Written by Tashira
it took two days before i realized my hair was falling out. i was convinced the black sponge i used to coil the sides of my cropped natural cut was falling apart. little did i know it wasn’t the sponge. chemotherapy had taken its toll.
believe it or not hair loss wasn’t the first thing that popped into my mind when i was diagnosed with breast cancer. it was the burden of facing two battles back to back that got me down. mother and daughter fighting the same disease.
plus, i secretly hoped i was the rare exception to the rule. maybe i could be the person who didn’t lose her hair during chemotherapy.
hair is a thing for black women, especially the women in my family. i grew up watching my grandma do press and curls, sew-in weaves and jerry curls in our kitchen. my aunt can work old-fashioned marcel curling irons like she was trained by madame cj walker, and we joke with my mom that she has hair like oprah — thick and beautiful.
i have hair stories and memories that mark every major milestone in my life. breast cancer is no different.
when i woke up on december 25th, clumps of my hair were falling out. i made the decision that it was time to let it all go. watching my father shave my head on christmas day was one of the hardest things i’ve done during this journey.
six months after my diagnosis, i’ve realized that my emotions weren’t all about my hair.
seeing my bald head in the mirror made cancer seem more real. everyone knew i was fighting a disease. however, losing my hair also had an unanticipated effect. it boosted my self-confidence. i have nothing to hide behind, and it feels as if my truest self is on display at all times. i’ve found the courage to be vulnerable.
one of my favorite poems by nayyirah waheed says “you see your face. you see a flaw. how if you are the only one who has this face.” there are no flaws in how i look. hair loss is part of my journey to slay cancer, show courage and be resilient. these are the most beautiful attributes i’ll ever display.
Connect with Tashira on social media, @politicsandfshn, and read more inspiring words on her blog.
From The Tutu Team: Thank you Tashira! Your words are inspiring, your honesty, refreshing.