Friday, September 16, 2011

how much longer dear angels

So this one time my hair started growing back.  And it was two years ago this month.  To celebrate two years of being cancer-free (tests this week came back clear), I thought I'd take a little picture journey with you, an indulgent and sometimes disturbing journey, but one that may be fun.

Our story starts in early March 2009, when I got portraits of my long hair taken.  Ah, it was lovely, long, and straight.  I loved my long hair, to the point that when the time came for chemo to start, I still hadn't cut it -- because I wanted to be beautiful for the dance.
I ended up going to the hospital instead of to the dance, and the next week my lovely long hair started to fall out.

So I cut it in late March.
This isn't a cute picture, but it does show the length of my chopped hair (my roommate Allison did it for me, because I didn't feel up to going to a salon and paying for something that was going to fall out anyway).  At this point my hair hadn't really started the deluge, so I could go out in public without a hat.
In fact, it was in trying on wigs that I began to have to wear hats, because a little patch right at the front of my head had come over all bald.  Happy birthday to me.
Unfortunately I can't find the pictures of me appearing progressively more alien as my part widened (I can see the picture in my head, but I can't find it; must've deleted it for sheer weirdness).  Suffice to say, I lost about 98% of my hair.

But not all of it.
Two months later (May 2009) and that last 1-2% of my hair held out strong.  In this picture you can almost see that I've got most of it back in a ponytail, so it almost looks normal (well, normal for a bald head, yeah).  Usually I let it hang down and it looked...weird.
For some reason (and I think I'd still make the same choice again, for reasons I still don't know) I didn't want to get rid of the rest of it.  I was proud of my little hairs for sticking through it.  No one got to see it, anyway.  (Except for my family, and I guess my roommates.  I was very diligent about hats during this time.)
My mother eventually prevailed (she was tired of me scaring my siblings' friends) and got me in contact with a razor and voila:

The worst picture ever!  I wish I could remember the context of it.  June 5 was my big ol' surgery, and this was a couple weeks after.  I must not have been feeling too good...

Since I had surgery in June, they skipped one of my rounds of chemo.  That meant that my hair (with high hopes, I should think) decided to start growing back in July.  I'd forgotten about this event, and this picture, until I ran across both.  As you see, there's starting to be a little fuzz:

This picture taken in July 2009 can double as the late September picture too, because I looked about the same.

September 2009, the light from the window illuminating the slightest specks of fluff covering my scalp.  The long wait was over; my hair had finally stopped falling out.  Now it had begun the journey of regrowth, one that is still continuing...

I still didn't let anybody see my hair yet.  I wore a lot of wig and some hat while in public (and I was a missionary, so public happened), and by November
I looked totally gangster.
But I still couldn't imagine the idea of letting people see me with my hair super short.  I mean, I was a girl (am a girl) and had certain ideas of femininity that I actually wanted to uphold, because I'm oppressed like that.  But finally the day came.
January 1, 2010.  I gritted my teeth and actually went on a date with no wig, and no hat.  The guy didn't know anything about anything, which may have been a downside because then maybe he thought I wanted my hair to be so punishingly short.  And that time when I was like, "I don't know how to do it when it's this short!" and he asked when I got my haircut...awkward...
January 2010, what a pretty boy.  And what straight hair, too!  It did not stay straight like that.
February 2010.  I look at pictures like this now and think "Surely my hair didn't look like that!" But it did, and it did actually look nice, in a "my date's hair was longer than mine" kind of way.  And he said I looked nice, so that's all that counts, right?
Still gangsta in March.
Aha!  It's been bugging me for a while because I couldn't figure out what I was wearing or what was going on, but then I figured out it was one of my cancer blankets (I collected them).  I was wearing a blanket.  Gangsta-ly.

My hair continued growing, slowly but surely, which was awesome since my self-esteem seems inextricably tied to the length of my hair.  By Kyra's wedding in April 2010, I was starting to be okay with it (as long as I didn't look at it from the back!).

Some weird things seemed to happen sometimes though.  Can you believe I went out with it looking like that?  This was in May.

I don't have too many pictures of my hair looking normal during the summer.  Here's what happened when my sisters decided to straighten it.  Never again.  (The worst part was when a client stopped by to drop off music and this was the first time she saw me.)

See, this is cute!  Maybe I should go back to having bangs, as illustrated in this October 2010 picture.  My hair was finally long enough to do something with, which was super exciting.

February 2011 was the next time I had much of a picture taken of me.  And obviously I took it of myself, in the mirror.  I must've thought I looked classy in that outfit and my glasses and my hair so curly and getting long!

Long enough to put in a ponytail even!  As long as I use two (one for the top, one for the bottom).  This is how I did my hair for all of spring break, April 2011.

In June I discovered that I could actually put my hair in  a side ponytail and it would stay!  I was way excited and took tons of pictures of the event.  I still have this thing where I think of my hair as really short, compared to everyone else's. It was about this time when I realized that it was actually getting long.  I couldn't even call it short anymore!
This was taken two weeks ago.  I've been pestered and pressured to get my hair cut for months now, but just look at those curls!  How can you say no to those tiny ringlets?  (Completely natural, by the way.)  Something else I love about this picture (and other pictures from this evening) is how normal I look.  This is a hairstyle I employed all through high school and college, and I think that feeling normal is one of the best parts of my lengthening hair.

Sometimes (okay, about every other day) I just have to embrace the uniqueness of my curly locks.   It's so exciting to see the way my hair evolves as it gets longer, and a major reason for not getting a haircut is my worry that suddenly my hair won't be curly anymore.  Or half of it will curl half won't, or it'll be completely unmanageable and I'll have to start actually doing it.  No way.  Not while I can still get it to do that ^ without even using a hair dryer.

Well, I hope you had fun indulging me and my nostalgia.  Here's to many more months and years of hair growth!

Title text: "Drought" by Vienna Teng

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I can trace all my books [August 2011]

Good morning!  It's September!  I didn't read too much in August.  I just didn't have the heart for it.  (Is that what I said about July too?)  I enjoyed some of them though.  If only there had been any princessy romance ones; I'm definitely noticing a trend in my favorite reads.  But I'm still reading other things...Behold...

127. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
128. Wishful Thinking by Alexandra Bullen
129. Warped by Maurissa Guibord
130. Foggy with a Chance of Murder by G.G. Vandergrieff
131. Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
132. The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher
133. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
134. FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper
135. Jane by April Lindner
136. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
137. A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
138. Queen of Hearts by Martha Brooks
139. You'll Like It Here (Everyone Does) by Ruth White
140. Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar

Title Text: "Nothing Without You"