There are a lot of things I will give up in this life.
I will give up cable. I will have streaming channels instead because cable is ridiculously expensive and we barely watch TV as is.
I will give up my breasts. I will. And I did. I gave them up if it means I don’t have to have cancer chillin’ in my body anymore.
I will give up the bottom of my ice cream cone when I am with my mom because I know that the very bottom is her favorite part.
I will give up leafy greens when a medicine makes leafy greens turn to raging diarrhea, lickety split.
I will give up my six-pack to a baby who needs out via c-section (who am I kidding? I’ve never had a six-pack).
I will give up sleep for babies, work, and my husband. And sleep is one of my favorite things in life.
I even gave up all dairy and soy as I nursed each of my boys. Because screaming babies are worse than no cheese. Barely. But they are.
But there is one thing I will not give up: hair day.
I know. You’re judging me for being high maintenance. I’m actually fine with that judgment as I am high maintenance. An example of that truth is when I told my husband I desperately wanted to apply for the Peace Corps and he asked, “You do know you wouldn’t have a hair dryer, right?”
I am a jeans wearing, sneaker donning, graphic tee totin’ girl who loves feeling like my hair is at least managed.
So hair day. It’s my thing.
I go in. I sit. I game plan with my beloved hair stylist. We talk about our lives. I ask her if I should have bangs or go back to being a full blonde or if I should just bite the bullet and go all-out-dark. I relax under the dryer. I find my mind at ease.
I love hair day.
Before children I used to go in for a hair intervention every 4-6 weeks. Yes. HIGH MAINTENANCE. But again, I didn’t care because I loved hair day. It was an instant fresh start. And a very normal part of my routine. In a job that had events every quarter or more, I was constantly feeling like I had perfectly perfect reasons for primping.
And then. My world started shifting and changing a bit. The first baby came. The baby that seemed to want to nurse 49 hours a day. And then wanted to spit up in my hair. I learned to go four-day-stretches without even touching my locks. And the thick shiny hair of my pregnant life turned dull, dry, and thinned out. My formerly-known-as amazing hair was having a moment. And not in the good kind of way.
I first went a few weeks over. And then months. I did not have time. I couldn’t get away. I couldn’t find a sitter. I was tired.
These were all in my book of excuses. And while they were all true and valid reasons, it wasn’t as if my husband was keeping me hidden away in my house. All I had to do was say, “I am making a hair appointment.” But the excuses went so well in the book of poor-me’s I was writing as my “New Mommy Martyr Journal.”
And then. I finally took the steps to go back. I made it happen. And what happened was something I never thought possible: I loved hair day more.
After having 1, 2, and then 3 children, my time with this Miracle Worker (Lynley) seemed to work miracles not just on my locks but in my soul. I realized it was a necessity in my life. That she was an important part of my getting my groove back over and over again. And that it was not actually about the hair but rather, the act of self-care. The act of something truly being mine and for me. The act of connecting with someone over this very personal piece of myself.
I would always schedule appointments right before having the boys as I knew I wouldn’t be back for awhile. I would schedule them for big events and vacations. We would talk through all of the things that were good and bad. This person, this woman, she was a part of this thing in my life that seemed to mark time. My hair. And then, cancer.
She was the woman I called and said, “Would you help me ease into my hair falling out?” She was the one whom I cried with as she comp’d my pre-emptive pixie. The one who, as I shaved my head, I promised her, “I’ll be back!”
And you know what I realized, bald as a cue ball? It really was never about the hair. Hair will come and go. It will be thick and thin. Blonde or brown or red or purple. And all different lengths. All different personas. Hair day, for all the time, had been about the time that the hair gave me to myself and with this person who knew things about me that others don’t… after all, she knows me down to my roots.
She was the one, after I’d been completely bald, who helped me transition back into a gal with hair who always made hair day a thing.
Hair day isn’t about the hair. It’s about giving yourself time to mark time. Time to celebrate the little and big events. And to feel like the person you know. It is about the good and the bad. The changes and seasons. And to me, I would give up most anything in life. But hair day? Nah, I won’t do that.
*photo credit: Prim Salon in Elkhorn: Hair by Lynley