I hate mirrors.
To be precise: I hate my reflection in the mirror.
It wasn’t always like this.
BEFORE, I’d do a mirror “drive by” – you know the kind where you pause to check your hair, makeup, or make sure that you don’t have spinach in your teeth. Now I’m trying to remember the last time I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw. You’d think it was the hair. Correction: you’d think it was the bald scalp staring back at me. Men and women, complete strangers, can’t seem to stop themselves from offering:
“I like your look.”
“Are you in treatment?”
“You have a beautiful head.”
“Is that by choice or for medical reasons?”
“Do you have cancer?”
“Wish I could wear my hair like that.”
Nope. The lack of hair on my head isn’t the problem. Chalk it up to being a black women.
I know, I know – you’ve heard (or may have first-hand knowledge) that black women share a complex history with our hair. Part of that history is being able to sport just about any hairdo imaginable: straight, wavy, curly, kinky, natural, relaxed, locked, twisted, cornrowed, braided, weaved, and yes – bald, the latter style popularized by a 1970’s Ebony Magazine cover featuring Issac Hayes and model, Pat Evans.
I like to think that the bald head works for me, as well. In my mind, I am edgy, a rock-star! I’m so confident that I can walk around with a small purse AND a bald head. I don’t have time for insecurities. LOOK AT ME. I SLAYED MY CANCER! Everything is laid bare for the world to see. I am the ultimate wash-n-go-hair-girl, with no complaints about having a bad hair day.
But as much as I’ve written about it, this actually ISN’T about the hair on my head. It’s about the other hair: my MIA eyebrows and eyelashes. I am now acutely aware that I look like an alien without facial hair to frame my eyes. Whenever I go out, I have three choices:
- Resurrect the ET-look. (I think I may have scared a young child yesterday.)
- Channel my inner-celebrity via oversized sun glasses and a baseball cap.
- Or I can build my face, from the epidermis up.
I’m fairly comfortable with #3 if I am lunching with friends, or #2, when escorting my son to the bus stop. But ask me to glam it up, and my security fades. I have had to “pass” on formal events, in part, because no matter how much makeup I wore, or how pretty the gown, I felt like an imposter, an alien in this body.
After several weeks without eyebrows, my appearance is beginning to affect my quality of life. I am tired of waking up, looking like someone sneaked into my bedroom and took a giant eraser to my brows. Even my MAC brow pencil isn’t getting the job done these days. Imagine catching your reflection in the mirror, only to see a small part of your brow missing. You wonder: who else saw me like this?
I would never judge others by the standards to which I hold myself. I need a plan other than hiding.