I boarded the plane to Beantown today.
While sitting in dull silence on the plane, waiting for the seat belt “ding” to ring out (to alert all passengers, who had already undone their seat belts, that it was now allowed to undo said seat belts) I noticed the back of a woman’s head.
She was sitting a few rows in front of me.
I noticed because she had a very different hairstyle. Part of her head was shaved. The rest of her hair was long and placed high in a ponytail.
It was a déjà vu moment bringing back a flood of memories.
I once had a very similar hairdo. When I was seventeen.
Except I didn’t choose it.
My hair fell out from radiation treatment as part of a course in curing cancer. Turns out, just half the hair on my head fell out, the bottom half. The hair that was in range of the radiation rays fell out in clumps, filling a waste basket each night before I went to bed, for a few days until nothing was left but bare skin.
It left me with long hair on top of my head, and no hair on the bottom.
Here’s the really amazing thing ~ and if you are in your late thirties you might remember this ~ I lost my hair right around the time it came into fashion to shave the bottom half of your head and wear the top half long.
What a lovely coincidence.
I would love to take credit for my ability to start trends and be in-fashion (or “in-fad”) if only I had chosen the hairstyle.
Right about the time baby hairs started to sprout back into the follicles back there the “half shaved fad” reached its apex. I was so ahead of my time. Or so it seemed.
Seeing this woman’s shaved head today made me sit and ponder all that we wear for the world to see: clothes, shoes, hair.
As the rest of the passengers fumbled for their luggage I wondered:
Just what was this woman trying to tell the world?
The irony of it made me stop and think: just what did people (who didn’t know I was going through cancer treatment at the time) think about my half shaved head? Punk? Trendy diva? Cocky? Crying out for help? Trying to make a statement? Doesn’t get enough attention?
As I inspected the back of this woman’s head it occurred to me that whatever I thought about this girl, I probably had it all wrong.
At best, I only had half of the story.
The half that only shows up on the outside.
And that half might mean everything or it just might mean nothing at all.