Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If I Had a Million Dollars

Baby fuzz. Say the words and hearts start melting. See that soft, fine hair on an infant’s head and your hand automatically reaches out to touch, pat, or pet. Oohs and ahhs and a drawn-out “aw” spontaneously slip from your mouth.

Now imagine that same soft, fine hair on the balding head of a grown woman. On me.

In my world, talks of baby fuzz mean I have a spot of new hair growth. My baby fuzz is soft, but not cute. Certainly not ooh-and-ahh inspiring or aw-worthy. More like patchy. Well, more like one small patch on the left side of my scalp. Or a handful of hairs at my hairline. The hairs are blonde, fine, sparse. They come and they go, to where I don’t know. I don’t see them on the inside of my scarf, the pañuelo of the day. I don’t see them at the bottom of my shower drain or on my pillow. They just disappear.

I know better than to get excited about baby fuzz on my head. But I can’t help but be curious—what if? I find myself studying my head in the mirror. Touching, patting, petting it. Wondering: What if it were to grow back? What would I do?

It’s like playing the lottery. I know the odds are low, but even so, even when I forget to buy a ticket, I still like to think—what if? If I had a million dollars, ten million, a hundred million, what would I do? How would I spend it?

Of course I can’t know for sure until it happens. But I have a rough plan, at least for the lottery winnings.

For the hair, I have no such plan. If it did grow back–and I know people who’ve experienced re-growth–I wouldn’t know what to do.

It’s been so long since I’ve had hair, I no longer remember what to do with it. A couple of weeks ago my cousin asked me to put a new clip in the back of her hair and I froze. Do I grab all the hair with the clip or only a portion of it? Do I use my hands or is the clip grip sufficient?

I look at my niece’s long hair and I don’t remember how to twist it into a French braid.

I don't remember how much prep time to allow for hairstyling. I don't even own a blow-dryer. Or a curling iron. Or a snag-free ponytail holder.

But that’s not the hard part. I would relearn hair care if it came to that.

The hard part would be trusting a brush not to tug the hair right out of my scalp. I don't know if I could highlight my hair or perm or cut it ever again and not worry that it would cause a bout of hair loss. I would be afraid to wash it.

The hard part would be relaxing enough to let someone touch my hair. I don't know if I could allow a man to run his fingers through it or a small child comb it without wanting to check their hands, the ground, my head for loose hairs.

The hard part would be believing my hair would still be attached to my head when I woke up.

The hard part would be figuring out who I was all over again—with hair. After spending so much time learning to embrace myself without it.

I used to ask the Universe every day to give me my hair back. Now I’m not sure I could handle it. Even more important, I’m not sure I’d want it.

Better to have something I'm prepared for, like the million dollars.

© 2009 Christy Bailey


Katie said...

Girl, it is a pain to blow dry my long hair every morning. I love my hair, BUT it takes me 20 minutes to blow dry. Before that I have to put lotions and potions in to make my hair look presentable. How I would love to have a shorter hairstyle, but I don't look good with short hair. Maybe U need to start wearing scarves! :) How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? Is it sometimes hard to choose a scarf to wear? Are they hard to put on? I've not really ever worn a scarf on my head before, so I am curious.

socalmommy said...

i too have had alopecia since I was little and i never thought about how i would be if it ever grew back...i would be a lot like you described yourself i imagine. funny thing is that i have a 3 yr old daughter and I always have trouble fixing her hair for preschool - i don't know how to style hair right because i never had to do it for myself...

mojee said...

i would think that alopecia is less challenging the older you get. children under 10 probably feel bad but are distracted by playing and growing. teens probably suffer the most because they already have slef-esteem issues. women in their 20's see themselves through the eyes of frat boys. as you get closer to my age {60's) then the million dollars sounds more appealing. my age group does'nt care and i would gladly trade places with an alopecian. your title reminds me of peter,paul and mary song "if i had a million dollars." i think there is a song for every reason. hmmmmm.

Joanne said...

Ah, a million dollars..... So much good one could do with a mil! I'm glad you'd at least think twice about spending all on trying to get hair....


Great comments! I'd take the money over the hair any day, but then I am not starting out with hair. And I wouldn't use any money to get hair, but rather to raise awareness about women without hair. Of course there would have to be a villa of sorts, preferably in Italy, or Spain, or some lovely mountain town in the US, or all of the above. HQ for the awareness!