Vanity. It is defined as the following:
1. excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain; conceit
2. an instance or display of this quality or feeling.
3. something about which one is vain.
4. lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness
5. something worthless, trivial, or pointless.
Pride in appearance seems like the last thing possible during chemotherapy. My hair is thinning, even if only people taller then my 5’9″ height can observe it. My eye lashes are lessening. My complexion is different and yellowish, if only to me. There are many constant statements from my support team that tell me they can’t notice it. That I look great and maybe even a little thinner.
Every day I can see a change. Every time I shower, more hair falls out, and my pride in myself fails a little bit more. Self-confidence has never been a strong suit that I owned. However, with all the changes going on in my body, the self-confidence creeps lower each day. Noticing these changes, I am trying to do what is possible to pull the self-confidence back out. THERE IS HOPE!
One suggestion I hear frequently from the support staff at the treatment center is: Do your hair and makeup every day. In other words put the effort in, even if you are only going to be at home. And know what? It helps!! It helps every time you look into the mirror! There is that image in your head, rather then the blotchy skin and sleepy looking eyes. There is beautiful skin tone and blush, that are a step towards what I used to be.
One of my best steps towards vanity and self-confidence has been to dye my hair. Having hair that is crazy colors has always been something that I thought would be out of reach. My job is a position that requires being professional, etc. However, if there is one time in the life where it might work out, now would be it. So get thee to the salon. The first salon was a delightful friend who did a beautiful ombre. So fun and happy. She is one that is daring enough to go and put her hair in all forms of color, and I am jealous.
It is amazing the amount of people that do triple looks when you have unusual colors. Also the service people at hip stores comment in awe, which was very shocking for me at first. But compliments from strangers are so wonderful! 10 points to self-confidence!!! So here are two different photos of my with my colors, only 2 days apart.
With magenta and purple hair dye, it fades quickly, especially with me washing my hair. Due to time restraints and busy schedules, I went to another salon for the next dose of color into my hair. It was a reward for getting through an specifically difficult treatment session. But it reintroduced the color back into my hair. It gave me something to smile about. It was something fun to play with and style with for quite a few weeks.
Now, the thinning of my hair is starting to get to me. I know, I am getting off lucky with chemo. This is where my guilt comes in. So many lose all of their hair and either have to embrace the bald head look, or fight with wigs and/or scarfs. However my vanity is wearing out and with it my self-confidence. Naturally, my hair is fine and not overly dense to begin with. So losing a good bit of hair every time I shower, adds up, if only in my eyes.
So wig shopping I go. It was a scary prospect at first. The guilt didn’t help. But the people at this salon showed me some options and I decided to go with what I call the “Female Toupe”. It is a toupee that will match my hair and only cover a small section at the top of my scalp, where the thinning is most obvious. It is kind of embarrassing to think about, but when it went on my scalp, my self-confidence jumped. It hides what is embarrassing. However the stylist kindly hinted that my hair color should be something more traditional for matching purposes.
As of Friday, I am in the brown/black shade range to cover the purple and magentas. The Snow White look is making me very, very happy! Soon I will have an appointment to go order my fake hair, and will wear it with pride. Pride that there is something that I can do to improve my self-image on the low days. Pride that I am admitting, in a massive way, how vain I am about my hair, and how I am striving to keep my vanity to high levels.
There is a time when vanity is bad. There is a time when it is detrimental to one’s happiness and those around you. However, at this point in my life and the hard knocks over the past few months, I am going to embrace my vanity. I am going to dance around the maypole in my head and sing songs to it.
So, let’s send up a cheer to vanity!