Fill Your Head With Hair
Yesterday someone here told us that one of the reasons she decided to recover from her eating disorder was because her hair started to fall out, and she loved her hair. “It was pure vanity. I was losing the ONE thing I loved about myself.”
I think anything that gets you into recovery is a great thing, even if it is “vanity.”
I was not motivated by hair loss. If anything, I welcomed it. I have very thick, frizzy, unruly hair and the eating disorder made it thinner, which meant it took less time to wash and blow dry. It also looked damaged and dry and gross. But I was totally ok with that. It matched the rest of me.
Something they don’t tell you is that your hair keeps falling out when you’re in recovery. Your body is fed; it finally has sufficient energy to let go of old hair and grow new ones. The result is this fantastic halo of baby whisps that surround your face and neck and stick out at all angles over every inch of your head. It is a sight to behold. I call it Hallelujah Hair. The base of my neck looks like some strange, long, scraggly, backward beard. Highly attractive.
Nothing about this process is making me feel even remotely attractive.
Every time I wash my hair it falls out in clumps. I am desperate for new shampoo and conditioner. Something that helps with hair loss, but not Rogaine because I don’t think that’s my problem. After all, my dad and maternal grandfather still have all their hair. Yes I’m bragging about my genetics. Which is ridiculous. Like those people who brag because they’re tall.
My hair isn’t really the issue. Feeling ugly is the bigger issue. But even feeling ugly isn’t REALLY the issue. Ask any woman. Living in a culture where “thin” and “pretty” have become almost synonymous with success and importance feels like going to war every single day. We don’t wear makeup, we wear war paint. Hairspray is our helmet, designer purses are our shields. How does anyone feel successful in a world where even cover models don’t actually look like cover models (Hello, Photoshop)?
I’m not good at much, but I was excellent at my eating disorder. I need to figure out something else that I’m good at; something else to help me feel successful and important. I need to know that physical beauty is an impossibly subjective moving target. I need to remember that I wasn’t sent here to be perfect. I want so badly to like myself in any small way. That’s so hard to do when I’ve spent years being my own bully, and hearing the world scream,
“There’s no such thing as too pretty, too smart, too rich, or too thin.”
My sistahs, can I get an AMEN? (And maybe some new shampoo . . . )