a wardrobe of soft beanies for the great winter outdoors.

i feel strong, feminine, and incredibly powerful and empowered. there is no loss in this. it is pure transformation and again i am so curious to see what is next, and yet savoring the right now. i don’t want to miss anything… even though i might like to skip my next chemo which is this tuesday, i am willing to be here for every step of this healing. every step is crucial…