Whatever Makes You Happy
I see thinning hair everywhere. In the salon and behind the chair, I see all versions ranging from thick, medium, thinning, visibly thinning, to balding. For those clients, there is always a remedy, a snake oil, laser, crazy cap, stem cells or something that is available to try or buy.
The longest and most painful consultations I have in the salon are with women who are experiencing hair loss. It begins with their story and most always go something like this...
”My hair loss is related to this event, or that event or I did this or started doing that.” Once I begin my investigation, I ask questions and try to get honest answers that will lead to whether the causes are genetic, medical, indeed related to an event or drug and how to help them proceed. I'm not a medical doctor. I'm their hair doctor.
Most often, we deduce that what they are experiencing is genetic – thinning hair passed down from some familial chromosome. Most often it’s not thyroid, or a stress event – though these are real and do happen and DO make people lose their hair.
Our society has shown us that women don’t, simply can’t, lose their hair and IF they do, there must be something wrong with them. So, then we feel we must armor ourselves and protect ourselves from the shame and judgment we feel from others. We often arm ourselves with lies, shame and sadness about what is happening to us. Too often, women create opportunities to stay home and out of view. Why go out and subject yourself to looks and ridicule when you already feel so small?
Usually, after narrowing in on the culprit, the reason and the pain around it, I’m way past the 15 minute Salon Consultation. Now we are nearing 30 minutes and time is running out for me to actually cut my client's hair. It's time to get REAL – real about how I can help you, real about what you can do within your budget, real about how to slow the process, how to keep the hair you have, and real about the fact that hair is not going to grow back at all in some areas. Finally, and most importantly, it's time to get REAL about your life.
Life CAN. NOT. STOP. because you are losing your hair. I'm not pulling a tough love and turning on my heel. I'm right there with you. You've got a life to live and you deserve for it to be as big as you want it to be.
I am very open about my hair loss with friends, because it has bothered me for so long. Let me tell you: there is something to the fact that the truth will set you free. Most often my friends say they don’t notice and don’t care. They tell me things…give me compliments and they show me kindness and love. I painstakingly point out my balding areas without shame and they look, and say, “OK” or “Oh, I see.” And then we move on. It's the same with my man. He has never once shamed or humiliated me about my vulnerability. He doesn’t care about it. He cares about me, our kids and our lives together.
This vulnerability thing works both ways. There you are afraid and ashamed of yourself because of what you think people are thinking of you. And your friends and loved ones are nervous and afraid to mention anything to you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. We live in this Shame Exchange that is not helping anyone MOVE ON from this issue. Sometimes, it's the unspoken that keeps women from trying a new product or saying, it's time for a wig.
Because of my work with women who are balding or have thinning hair, I see the toll it takes on their spirit, their sense of themselves and their outlook.
My advice is always the same:
Get information - this is from your hair doctor and your medical doctor.
Explore your options based on where you are in the thinning process and what you think you can sustain.
Be true to who you are and your life - not just your lifestyle.
And the most important, identify what will make you happy. What are your goals, your fears, your hopes and dreams and how can you live a big life and not let thinning hair be what identifies you.
That’s what it’s all about. Not get out there!