Last winter, I noticed my hair was thinning. Clumps of it were coming out in the shower, flyaway hairs would be all over my clothes throughout the day, and I couldn’t run my fingers through my hair without bringing several hairs along when I retracted my hand. I tried dismissing it as part of getting older — my father was completely bald by the time he hit my age — or told myself that it was attributable to stress, of which I had plenty to deal with at that time. Deep down, though, I knew that it was because I weighed 300 pounds. My hormones were absolutely out of whack, and the nasty chemicals coursing through my body from what I was eating were surely not helping the matter. Stress and aging played a role, I’d say, but they weren’t the culprits.
In late spring and early summer, well into my weight-loss mission, I could see my scalp in the front-center of my head, beyond my hairline. I had to wear hats at the beach or pool; the pony tail wasn’t thick enough to cover my head and protect it from the sun anymore. I had hoped that maybe my situation was reversible and I could go back to having a normal amount of hair, but it didn’t seem to be happening.
In late October, I got the first hair cut I’d had in perhaps a full year, and went shorter than I’d gone in perhaps a full two decades. (Having a neck is fun! You can do stuff like wear your hair short!) It looked better than I had anticipated; I did have some apprehension that it would look scraggly since my hair has gotten so fine, but it worked. The only thing I didn’t love about it was that I couldn’t pull it into a pony tail when I worked out.
Since mid-February, that has changed. I could not only get my hair into a pony tail, but I didn’t even need a sweat band anymore to hold down the ones that were short enough to shake loose. I decided I wanted to keep my hair shorter (about chin length — work-out pony tails be damned!)… and get bangs.
Now, someone with thin hair isn’t usually the best candidate for bangs, but I didn’t care. I had found my photo inspiration and I had booked an appointment, so the train was leaving the station. Worst case scenario, the bangs would turn out awful and I’d just have to spend the next few months pinning them back. I could live with that.
Except I think I’m kinda rocking ’em. 🙂
My face has slimmed down enough that the extra volume at my forehead doesn’t make my face look squat and shapeless. The cut of the bangs actually flatters my features in a way I was a little dubious about going in. But best of all? My hair has recovered. I mean, it’s never going to be as full as it was when I was in my teens and early twenties, but I don’t look in the mirror and see my scalp looking back at me anymore. I’m no longer convinced I’m balding and will be completely hairless within the next 3-5 years. I have enough hair for bangs. They aren’t super thick bangs, but they’re bangs, damn it. And they’re mine. And I love them.
It might seem silly to feel such an emotional pull from something as superficial as a hair style, but to me, it’s a representation of the self-transformation I’ve effected over the past 350 days. My face is totally different now. The blackheads on my nose have vanished. The perpetually wary, exhausted, desperate expression on my face is not the default anymore. My smile looks real instead of wan and constrained by facial fat. I’m even getting new dimples, now that they aren’t plumped out into flatness! NEW DIMPLES! Who knew that was even on the menu?
So, yes, my hair is a big deal to me right now. I have hope that this summer, while I’m lying in the sand or floating in the pool, there may not even be a hat on my head. Just hair from now on.