The early afternoon lighting was perfect, the sky bright after a day of rain and threatening weather. The Hair Lounge was quiet; apparently it was lunch hour. Angie squeezed my appointment in after my Tuesday appointment was rescheduled. While not the Friday night, shampooing-and-relaxation experience I’ve recounted here before, this hair appointment was still therapeutic, and less dramatic.
Our conversation hovered around my trip to Argentina, the experience, how I was incorporating what I learned there and from that trip. We decided to keep growing my hair out on the side and keep one side short, shaved.
We laughed together about the Instagram photo I posted just a week earlier for #throwbackThursday of me with a shaved head. She admitted to at first being frustrated, thinking it was a recent photo, when in fact it was from years ago in Knoxville.
She put the finishing touches on my hair.
“How long has this been here, or do you know about it?”
Sitting in the ever-so-comfortable salon chair, half smiling, I didn’t know what Angie was talking about.
“You have a bald spot,” she said.
“Wait… does it look like from being pulled?” I said, smiling sheepishly.
“No, though I’m sure that’s a good story,” she replied.
She asked if I’d experienced any dietary changes or shifts, or if my cycle was off. No, I hadn’t, beyond whatever shock my system felt when coming back to the U.S. after Argentina. Our conversation moved, gently, slowly, to alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss on the head and body.
The beaming smile I had from my new haircut—which wasn’t much, as I think we’re ironically growing it out a bit—began to fade. She encouraged me to talk to a local acupuncturist who works around the corner and sees other clients with similar conditions or issues. Apparently, though, if this is alopecia, it can be unpredictable, and change.
I scheduled my next appointment and rode back to work. Hair loss? Whoa.
But among this momentary sense of panic at losing my big head of thick hair—an aspect of myself that I allow to feed my identity, my ego and my image, for whatever it’s worth—I found a sense of peace and calm. Maybe it’s a freak reaction to an intense medication. Maybe it’s alopecia, or maybe it’s something greater that will require major dietary and lifestyle changes. Maybe it’s stress.
Regardless of the cause, it’s nothing I can change right now. I can accept that I might have moments of panic at not knowing what’s wrong, or going through trials of trying this or that, or just practicing patience—like right now. But I DO know that I’m OK with being bald, if it should ever come to that, and I happen to really like my head without a lot of hair. And I know I can make major lifestyle changes if I need to.
I’m OK as I am, with or without a “cute little bald spot” or a full head of hair, as a friend put it. A missing patch of hair is the last thing I should worry about…even if one day it means going to the salon to just get an updated buzz cut.
Till then, I will watch my LBP—now nicknamed Lil Bald Patch—and keep calm, being grateful for the abundant, other precious hairs on my head.