Taboo

I used to think that in our 21st century society, no topic was off limits. We had evolved past the idea of a subject being “taboo,” for better or worse.

I came to this conclusion when a complete stranger asked a very pregnant yours truly how many centimeters I was dilated. Since when had it become okay to talk about a stranger’s cervix? After baby #1 was born, I was constantly fielding questions from old Japanese ladies about whether or not I was breastfeeding, which just reconfirmed my suspicions about the anything-goes-as-a-topic-of-conversation/we-have-no-shame thingy.

(Completely off topic, but Japan is fan-freaking-tactic for nursing mothers. I am sooo glad I was able to do that here. I didn’t appreciate it until I took the kids to the US for the first time. I’d never felt uncomfortable nursing my just-turned- two year old before that. It’s totally normal here! I’m not sure I could have persevered in the zero booby tolerance black hole of American society. Come on, now, are y’all still talking about this? From the rest of the world: get over it.)

But then I started to lose my hair.

Some pretty intense hair loss is normal after childbirth, so at first I wasn’t too worried. I was in the habit of wearing pigtails back then. But hey, don’t judge me! It was cuter than it sounds. Anyway, one day I checked the back of my head to make sure my part was straight, and there it was, a glaring white “crop circle” on my scalp about the size of a quarter.

I went to the doctor, was given some blood tests to make sure it wasn’t anything serious, and then basically told not to worry about it. Stress is an aggravating factor, you see.

The first person I tried to talk to was my husband. Yes, yes, I was still trying to get some love and support from him back then. Now I just give what I can and don’t expect any reciprocation. Saves me from disappointment. Anyway, his reaction was to get angry. (?) Why was I blaming him? Why was I trying to make him feel guilty? Of course I did not intend to do that, and a person who didn’t feel responsible for causing me stress would not have reacted that way. His issue, not mine. I didn’t bring it up again.

Then I tried to talk to my friends. You’d think I was talking about menstrual odor from the reaction I got. Hmmm, that doesn’t really leave anyone.

My Dad and I had a few laughs over who would go completely bald first. (It was him. Chemotherapy gave him an unfair advantage.) That wasn’t exactly the conversation I needed to have, but it was all I ever got.

Six years on, and I’m still dealing with it. Honestly, though, in my heart of hearts it doesn’t bother me. Cleaning the drain kind of sucks, but that’s about it. I have lots of curly, fluffy hair that usually cover the spots pretty well, and besides that I can’t see them. If it had started when I was younger, it probably would have bothered me a great deal. But at this point? I am who I am, and I can’t hate the body that produced two children I love more than I ever thought possible.

The other thing that people don’t talk about much, or well, is loss. I get it that, especially young people, don’t know what to say. Personal opinion here, but most of the time you don’t need to say anything. Just listening is enough. But that’s the subject of another post, and a good mantra to live by: Just. Listen.

I’ll hide my bald spot at the back of my head today by wearing my hair down. Ick! I hate doing that! But I’ll do it, not because I’m ashamed of my scalp showing through, but to make those around me feel comfortable. Dad, of course, took the opposite approach. He had a hat with florescent orange “hair” on the top of it. I’ve saved it, just in case I ever decide to change my strategy.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tamariez
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 10:10:08

    Wow.. I can’t believe someone would ask you that. In my world there are still some things that are sacred (taboo) and should be kept personal. I’m sorry that it’s hard to find people in your life to talk to. I’ve found writing has helped me quite a bit with that. I’ve enjoyed reading several of your posts and look forward to reading more!

    Reply

  2. gaijinwife
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 19:30:26

    hear you on the hair – mine, which wasn’t very plentiful to start with, is coming out quite rapidly and I contemplated trying to get mum’s wig – cause it was a very expensive proper one – but then I would have looked like Lynda Ronstad (?) and probably wouldn’t have been comfortable wearing it even though mum only wore it a few times. For some reason I have no problem cleaning mine or the kids hair out of places but short hard black hair? Grrrr. I’m sure wine is supposed to promote hair growth?? No??

    Reply

  3. Coco
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 03:54:42

    although my saying so won’t take care of the stress at the root of the problem, i love your hair! it’s got lots of body and the short cut is sophisticated, shows off your eyes.

    Reply

  4. hamakkomommy
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 17:48:38

    It’s not short anymore (~_~;) Loved your bob, by the way!

    Reply

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