Why Losing My Hair Felt Like Losing Control
Two years ago, I got sick. And when things were looking scary, I found myself fixating on something trivial: my hair.
I had a tumor, and I needed chemotherapy. My life changed overnight.
From the start of chemo, I was concerned with losing my hair. I know it sounds silly, but hey, I was a 16-year-old girl. I remember standing in the shower, holding a chunk of hair, and wondering what was next.
I was out of school for six months. I felt isolated and bored. The boredom gave way to anger. I thought about everything I was missing out on: my friendships, debate practice, and — I know this sounds cheesy — but learning. That was the only time I actually missed school. At this point, I got so sick that I couldn’t even eat for months. I felt betrayed by my body.
To disguise my hair loss I tried out different styles. I got bangs. I got a weave — which I ripped out six hours later. I bought several headbands.
In the summer, my doctors decided to stop chemotherapy. I went back to school my senior year. And it was a struggle. I was behind academically. I felt disconnected from friends.
Things slowly got better, and after I joined a support group at the hospital for other teenagers. And, after many months, I got back in shape — mentally, as well as physically.
But throughout all of it, my thinning hair served as a reminder of the time I was in pain and losing my health.
I often felt bad for caring about my hair at such a serious time. I had much more pressing issues, like my health, my education and my future. In retrospect, I think fixated on my hair because I thought I could control it. Though, in reality, I couldn’t.
Eventually, I was tired of waking up every morning and examining what was left of hair. So, I cut it. And now, I’m really happy rocking cute, short hair.
I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but my health is stable and my future is looking up.