Upon my shoulder,
I see you there.
Along the desk,
That strand of hair

I just ignore
And turn away.
It’s only one,
Just a stray.

But here it is, 
That well-known itch.
Another falls,
Another glitch.

And as more drops,
I don’t feel brave.
I just have a question,
Should I shave?

I felt something akin to grief over the loss of my hair. I felt like my identity had been stripped away and I’d been handed this new one that I didn’t know what to do with. Even in the years that I’ve had regrowth, I thought “that’s not me, it’s not even me with short hair, who is that?” 

Sometimes I think those thoughts are pathetic - who are you without your hair? Well obviously you’re still the same person, just get over it already. I give myself whiplash with my own thoughts and feelings around my hair and my identity.

I think a lot of it centres around this feeling of losing control, of knowing that no matter what I did or didn’t do I couldn’t have any say over what was happening to me. So, I felt scared and angry.

I’ve had regrowth for a little over a year now, at some points a full head and others patchy but always enough to blend in. And I think that’s what I’ve always wanted throughout all of this, to just blend in and not have to stand out so people don’t ask me questions. My friends and family have been such a support to me that in recent times I’ve grown more comfortable, I’ve played with the idea of ‘standing out’ and having a bit of fun and creativity with wigs and the like. I felt I was more able to do this knowing that I still had ‘my hair’ and could blend if I chose to. 

Then about a week ago I noticed a few tell tale signs, excess hair on my pillow, my hairline getting thinner and then clumps of what little hair I had, coming out in the shower. With it getting worse day by day I considered what my options were – continue to let it fall out? Watch as each time I touch my head I’m left with hair in my hand? Or attempt to take control?

This time I decided to take the latter option. I’m going to try and take ownership of what’s happening to me. I decided to shave what remaining hair I had left off my head. Some people might think this seems extreme, but I know the feeling of relief I will get from not having to see the hairs falling out one by one, it can be a choice and not a thing happening to me. Plus, if I have another cycle of regrowth perhaps it will all be the same length! 

I know I’ll still feel a little lost with ‘who I am’, but already I feel stronger and more empowered in this new identity just by making it my choice.