And... well... yes, I have been procrastinating... but you can understand why right?
The anniversary of that fateful day came and went... June 25th 2010... when the first bald patch appeared.
Do you know it still moves me to tears? God it's so painful...
Who'd have thought it would still have so much power?
I've just looked back at my posts:
16 November 2010 : Images of the progressive hair loss
20 May 2011: More images
Staring at those pictures and reading my words - dang! I remember exactly how fragile I was feeling.
Utterly devastated, humiliated and completely helpless. I tried everything to keep that hair on my head. *sigh*
And you know - I am still in tears as I type this. I have been avoiding giving an update because giving you an update means reliving that hell. Losing my hair was my public hell - for everyone to see. Whenever I left my house.
I felt totally naked. Stripped. ... and most of all I felt ugly.
Losing my hair brought me 'face-to-face (funny that) with my own face. And I hated it. I've never felt particularly pretty, I'm short.... I have puffy eyes... a huge forehead... and old acne scars... and did I mention that I'm short ... and my eyes are HUGE (tennis balls - one brother called them, 'frying pan eyes' the other brother would joke).
All of that stared me straight in the face. Every damned day.
No longer could I draw confidence from :
"Ok so I may be plain Jane but at least my hair looks good today. I'm gon' work it girl!"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I idolised my hair but I sure as heck hid behind it. I drew comfort from it. Whether it was relaxed and cut in a Halle Berry-like pixie cut or natural and curling up all over the place. It was mine, it was me and I'm sorry India - but I WAS MY HAIR.
It was an undeniable part of me.
It had been every where I had been and seen everything I'd seen.
When I was ill - it lost weight with me, thinning at the roots... and when I recovered, so did my hair, growing thick and lustrous once more. Even my locs bore witness to my testimony:
that funny old loc with the skinny middle? Oh that showed where I had been strong and healthy (fat tip), then had a baby (skinny middle section caused by post partum shedding), then recovered (strong fat root).
I loved every freaky little lump and bump - even the unruly bunching!
My hair told my story :
"yes dear, right here is where I defiantly stopped braiding and banding and my hair bunched up like mad (tut tut)".
My hair was MY STORY.
And then it was gone.
And ... no lie people... it felt like a deep part of me was gone too. Maybe forever.
For months I clung to the fragile hope that my hair would grow back. And everyday the stark naked truth staring me in the face was... BALD.
Not even peach fluff. You could ice skate on it - it so smooth and empty. I think a really good word would be 'Barren'; like a wasteland. Empty. Incapable of sustaining life. At least that's how it felt.
I hid from cameras and almost constantly wore a scarf (cold weather feels like a painful vice to a bald head - it gave me headaches!).
I graduated from scarves to wigs and back again. On a good day, I'd rock the old head (ie bald head) but it wasn't a fav look of mine, simply because I hated it so much.
No matter how many people would say "Oh you look stunning"; I couldn't hear it, and I couldn't see it because this wasn't a hairstyle I chose (like Amber Rose or Alek Wek) this was something imposed on me over which I had no control and I hated it.
By the end of the first year I made peace with 'the old head', I would love it even if it never birthed another strand of hair again ever! My emotional skin thickened - I didn't care so much when people pointed or stared. I learned to hold my head up again and stride with a little swag in my step - when for so long I had been scurrying along hoping the pavements would swallow me up before anyone noticed me (or it).
I left my banking job and started on a path of rediscovery.
Who is The Bajan Lily? Could I even remember? And what makes her happy?
And so I went home (to Barbados) and surrounded myself with MY family (& frenz!!!) and MY (kind of) people; and I sat on sandy beach and swam in crystal clear waters with silver fish, and walked barefoot across green pastures and ate good food and read good books and played with my children and my friends' children and chatted incessantly with old friends and... I started to remember who the hell I was and what I was capable of.
I could STILL BE ME just a different me. A me-with-no-hair, yes, but it didn't mean that I had to give up my dream of becoming a (superduperfantastic) Sisterlocks Consultant. Sure, it would be harder to build a portfolio when you're as bald as your client's bottom, having locs to showcase helps close the deal in 9 out of 10 case but I would just have to learn to be the best bald-headed consultant in London.
Years ago, something happened that almost killed me, I was completely crushed and felt as though I would never get up again, I had been knocked so far down... and I remember I had a dream about a dealer and a deck of cards. God was the dealer and 4 cards were placed face down before me.
I woke up before I turned those cards over but I knew that it didn't really matter what those cards were. The message was that no matter what cards I was dealt - my attitude would determine my altitude. The only way to work my way back up from where I had been beat down was to 'play my hand the best I could'. I took that message and ran with it.
I came back from the dead then... and I chose to come back again this time. I printed out a picture of random cards and wrote on it "These are the cards God dealt me, I'm gonna play my hand as best I can" and I looked at it and drew strength from that every day for over 2 years.
I did everything I could to strengthen myself.
Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physical and holistically.
By resigning from Investment Banking I got rid of a major source of stress, strife and contention for me (you can't have two kids back to back and not expect war!lol)
I started training as a Holistic Therapist specialising in Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Massage and Reflexology. I learned so much about how the body is such a fine tuned wonder and how all the systems on the body depend on and interact with eachother - anything that knocks one system off-balance will invariably lead to a manifestation of dysfunction or disorder somewhere (sometimes sooner rather than later!). I had a new objective, now I wanted to be the most BALANCED BALD-HEADED CONSULTANT in LONDON. (Oh yes, I'm competitive). Weekly treatments were a standard part of training - my Lord what a blessing!
Compare these two baldo pics. The first was more of a grimace than a smile (2010, and hating the hairloss). The second is a genuine smile that came with acceptance and the decision that 'hair or no hair - I would still rise".
(if you've managed to read this far - give yourself a pat on the back! Thwap! That one's from me.)
By August 2011, armed with a strengthened mind, balanced body and empowered spirit - SOMETHING STARTED TO HAPPEN (click below).
31 October 2011: New Growth
Y'all remember that post eh? Gosh - what a different space I was in!
And growth was coming in many different forms: my hair, my business, my skill set... my confidence and self-esteem...
Let me tell the rest of this story by sharing these photos cos I feel like I've been talking forever - in fact I'm sure I've done more than enough talking for today especially since His Royal Highness (HRH) aka the husband is starting to give me bad looks...
The journey isn't over yet, I still don't have a full head of hair but I want to share something else:
Last August, when I told my Pastor about what was happening (not that he couldn't see for himself lol) he prayed over an oil blend I made and we did an experiment.
NB: As regular followers of this blog are aware, the 'map of Africa lizard shape' (kinda down the middle of my head) started to grow first with the usual TLC I was giving my head ie no affirmations, no prayers, just time and hope :)
To the left side of my head I would apply the oil blend (every day) and I would give thanks that every hair on my head is numbered and declare that my whole body would work in accordance with God's divine will.
To the right side of my head I would have topical-immuno therapy treatments, applied at a specialist hospital as part of their medical trials - once a month.
Fact: the left side of my head started to regrow hair before the right side.
Fact: the left side of my head has fuller coverage than the right side.
Fact: due to the first two facts above, the left side of my head has longer hair than the right side.
This is my testimony.
That is all.
(click on the photos to enlarge)
The 'Blooming' Bajan Lily
WELCOME TO THE TAPESTRY OF ME....
These are my words and this is my journey, from 'there to hair'!
My life, the lessons learned in and through love and loves ones; and my hair affairs.