During my initial six-month course of ABVD chemotherapy treatments, nurses told me that my hair would fall out by the second treatment. For some reason, it hung on for a few treatments beyond that – feeding my false hope that perhaps it wouldn’t fall out at all. Part of me was upset that I had dropped money on a digital perm a few weeks before I was diagnosed. And now, my perfectly wavy long mane was falling down way past my back and into the bathtub drain every time I showered or ran my fingers through. I read up on all kinds of hair-loss prevention techniques like wearing a beanie full of ice on your head while the chemo dripped.
I accepted the reality of hair loss step-by-step. First, I got my thinning hair cropped into a cute and stylish pixie cut by Yelly Brandon. I was so nervous settling into her salon chair for the first time, but Yelly was so compassionate and unafraid to help me. I rocked that pixie hairdo for about ten days before it thinned to almost nothing.
I gave into baldness as if I were channeling a Lifetime Original Movie – spilling out of the shower in a moment of high drama, after crying into my tangled nests of stray follicles, then slathering on clouds of shaving cream and taking it all off with a razor and stealthy resolve.
From that point forward, I owned my baldness. My super dope and generous friend, Ali Wong, even fundraised for me to buy a wig, but the thought of using a prosthetic was too hard a reminder of my loss.
It’s a scary thing to be naked to the world – the rawness of emotion that welled up from inside me on any given day could not be made more playful with a pony tail or softer by letting my hair down. Without even trying, my bald head became frequently mistaken for me being edgy or bold. I lost a sense of control over a balanced expression of emotions that was who I am in the world.
This second time with chemotherapy and hair loss, I decided to move more quickly. At the first signs of thinning, I called up my girlfriends including Melody, who came over with a pair of clippers and did the work of shaving my head. We joked, laughed, filled our bellies with good food afterwards and documented the experience with these pics. Being bald for a second time isn’t any less sad. It sucks. I don’t care that I have a nice head for it. I don’t like everyone commenting on my head everywhere I go – even if they are compliments. Being bald isn’t my choice.
That said, I suppose I’ll make the best of it. At least for me this season, bald is the new black.