Who knew shaving my head would be a defining moment? I certainly didn’t. While I honestly don’t think your hair (or looks for that matter) should define you, I’ve had more than a few defining moments since losing my hair and adopting a new approach to living and loving life with an invisible illness (or two)!
- NO, I haven’t lost my mind, just my hair;
- YES, the new hairstyle is medically related;
- YES, my condition and treatment (or lack of) is frustratingly still ongoing, if I had hair I’d probably be figurately and literally pulling it out;
- NO, I don’t need medical or health advice;
- YES, I had a lot of hair to start with;
- YES, you can rub my head (just ask first);
- NO, I haven’t bleached or dyed my hair 50 shades of grey;
- YES, my hair is that white and grey;
- YES, I will continue to be out of character and share all the selfies.
HAIR LOSS – WTAF?!
Not that my approach of late is a real indication but I’m not really a fan of selfies. There are however a number of valid reasons why I’ve been in selfie oversharing mode of late. Mainly though, I think it means I may very well need an attitude adjustment. I’ll let you decide.
You see, it’s kind of like the time, a year or so back, when I spent 6 months in hibernation mode because health issues and meds saw me stack on the weight, despite being on a restricted healthy diet and exercising 5 to 6 times a week. When I did venture out, to support local designers at an event, several acquaintances basically looked straight through me. Mostly due to not recognising me because I’d kept that side of me offline and hidden away. I’d effectively become the invisible woman.
When the ball dropped that it was actually a much larger version of me, most people basically did a double take, commenting about the lack of recognition before adding a disapproving look up and down. This was followed closely by an offering up of diet and exercise advice or another disapproving look if I ventured anywhere near the grazing table. It made me feel about an inch small which in reality made me feel even larger.
I remember coming back from that event, putting myself in social media timeout and then unfollowing a number of people I’d supported online (and off) over the years, on my return because I was already being hard on myself. Even though I knew people meant well, I didn’t need any outside influence in that too hard on myself aka judgemental department. Which may seem petty in a social media sense but it was another defining moment that made me take a step back and take a look at loyalty (online and off) that was perhaps rather one-sided and now obligation based.
Recently, after suffering continued hair loss and finally accepting the hair dye was making matters worse (will explain that in more detail later), I took what a lot are calling a brave (I prefer bold) move and allowed hubby to shave my head during one of our in-home date nights. If I’m honest the boldness (and baldness) on my part only arrived when a custom-made wig, like my old hairstyle, arrived at my door.
I initially took to wearing that wig (above) but it wasn’t exactly sitting right with me figuratively or literally. I’d blistered up following the last hair dying session at the hairdressers and my scalp needed time and air to heal. The wig wasn’t helping and I would arrive at most events at melting point in need of a cold shower or someone following me around with a fan.
Which isn’t that much different to what was actually happening when I had hair. You see my hair, was in fact, in rather bad condition. While it looked great after a treatment and styling session at the hairdressers, to get half as close to the same look and cover the patches and loss at home, it would take me a good hour or two to do and a lot of the time I hardly wanted to venture out without a balaclava.
The image to the left is my hair (in a possible wind tunnel) after a trip to the hairdresser. The middle image is my sometimes daily hair loss and the third image is me hot and bothered, losing in the disguising how bad things are with the hair game.
When you’re low on time and energy (hello Hashimoto’s) to start with, getting out the door looking semi-reasonable can be a huge struggle. It mostly means you’re already on the back foot in the time and energy department before you’ve even left the house.
There was also the grey factor and you only need to look at my shaved hair to realise how extensive it is. I suspected as much because I dealt with the regrowth factor and hiding it. Generally, 2 to 3 weeks after dying. I did take measures like coloured hair mouse to drag the dying sessions out to 5 weeks but that approach kind of left me up shit creek without a paddle if it rained on me or I had a hot under the collar menopausal meltdown. Because the colour was not too far from a shitty brown that ran all down my face and clothing when you added water (or sweat). Not a good look.
Unlike the weight gain where I kept things offline, even before I made the decision to ditch the wig, I took the unusual approach of sharing the results with an endless stream of selfies. Kind of a way to forewarn and pave the way for when I ventured out.
Much like the weight gain, the hair loss and finally taking control of the situation by ditching the wig and my over-combing/over-styling (that was leaving me exhausted in a pool of sweat by the time I got out the door), certain people felt the need to have an opinion on the matter and some even sent me wigs anonymously.
Opinionated old me, who comes from a long line of opinionated folk, kind of gets it but only to a point. As such, I initially took to asking my plus ones at local events if they would prefer for me to wear a wig and I shied away from certain people and events. Thankfully my plus ones were encouraging and the bulk of the response from family and friends was positive and supportive because I actually loved the new look and the benefits that came with having no hair to play with, a whole lot more than I ever thought possible. You could say, given all the selfie-sharing since, I’m loving myself sick!
- Less product. Although, I occasionally forget and end up in a lather.
- Don’t need a brush or comb.
- Takes next to no time to get ready.
- No three weekly hairdresser visits to dye the grey.
- Saving a small fortune at the hairdresser (approximately $200+ a month)
- A style that hubby can easily whip into shape with the shears at home when needed or I can head in for a $14.50 no. 2 all over;
- You can’t have a bad hair day when you don’t have hair, can you?
- The potential for advertising on the back of my head (stay tuned)!
The Not-So Positive
- I can no longer use ‘I’m washing my hair’ as a get out of jail aka going out free card!
- Looking older than I actually am. Who am I kidding? I’m old as.
- People feel the need to rub my head (without asking).
- The cold factor but given I’m generally menopausally overheating most of the time, that could actually be seen as a positive.
- When I’m puffy thanks to autoimmune swelling, I feel I look like a burly truck driver. Although, nothing against truck drivers as such. I don’t need another advocate group coming at me. I suspect looking like a truck driver will actually be the next big trend. So again, possibly another positive?!
- The questions regarding my health. The assumptions made. One of the big reasons I held off so long with the hair was due to the fact that I didn’t want to look like a sick person and I didn’t have the right wig as a backup. The joys of having an invisible illness like Hashimoto’s (can’t believe I’m saying Joy and Hashi in the same sentence) even if a second condition is making things less invisible, is I don’t generally look that sick. I just look (according to the trolls) like I need to step away from the all you can eat buffet. If only.
Speaking trolls. In my opinion, there is only one thing worse than faceless trolls and that’s when people you know, can see exactly what’s happening and choose to avoid the drama by taking a step back or staying silent. Seriously though, I have an amazing support group that always has my back. Having said that, I’ve never been one to call a tribe or my friends in high places into battle on my behalf and that’s not about to change any time soon. Engaging professionals in a legal capacity… another matter altogether.
Which I should emphasise at this point, the trolling goes well behind me sharing a few selfies with the new no-hair look. If you’ve been playing along, you would know that I’ve been battling trolls and an ongoing hate campaign for some time now. During that time, I’ve actively taken a step back, I’ve distanced myself, turned down sponsored content and deleted my family and friend base on FB to protect them.
I’ve been on a delete and not engage mission online because not everyone has a thick skin like me and no one really needs to see exactly what hits me on an almost daily basis. I’ve employed admin to run things when it all becomes too much, so I can concentrate on more positive things and projects like my charity and palliative care work. I’ve stopped short at deleting my entire online existence.
ONE FINAL WORD (well several hundred actually)
Depending on what day of the week it is, what time of the month, what sponsored posts I’m running, I have trolls coming at me left, right and centre. Losing the hair and sharing images has brought them out of the woodwork lately.
At this point, I would like to thank the handful of people that decided to run for the hills aka unfollow on our FB page after my very first selfie share with the new hair. I prefer that approach if I’m really and truly ticking you off. The ones that reported the image… ‘I love your work’ but seriously just keep scrolling and move right along, it takes much less time and effort. Trust me. I would also like to apologise to those that don’t really want to see that side of me but still stick around regardless. I honestly get it but our FB page has always been a mixed bag. My mixed bag. It’s what I like to call the Mystery Case factor.
At any one time we can have five or six (if not more) demographics feeding into AMC. It means that not everything you see on socials will appeal to everyone. Some of you are here purely for the giveaway side of things. Others might be part of our On the Bookcase virtual book club or our sealed section, which is generally where you’ll find Pieces of Me and more personal posts. There’s also travel, my sit-down comedy (formally I Must Confess), a whole lot of food, entertainment, my keeping it real reviews, our new collaborative series Local Loves and more, always more. Once again… It’s the Mystery Case factor.
Whatever reason you are here, I hope that if something isn’t resonating with you, that is outside your area of interest, you just skip over it. We’ve purposely set our website up so that can happen!
Having a wide scope generally works well here because you come for what you’re interested in and scroll past the rest and the bulk of our audience has a wide interest in things, just like me. This wider than wide approach doesn’t, however, work so well on socials and I’m not keen to be running several different platforms or websites for the bulk of what we do here. It’s one of the biggest reasons we don’t actively encourage our 150k plus visitors each month to follow us on socials (unless they really want to) and prefer that you subscribe to your area of interest (when subscriptions open up) and/or join the relevant FB group, like our closed Aussie Giveaway Club group.
This approach while it suits us, won’t be to everyone’s liking, is certainly no excuse for bad behaviour.
Having a wide area of interests and my finger in several pots at once is essentially who I am. Who I’ve always been. That isn’t about to change and I don’t see the need to go off on several different tangents to niche down on different platforms.
I’ve always maintained that I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I generally don’t look or sound the part but that part is your assumption and your expectation, not mine. I’ve always taken great pride in just being myself first and foremost. Online and off. None of that, however, is an excuse for the trolling and bad behaviour sent my way.
Once again, what I’m offering up, is only a small part of what is actually going on and continuing to be thrown at me in terms of trolling. The trolls would have you believe I enjoy the attention, that I love the drama and playing the victim. Only thing is I’m not playing their game, I’m not signing up for a reality TV program. I don’t see myself as a victim. More of a target. Albeit a moving now rather hairless target!
MY NEXT MOVE?
Let me introduce you to my larger than life, evil twin… I call her ’50 shades of not giving AF’. Seriously though, it is of course, just me waiting for my Henna eyebrows to process while I inflict leg waxing on my youngest daughter for our nominated mother/daughter school holiday activity. I’m good like that. Always mixing it up.
Keep an eye out for my full Henna review next month.
What comes next? Actually, you can decide…. me moving to FUNKY TOWN sounds good. At this point, I’m guessing this post will self-destruct or end up in our sealed section, in 3… 2… 1!