More Than My Hair

It’s been nearly a month ago since I got my hair cut.

A short haircut, for the first time in seven years.

Shorter than I’ve ever worn it.

DS Lake 1968
My dad and me on vacation in 1968, the summer before second grade.

Even shorter than the pixie cut my mother thought would look cute on me in first grade.

Shorter than when I cut my hair to look like Julie Andrews, the summer before seventh grade. I know. Big mistake.

For most of my adult life I’ve worn my hair short, but after a concussion in 2010, I couldn’t stand the noise and activity in a hair salon, so for nearly a year, I just let it grow. I’ve kept it long since then.

At my first visit to see the oncologist after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she talked about the possibility of side effects, emphasizing how differently people react to chemotherapy. The one thing she said with great certainty, though, and with compassion…

“You’re going to lose your beautiful hair.”

No, I thought to myself, I won’t lose it. I’ll take it first. It’s my hair and no disease or treatment for it will take my hair from me.

So I had it all chopped off.

Sally's haircut May 2017The stylist was great – just exactly what I needed – didn’t let me lose my nerve. She braided it wet so we could send it to Locks of Love, asked me if I was ready, and before I could answer, she said, “okay, here we go!”

And my long hair was gone.

I love it short again. Doesn’t take nearly as long to dry, so I’m not late any more.

Okay, I’m not as late.

My breast cancer survivor friends keep asking me how my scalp feels. If it’s itching yet. No more than usual, I tell them, but yesterday it started burning, stinging. Felt like a bad sunburn. Getting close, my friends said. The nurse at the infusion lab told me I probably would lose my hair before my second chemo treatment. That’s next Tuesday.

So I’m reminding myself these days that I’m more than my hair. In a culture that continues to raise little girls to focus on their appearance, to the point that so many women still believe that’s what’s most important about us, I will remind myself of the truth.

My mama said it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Also, I have a nicely shaped head.

My ears don’t stick out.

And I look good in hats.

Acting silly before a Tapestry retreat in Memphis, 2016

8 Comments Add yours

  1. tipkid says:

    I asked Angie if she ever asked God, “Why Me?” To my surprise she said, “Never…in fact I said, ‘Why not me? I know who my redeemer is. What do I have to fear? Better I have the cancer than someone who has never met my Jesus.” I wished I knew her level of faith.

  2. Sandra Rigmaiden says:

    Sally, I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 2015 now cancer free
    Why has always been my question?
    God has his reasons its always in his timing. God bless you !

  3. Kim Kalle (previously on the SonQuest board) says:

    Hey Sally, I can see you with a personal favorite scripture ‘henna tattooed’ on your beautifully shaped head! 🙃

  4. Linda Lanier says:

    Love this post! You ARE more than your hair–fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Love you, and thanks for the reminder not to focus on appearance too much. Prayers continue for you.

  5. Sandra says:

    Bless, my beautifull and precious friend. You continue to embody the love and peace of Christ, even when…or maybe especially when trials come.
    Prayers continue for you.

  6. Sandra Priddy says:

    Not silly, you DO look good in that hat! Love your take charge attitude! You are in my prayers.

  7. Candra Turpin says:

    You are beautiful on the inside and outside with or without your hair! Praying for you as you go through cancer treatments…you got this!

  8. como62 says:

    Yes, you look “mahvelous” dahling! As we used to say after watching the glamorous 1940’s classic movies. Love your hat pose!

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