A couple of weeks ago, I had my first real haircut post chemo. It was an important step to feeling like a human again. While I was in the chair, the stylist marveled at the new texture of my hair as she ran her hands through it. It was curly, and coarser, too.
"And it looks a bit darker, don't you think?"
I did think so, but hadn't been sure. I thought that maybe I was remembering my hair wrong. Later at home I pull out the braided lock she cut off for me last October. It was finer, blonder.
What she said was an acknowledgement of everything that's happened in the last year. She saw me, before and after, and noted a change.
It may seem like nothing, but it's important. Most of the time people say things like, "You look good!" which I know is meaning to be nice, but actually feels like something of a negation of this experience. It feels like they're saying, "You don't look sick," or like they're saying that it's over when it's not. I know I should just smile and say thank you and be grateful for the compliment, but it rankles me.
Am I like my hair? Have I become darker, and rougher? Maybe.