Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rapunzel Loses her Hair, a "Grim" Fairy Tale


About 6 months ago I noticed something disturbing: my once thick & healthy locks were lank and lackluster, ponytail skinnier than it used to be, and an obvious thinning around my hairline. First, I panicked. After all, I am known for my hair, it's how I identify myself, it's my thing. Ever since I was a little girl with a pixie haircut, I have dreamed of long hair. Once I was old enough to take care of it myself, I let it grow..and grow..and grow...It's been waist to hip length for all of my adult life. So, the thought of losing it terrified me. After the initial freak-out, turned to my family, inquired if they noticed a change. It wasn't just me, they confirmed it. Thinner, yes, and more hair in the sink, shower, sprinkled around the white tile floors. Internet research suggested several culprits: Stress, Hormones, Hypothyroidism, and/or Chemical Abuse. So, I went to my GP and had my thyroid checked. Negative. Visited the dermatologist who blamed it on age and suggested that I just accept it as a part of getting older...umm...Hell, no! Went to the health food store and bought $40 worth of vitamins. Made an appointment with my hairdresser and switched to a gentler hair color, got a really good trim. Tried to relax more, started taking better care of myself. And, the biggie: went off hormonal birth control and had a tubal. (Yeah, my hair, and health in general, is that important to me.) Through all of this I've also done some soulsearching about why my long hair is so important to me, why I am so terrified of not only losing it but of losing my very identity. I didn't find out anything I didn't already know: basically, my hair represents my sexuality. No matter how fat/thin, ugly/cute, old/young I am, my hair makes me feel sexy and beautiful. It's something different about me, my best feature, my shining glory. I guess that women who have other unique attributes must feel the same way, don't they? I can't speak for anyone else, but this is the truth about me. I don't know what would happen should I lose my hair or have to cut it, I'm sure I would manage and find a way to deal with it. After all, it's "just" hair..I am sure that I'd find a way to feel sexy and desirable..but you know what? I don't want to face that, not yet.

So, I continue to take the vitamins, de-stress as best I can, pamper what hair I have left..and still watch more strands than I'm comfortable with fall into the sink. The shedding has definitely slowed down but I'm probably 1/3 thinner overall than I used to be. *shrug* I'm still Rapunzel, my hair still defines me, but there is more to me than my tresses. No matter what, it'll be ok, I'll still be me. I know this, really I do. Right?

18 comments:

Julie said...

I am a long haired girl as well...well sort of! You see, I am the typical horse crazy, blonde, fairly tall girl who has always had cornsilk thin straight hair. Oh how I dreamed of long luxurous locks... but once it past my shoulders, it just looked terribly stringy. I had oily hair on top of that to make it look bad.

My solution?? Well I first bought one of those long straight pony tails that you clip onto your own pony tail. Everyone loved it - especially my husband. I wore it for a year! Next, I ran into a friend who was now a hairdresser and she introduced me to extensions. Let me say up front that they are quite pricey and there are some draw backs...but nothing seems to outweight the feeling I had the first time I saw myself after she put in the 22" golden locks. My mouth dropped open and I exclaimed, "OMG - I am fu**ing Barbie!!!!"

Excuse my "French"...but I totally understand the sensuality of long sexy hair and as long as I can, I will not go without it!

Rapunzel said...

Julie, LOL, I can imagine your delight! Don't we all secretly want to be Barbie? ;-)

Aisling said...

Rapunzel, I totally understand how your image is all about your long, sexy locks, but to me you are a curious, vibrant woman. You are all about your passionate, fiery nature and your deep, natural empathy. I've never even seen you in real life, of course, but even if I had, your hair wouldn't represent you to me, your spirit would.

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, Aisling, my dear friend. I believe that you "know" me better than some who have met me in real life, so coming from you this is high praise indeed. :)

xoxoxo

the domestic minx said...

Oh darling, darling girl!!!
Your hair is so beautiful, so long and luscious, I simply cannot believe you when you say it looks lank and lacklustre. I'm sure there's at least 30 million more follicles there than mine!!!
Having said that, it is all relative isn't it...I would notice if more than 10 hairs fell out in a day!!!
There are a number of hair loss causes I imagine, not least of which are the dreaded hormones - and perhaps a general lethargy. Six months after the birth of my first baby I truly thought I was dying of cancer. I was a waif and my hair was falling out in clumps. I looked like death. The doctor told me I had post natal depression whereupon I promptly felt better - so glad I didn't have a mysterious wasting disease!! A bit more self nurturing, some sleep and a decent diet and my hair grew back too!

Long hair is so sexy. It has everything to do with allure.
I do hope it improves for your sake, but to me, your hair is simply stunning and gorgeous, as are you, darling Rapunzel.
And I am horribly jealous!!

xx

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, dear Minx, but there is no need for you to be jealous! Your lovely self does not need waistlength locks, I promise.

Thank you for your sweet words, though, I feel much better now. :)

Susan said...

Hey, M ~

You are not your hair! - as gorgeous and long and vibrant as it is, what those who know you tend to focus on are your spirited personality, your genuine warmth and your natural compassion. I am no presuming to negate your fear... but it need not be - you, whether pixie-cut or ponytailed, are well-loved by all those you touch, in person or through cyberspace... <3

Rapunzel said...

Thank you so much, Susan. *sigh* I know this intellectually, but emotionally...well, I guess that's another matter. xoxoxo

Julie said...

As much as a part of me wants to agree with some of the other comments, I wish to interject something else. I have a friend who lost a breast to cancer. She mourned that loss and it rocked her confidence - her sexual confidence (for a while). People tried to comfort her or at least tried to get her to look at the bigger picture in saying that she could have lost her life. But - You see that breast was a part of who she was as a whole and now for the first time, she had to make due without it.

Change is a part of life and as women, we hate to age...at least this is what the world feeds us, and is what keeps plastic surgeons in business! Some changes are slow and subtle. Some are quick and harsh. Each of us deals with change differently. Do what is right for you and worry not what others think.
((hug))

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, Julie. As much as I realize that hair is, well, "just" hair to many people, it is a huge part of who I am! I certainly wouldn't call myself Rapunzel if it were not. I've done enough soulsearching/therapy to know where it stems from, what it means to me, and I've come to terms with it's importance. I always imagined myself one of those old women with a long gray braid and still fully intend to be such. If in the meantime my brown braid is a bit thinner, I'm still hanging onto it. I'm not willing to go back to a pixie just yet...it simply is not who I am.

Thank you for understanding! While I realize that your friend's loss of her breast is not even comparable to my hair, I do understand the comparison, and the feeling of loss. Isn't loss of hair what many cancer patients mourn, after all?

Jen said...

My hair makes me nuts too. I just blogged about it as a matter of fact. I think there are little things in life as traumatic as losing your hair!

Rapunzel said...

Jen, very true! Now, I have searched your blog and can't find a hair reference, what am I missing? :-/

Jen said...
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Jen said...
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Domestic Chicky said...

As a "professional" :) , I have alwasy reccommended the Nioxin line of products for my clients who wanted longer hair faster...it is manily marketed to men with thinning hair, but it make a big difference in the rate of growth if it has been slowed down by any of the reasons you listed. It's amazing what some doctors dodn't tell theri patients about the effect of hormones on hair...

Domestic Chicky said...

By the way, I identify myself as a long (curly) haired person as well, and around Christmas time decided to cut it to my neckline as it had thinned out so much after my youngest was born. ACK! It grows pretty fast, but it has become something I just tie up or get out of my face til it grows out. You can't mess with your mind's eye!!!

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, Domestic Chicky. I am searching right now to find that line of products.

xoxoxo