If you’re reading this…and you and I have met…and we are real-life friends/family, then I’m probably okay with you knowing about this because you care enough to read my blog posts. I appreciate that.
Even still – and otherwise – you might be tempted to judge me harshly. That’s okay. I am confident in saying that I refuse your judgements.
I did what was right for me; I took an important step in my healing process and shaved my head bald.
Some of you may be thinking, “WHY?!, or “pics or it didn’t happen!”. Both of these musings are fair, and I will oblige as you read.
I now consider myself akin to these lovely ladies:
(From left to right: 11 from “Stranger Things”, Eevee from “V for Vendetta” and The Ancient One from “Doctor Strange”. I do not own any of the pictures in this trifecta perfecta.)
My reasoning going into this venture was highly logical: to gain access to my scalp in order to apply my muscle-tension-melting salve to help relieve the buildup in that area. Funnily enough, it has turned out to be even more than that: an inner pilgrimage, of sorts. I took a gamble on a long-term decision,. hoping for a successful outcome. It took determination and bravery to take it all the way (plus some endurance…my hair is shockingly thick), and I feel at least somewhat accomplished.
Conversely. I am reeling from my decision. I know it was necessary, but it’s a massive change. Especially for someone who has appearance-specific anxiety, among many others. I purchased two wigs in order to alleviate the aftershock but some days, I look in the mirror and wonder who the person looking back actually is, with or without the wig. Talk about existential crisis.
It truly has been a conflicting experience of empowerment and embarrassment.
My daughter mourns the loss of my locks regularly. It definitely made an impact. On her, on my husband and on my self; but they understand and support me. I dearly hope that they are seeing some benefits. It has been an incredibly trying journey for the three of us, and it started long before I chopped my hair clean off. I’m not in denial – in a way, that is the hardest part. Those days when I was insufferable because of all the pain I was holding back? They definitely were not pretty, from the inside or outside. Looking back at my past and the dysfunctional person that I managed to be and accepting it as the reality of your past…well, it is excruciatingly painful on a very emotional level. (I say “managed” because it could have been far worse, in so many ways. I try to stay thankful that I didn’t fall into the sadder end of the survivor statistics spectrum.) For someone who ranks on the “highly sensitive person” end of the sensitivity scale…this has been a challenge to say the very least. Believe me when I say that I am shocked at the lack of suicidal ideation in the wake of the loss of my hair, and in general lately. While it has been fleeting at times, I feel more equipped to correct it – and quickly.
Some call this process shadow work, and so far – to me – it has very much been a rite of passage. If I remember correctly, it is a coming of age ritual in some communities. I have heard many of my peers refer to 30 being the new 20 and I believe it to be true…when you combine that truth with the truth that we also feel like we’re 80. I know that far too many of us are survivors of unresolved trauma: it delays development on an emotional level because of the invisible wounds we incurred…and the resulting pain manifests itself physically.
When pain is present, it is alerting us to an issue that must be taken care of. Or multiple, if you are so unfortunate. Chronic pain does have a solution. It is not a prescription pill; while medications monitored by a trained doctor can most certainly help mask the symptoms, they will not resolve them and are not a cure. Think bandage: it helps facilitate the healing process by guarding against further irritation, but the healing is actively done by the cells present in the tissues. I personally find that my current combination of meds has been very beneficial and is acting as a much-needed source of support in undergoing this process. My hope, however, is to be medication free at some point, but that point is not lately.
If doctors are unable to pinpoint a problem in you, like they have been unable to in me, then you may benefit from similar undertakings, and a host of other ones, as well…which I will undoubtedly have already posted about, or will post about in future. It all takes some serious mental determination…but we’ve got this.
I’m not saying you should shave your head by any means; that is completely yours to own if you choose to (and should you, you have my forever support and full understanding). But if you sustain an “invisible” illness like I do, then please believe me when I say that there is an “invisible” cure. *wink!* You can’t quite see it, but it’s there…in the brutal but exhilarating form of confronting the pain with any and all resolve that you can muster. Sounds exhausting, right? Unbelievably.
It’s truly refreshing, though. Shaving my head, I mean. I can start over. New growth. The plan is to grow my hair out as long as I can, and dreadlock it. With help this time (it is something I have attempted and undone several times…can never get the back of my head right). It’s healthy to have goals! I’ll have wraps, and beads and funky colours. Maybe even wool inserts, but my hair is pretty thick as is.
It has been quite a transition. I spent about a week unable to leave the house (which is actually much less time than some previous episodes I have had of being housebound…yay!), but for the most part have coped decently enough. Plus, I’m a flipping badass for doing it.
It DID happen, this post is not a lie. The following has not been altered in any way. Behold Baldy McBalderson:
(Please note the paper emojis on the wall, made by my daughter and hung on our family tree… 😍💩😭 pretty accurately describes this my feelings toward the matter…nice foresight, daughter of mine!)
The good news is that the salve has proven to be very helpful when it comes to restricted muscle/fascia/nerves/joints. I have only had two days or so of trials on my scalp since I ran out of salve shortly after shaving, but I have already noticed improvement. Rehabilitating my muscles and training my bones where to go has been difficult, but I’m definitely well on my way.
Recovery from these injuries is by far one of the hardest things I have ever done. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell, but…it’s worth it.