November 26, 2019

Gray or Grey?

Journal Entry #65

I was fortunate to NOT lose my hair during 38 days of chemotherapy.

There was definitely a thinning of my hair, but Miltefosine isn’t known for hair-loss as a side-effect.  It is more noted for the gut intolerance, which I can largely attest to.

Those were fun times.

As I go through the detox process, and regain synergy with my body, I am noticing that all of the new growth coming in is gray.

Or is it grey?

At first I was noticing it around my temples and found it amusing.  Before this process, I had found one lonely grey hair and promptly plucked it from my head, but not before it ruined my evening.  I mean, why does one lonely grey hair have so much power over my emotional state? I was 39 at the time of this dreaded event.  Too young to have evidence of aging!

My dad was 42 when he passed away, with a full head of thick, dark brown hair.  No sign of grey anywhere.  My mom was pushing 60 when she started turning grey.  I was hopeful for good genetics.

I guess genetics is no match for chemotherapy?

In September, I went to my trusted hairdresser, Jane.  She has been good to me over the years, but especially so kind and compassionate during this whole process.  When I was doing treatment, Tim would drive me, and wait patiently as Jane would look after my short hair.  I decided during this time, that I would grow my hair out.  Typically with my short hair, I would require a quick cut every three weeks before it would go unruly.  This just wasn’t realistic when I wasn’t driving and I was relying so heavily on others for my care. Everything around me was changing, so I thought, why not?

So, in early September, I was in to get the bangs trimmed out of my eyes, and as Jane combed through my hair, she sighed and lovingly said “Honey, are you going to come back and get this covered up?”  At that point, I had only noticed it around my temples.  But as she used her mirror and lifted my short locks, it was clear that there was more grey than I realized.

What’s a girl to do?

I am okay to be grey.  I can accept that this is part of my story.  That this is a result of the hell I have lived through this last year.  I understand that trauma and toxic medications can have a permanent effect on the body.  So, I let it go. Decision made.

Yep.  I’m going to go grey.

A few weeks later, I got to thinking that I have my whole life ahead of me to be grey.  I could be grey for the next 40-60 years of my life!  And right now, I have the option to be blonde and get away with it!  When I have a choice to be any color I want, why would I choose to be grey?  I don’t feel old enough to warrant grey.  Nor do I feel like I have earned the wisdom that comes with being grey.  I like blonde.  It makes me feel feminine and I want to look as young as I feel.

So, I decided to go blonde again.

In October, Jane kindly added some blonde highlights to my hair so that it wasn’t so obvious.  And it feels good to be blonde.  There is still grey poking through.  It is wirey, and some are coarse and curly, a stark contrast to my straight blonde.

As I looked in the mirror this morning, I can’t help but wonder if I am just fighting an uphill battle?  I mean, nature is what it is.  Is this just one more thing that is taking up stress and energy in my life?  It is only hair, for goodness sake! Do I keep covering it up to “look the part” and fit in with the norm of society?  Or do I just let it be what it is and accept the effects of what the last year has meant?

I am not sure that this choice is much different than all the other little choices I have made to survive Leishmaniasis.

You may have noted that earlier I wrote about finding synergy with my body again.  There is a vast difference between regaining control over by body and finding synergy with it.  I am learning that everything I do influences my health.  The medicines that I take, the exercise that I do, the sauna, the foods I eat, the thoughts I think, the activities I lend my energy to.  It all influence my health.  It is foolish of me to think I have control over the intricate and complex systems within my body.  I don’t.  I never did.

Even when I thought I did. 

This body is way smarter than I am.  It knows how to heal itself, it knows how to repair, rest and rejuvenate.  The things that I do influence it, for sure.  But I cannot control how the internal workings work.  Instead, I am learning to listen to my body in ways that support those internal systems.  I am offering my body strong and positive thoughts, powerful and live nutrition, supplements, breath and space to work synergistically in coherence.  I am learning that when I try to control things, including my body, that I tend to be in a state of war.

And I am tired of fighting.

Today, I find myself wondering if all this grey is just another piece of control that I need to let go of?  Perhaps fighting the grey is more work than it is worth?  Perhaps it is time to just let it be what it is, even if I am grey for the next 60 years.

So be it.

Maybe I have been wrong. Maybe I have earned this grey.  Maybe owning the grey will merge me with the reality that I am not who I used to be.  Maybe it will give me the space and permission to show up authentically in the world, fearlessly synergistic with my body, mind and spirit.

Regardless, the truth is out.  I am 40, and grey.

Or is it gray?

Xo Juli

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