This Is a Story of Loss, Hair and Otherwise. (Or, How My Vanity Saved My Self.)
Stress: It's a helluva drug.
Let's take it back, an early #tbt if you will. It compounded last year. I was the most stressed I'd ever been in my 31 years. The culprit? Family.
Family was never really my thing, ya know? But it became a thing last year, in a major way.
To be brief, there were people close to me making life decisions that I, as a relationship coach and generally caring human, felt were extremely detrimental to their future and emotional and mental well-being. I felt helpless that I could not change their minds, I felt hopeless that they wouldn't see what they were doing to themselves, I felt as if I had failed as a person, in life, and in purpose. I was locked in a savior psychology.
If I couldn't save/help my family, how could I even think I could save my clients. My readers. Myself?
Add to that the fact that my financial state had been rapidly deteriorating since I'd taken a job with a pay cut that severely undermined my ability to fund basic needs in life (buy groceries, fix my car, pay for dental). Picture painted?
Cut to one morning in the spring of this year. There I was, doing my morning thang, staring in the mirror while getting ready for work, and something caught my eye. I leaned in a bit closer to observe what I didn't want to believe: A bit of a bare spot, right behind my hairline above my temple.
Now, understand that I have a ton of hair. I've always had a ton of big, beautiful, curly, sometimes-straightened, dark, richly wild hair. It was always a topic of conversation. It was always a maze, as complex and slick and deep as I was. It was sometimes difficult to manage, knotted easily, and detangled even more easily with the right care. It's been treated and dyed and relaxed to change it's core, but I've always loved it best when left alone to grow naturally. It was always a source of distinction. A presence. And to me, the bigger the better.
So the extra scalp I thought I saw didn't compute. It wasn't a possibility. It wasn't me.
Disclaimer: I'm about to go real deep on the meaning of this and get all astrology nerd on you. (Hey, this was an emotional realization. It required a deep dive.) Walk with me...
I'm a Leo rising. Leos, the sign of the lion, are identified by and with their hair (think lion's mane). Your rising sign indicates the way people perceive you, the mask you show the world. That is to say, I love my hair, and it's how other people notice me. It quite possibly enters the room before I do when it's down and in its full glory. I've had guys use it as a pickup line. If I style it differently, people won't recognize me, as if I am not separate from my 'do. My mother would tell me to "tone it down," that I shouldn't wear my hair so big so as not to intimidate people (i.e., play small and not outshine her or anyone else). My hair is kind of a thing.
In the zodiac, Leo corresponds to the 5th house of creativity, self-expression, true love and fun/pleasure. It also corresponds to the sun, the nucleus of it all. Our light, our source of energy, the thing that makes the world wake up and grow. The planet we'd die without.
Putting two and two together, Leo is represented by my hair and its health, which in turn relates to my creative self-expression that's in accordance to my true loves and passions. And this ability to creatively self-express is an essential part of the fuel that is my life source.
In sum, my hair is a BFD of a symbol of my self expression, power, and existence. And I was losing it.
My current state had gotten away from me and I had lost something of myself in the process. I had taken on too much, and with worries that weren't mine to take. I was sacrificing who I was and was playing small, and that sh*t was getting OLD.
To the point that my body was legit like, "If you don't get your authentic ass in gear, I am literally taking all of your hair." Gone. Done. Poof (or, poof-no-more, in my frizzy case).
Welp, I couldn't give up my hair. I couldn't go bald. I couldn't lose me.
So, after 9 months of bouquets and strands and haystacks of hair started rapidly abandoning my head, I got my authentic ass in gear.
I minimized toxic, deeply entangled relationships.
I dropped my obsession with being the savior.
I quit my job.
I said no.
I gave up lifelong never-to-be-fulfilled hopes.
I experienced many losses and I mourned.
I stopped strictly defining the how's and the should's of my life.
I let go.
And then, a few weeks later, I quietly felt better. I gave just slightly fewer f*cks. I felt more me.
The other day, after gingerly finger-combing my strands while staring in the mirror and wondering how bad this would have to get before it started to turn around, I caught the beginnings of new baby-hair growth.
Hair loss has a 6 week to 3 month delayed response, so here's to big hair this holiday season.