Who Cares if it's 'Real' Reflections on Hair Extensions

I think it goes without saying but I am incredibly blessed by the people I have in my life.  I have so many supportive voices, and shoulders, and big generous hearts that it still cracks me up when people ask me "how can you be so positive?" um hello, it's pretty hard not to be, when you are swimming in so much love, right? You guys rock my world.

Well, a while ago, I was having a conversation with someone. This someone is amazing but would be a little shy to be called out in this way, so I will try not to give too much away about their identity. Please note the lack of gendered pronouns, I'm so slick. Anyways, me and this person  were talking about my proph mastectomy (that's an optional, 'preventative' breast removal, for those of you not in on the c slang.) And this person said, with absolute no sarcasm and 100% sincerity - "who cares if they are real or fake? As long as you like them, and they look good to you, that's all that matters. "

Hold. The. Phone.

Who cares if they are real or fake? Do I care? I mean real is great and all, but really, um, no. I don't care. I don't care at all.

What a lightening bolt? What a revolutionary idea? Being born an SF hippy, I have always skewed my whole life towards "real" "all-natural" "blah blah blah" and suddenly here I was faced with all kinds of fake body partys and you know what? I DON"T CARE. Fake is not better or worse than real. In fact, a lot of times it is just plain better. Who cares if it was obvious my boobs, or my hair, or my tan was fake? Maybe what made it obvious they were fake is how good they looked. So much BETTER than real! So perky! No bra! So thick! So shiny! So brown! (Obviously talking about different things here.)

This was an epiphany for me, because I realized suddenly just how much control I had. I didn't have to just deal with the physical cards dealt to me with this shitty blow. I could have AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL, FAKE (fill in the blank) and it would be rad and I would still be hot (maybe even MORE hot?!?)

Now, I did not end up being eligible for this surgery. But, this idea has really bled into another one of my chemo-induced personal ego issues. The big one. The one I have struggled with from shiny bald head, to platinum pixie to auburn mullett.

My hair (or lack thereof.)

This idea of not being "real" was what helped me take the leap to the oft-lauded blonde pixie. And when my hair got long enough to need a cut (but not long enough to be anything stylish, and really just no fun anymore) then I knew it was time to try out the extensions. Let's be honest, I had been dreaming about getting extensions ever since I learned I would lose my hair. I had seen extensions in action, and they were beautiful.

Now, like everything else I do there was a big provision - do no harm. These extensions could not in any way damage my growing baby hair. That is clearly not the point of the exercise. With this in mind, mama Kathy got certified in a magical form of hair extensions which is performed with little, silicon lined beads. They "clip" onto the hair,  can be adjusted as they grow out without pulling out any hair, and are surprisingly comfortable (seriously!)

Now, because there's no glue, you need your hair to be long enough to cover the beads before you can do this kind of extension. And I was really pushing it with the length my hair was (I needed a special top piece which covered the beads at the top, and the first couple of weeks I had to do some creative bobby pinning to hide my "too short bangs.")

I love my hair. And really, who cares if this hair is "real" - I mean it is real, it's just not "mine" (to which my mom's coworker replied "It's yours, you paid for it") Well, in that case it really belongs to all of you who helped me get my wig. Anyways, as usual I digress.

The point is it's not real. And I don't care at all. I'm actually proud of it because my mama did such a good job.

Does it look fake? Maybe, but it so you can only tell because it is SO much nicer, longer and thicker than my real hair has ever been. I have been marsha-marsha-marsha brushing it all day long.  I even went swimming.

They may not be real. But really, who cares? Not I my friends, not I

A few tips on maintaining your weave:

1) Wrap it up in a silk scarf to sleep. It prevents tangling, matting, and pulling out clumps while you toss and turn. Those cotton sheets are just to harsh for your delicate new weave, plus it adorable.

2) Baseball caps are your new best friend. Not only do they shield your lovely face from the nasty sun, but they fold up nicely in bags and can be thrown on in a pinch should the weather turn windy, or you just want to strap those babies in for the ride.

3) Invest in a $10 pair of special plyers , bead threader and a little box of beads from your stylist (should cost about $25 for all three) for emergency touchups. When your hair is this short sometimes things just slip out, and if you can't make it to the salon you can usually rig something until you can get there for a fix.




Miss me? Well I'm back with a rant

I know it's been about a million years since I posted. I want to say that I am sorry, but I am not. As I often complain about in "patient interviews"-  the people who are not having terrible side effects, who are out there doing their thing, well, they are just not the ones getting on their soap boxes and filling the internet with their rants - they are out living their lives. So, the same can be said of me.

If living "my life" also means rafting down one of the most beautiful and secluded rivers in the US. With no internet or phone service (ha, so clearly, not my "normal life") Nevertheless, I have been living a life - albeit one that is dirtier, more rugged and adventurous than my life is usually.

Me, jumping off high things into freezing water. For fun... 
But now I am back, and while not super clean, at least cleaner than I was last week *oh shower, I have missed you* and about to start my next round of treatment. Yes, I am still in treatment. A treatment which is chemo-esque, or chemo light, but still treatment. However, that is not the point of this post so let me get back on track.

I was doing an internal video today for a really awesome company (internal - meaning sorry mama, you can't see it) and they were asking me these really amazing questions about my diagnosis and how I found information and how I felt about what I was finding. The answer to that is pretty simple, and universal. I felt scared. Stupid scared. I have never been so scared in my life.

I'm pretty sure that fear is the universal reaction to health + anything. Whether it's a good, normal change (puberty, pregnancy) or a bad, scary change (cancer, heart surgery) there is not a lot of health stuff that doesn't provoke a fear response. Fear is natural. But it's also paralyzing, stress-inducing, chemical pumping and not so great in prolonged doses. I know for me the best way to fight back against the fear, and regain some of the control that goes out the window when I got sick, was to have as much information as I possibly could at my disposal.

And this is where I bash my head against a recurring theme when I talk about illness and the internet - how much junk is out there. How hard it is to weigh through all the crazy, extreme cases, the people who take the time to build enormous, bitching forum streams, the "I cured myself with tea and goji berries", the press releases that tease at data without giving details... Like pretty much everything having to do with the internet right now, there's just too much. Every yahoo with a laptop and wifi has the power to post (yes, I also mean me) and with that comes the dilution of the valuable information you need to make empowered decisions.

I hope that someday I get to be famous, but just so that I can have the loudest voice saying "Don't be scared. It's never as bad in real life as your are imagining it is in your head right now. You can do this, and be beautiful while you do it. Sparkly things. Presents. So much love."


#hotsprings, my life is so hard (NOT)

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