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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rapunzel has left the building

Life happens. That's not a cliche because whether you actually move yourself or stand still... There's nowhere to go but onward, into the future. I remember when I was a little girl, many "grown-ups" said it was rude to ask a woman her age yet my mother never hid hers. She was a young mom and has always looked even younger. I remember on one of my mom's birthdays, I wondered if she was afraid of getting "old" (she was probably all of 30...) and my mom declared, "well, it sure beats the alternative!". And that was that. My mom is a happy person, young in spirit, heart, and mind. I always knew that every year of life was something to be proud of and I will follow her and never hide my age.  I hope to be a proud "old" woman someday!

I muse a lot about being happy and about living the choice of  "just being happy". Happy about nothing.  Happy about myself, about my life, my choices. Leading a happy life requires teetering on a fine line sometimes.  I don't think it matters where you come from, how much money you have or how healthy you are, at any given stage or milestone in your life, you choose the path to the right or the path to the left. There's plenty to cry about and fair reason to be mad or upset and sometimes you really do need to cry it out or punch a pillow but the sadness (or anger) doesn't need to stick around.  I was given this life which included a Cancer Detour. There was CANCER and then surgery and then there was chemotherapy. In truth, I didn't have a choice. I had to have chemotherapy.  I had to go through that "yucky" time. I had control of fewer things than I was used to. I let go and let more people in than ever before and I found a lot of new friends and rediscovered old friends. I had to lose my hair. I lost a good part of a year of being healthy and in charge. That element of losing control leaves a mark and all of a sudden, the constant preoccupation with treatment and balancing killing-cancer with not-letting-the-treatment-kill-me is over. Time to move into the next stage which is, regrowth; the rediscovery of everything. Regaining control of my life.

Today, I did something so unrestrained and invigorating. For a while now the hair has been growing back like baby hair yet gray. I know it looks different. Even with my head covering, everyone I see remarks at the growth and it's a huge change from bald! My family and many of my women friends know that I had long, dark, thick hair, down to my waist, before I had it cut and donated it to Zichron Menachem. People who know about chemotherapy and the after effects tell me that my hair will grow back "better than ever" or "it'll grow back and be long as it was in no time".  It's true, the body is a miraculous vessel that rejuvenates and rebuilds but maybe I've moved onwards and that fertile, breast feeding mother, with the Rapunzel hairdo doesn't exist anymore. She was alright. She was cool. She's in there somewhere... Just not exactly the same. Honestly, part of me is afraid to grow the Rapunzel-do only to (G-d forbid) relapse and need chemo again. I don't know if I could handle a second head-shaving party with the festivity that I did the first time. Let's not go there. My close friend, Efrat, introduced me to her hairdresser today.  I could've let my hair grow. I could've waited around for it to change or not, or I could've tried to dye it back to my previous color. The whole hair thing is all somewhat superficial. Hair color. Hair style. I keep my hair covered most of the time anyways and it's always tucked away in public. With hair this short, some of it always peeps out as careful as I strive try to be to cover it up, it's out there making a statement. She recently finished chemotherapy or something happened to this woman in her thirties with the wispy gray hair. Perhaps the only statement is the one in my head? I dunno. I decided to do something completely uncharacteristic of me. Very bold, drastic, and yet so liberating and empowering! I decided to have my hair peroxided platinum blond and neatly trimmed. One year ago, there's no way I would've considered this look! No way! ...and now here I am. Just another choice, frivolous, yet something about it feels optimistic, hopeful, different, and happy.

Hair itself is nonessential and cosmetic, its not alive, it's symbolism is physical. Symbolically, hair represents the ideas and thoughts that are growing out from the psyche. Hair loss can symbolize abandoned ideas, loss of creativity, helplessness, loss of power or control, and loss of energy. Loss. Loss. Loss.

When you think of losing hair it's usually a manifestation of a very stressful situation... something that people say when they feel like they're losing their grip; "pulling hair out" or "losing hair" due to stress. Don't forget the story of Samson, who lost his strength and his life. Hair is so much more than dead cells sprouting from thousands of follicles all over the body.  Women of various religions hide it. The loss of hair symbolizes loss of strength, illness, and old age as does graying of the hair. On the optimistic side of hair, in dreams, hair and hair changes hold powerful subconscious messages and imagery. If you dream that you make drastic changes to your hairstyle, according to the celestial "science" of dream interpretation, it means that you are taking a progressive, new approach to an issue in your waking life and what a fabulous idea that is!  Why not? No better time than now to make a positive external change to mirror what I feel on the inside.


  1. Michelle Kemp-NordellFriday, May 10, 2013

    I love it!!! You are rocking the platinum hair.

  2. You look fabulous! New hair, same radiant eyes and dazzling smile as before. Thank you for your posts. They fill me with wonder and hope as I watch you live with grace. I know your Uncle Larry and am one of the many friends and patients he talks to about his amazing, strong neice. -erica