The people have requested more information on hairlessness. I am a people pleaser, so hairlessness it is. Also, it means I do not have to think too hard about what I am writing today, which is clearly a good thing, what with having a day job and all. I am blogging whilst giving an induction on the ways of Ennui to our new slave. Poor poor slave. Thus far, between we have mustered the following gems:
1. If you have a run in with the Belgian police be really nice to them as they will probably hit you (C)
2. The tram has priority over EVERYTHING. That gling gling noise? That's the last thing you hear before 500 tonnes of gaudy yellow metal crush you to death. (Me)
3. Never go to a Belgian supermarket on Monday. If you really have to, bring a book (Me)
4. Dutch tv is good because of the subtitles (C)
5. Di is a bit like Boots. But nowhere near as good. Boots. Sob. (Me)
We have pretty much covered everything, and are reduced to staring at her blankly. It's time to blog.
Ok, hairlessness recap. I have alopecia universalis. At the age of twenty all my hair fell out over the course of three weeks. Every morning we would wake up to find the bed coated in a thick carpet of hair. I remember being quite bemused by the whole thing initially, and then having to wear a baseball cap to cover the bald spots, and seeing the absolute terror in my mum's eyes when we met up with her in Paris and she saw how bad it was. Later than summer I shaved the rest off. I think I was in shock as I barely remember how I dealt with it practically. Did I wear a hat all the time? A scarf? A little of both perhaps. Some time later that summer I bought an auburn shoulder length wig, because getting one that looked like my real hair, but pouffy and nylon and cheap was just too painful. I remember walking down Kensington Church Street with a bare head, trying it out, and having to turn round and go home after only a couple of minutes. I just couldn't face it. John, my hairdresser, is always asking my why I don't just go bare. "You have a nice head!" he says "Fuck them!" The truth is, I can't stand the attention.
I went to see posh incompetent dermatologist, who was very interested in getting rid of thread veins on the back of my hand, but had only steroids and trycyclic anti-depressants to offer. I took steroids and tricyclic antidepressants. Lots of steroids, for nearly two years. They made me fat and puffy and miserable, but the hair didn't come back. In fact, more fell out. I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes, and all the hair on my body. The posh incompetent dermatologist gave me horribly painful injections which made my eyebrows grow back for about a week. Then they fell out again. He sent me to a troll-like psychiatrist who told me I must have had deep-seated trauma when I was 8 (when I first lost a patch of hair). I couldn't think of any.
At some point, ever so gradually, I lost the assumption, then the belief, then the hope, that my hair would grow back. I didn't lose it quickly. I clearly remember not wanting to get married, because I couldn't imagine getting married in a wig. I didn't want to have a baby, and have photos of me in a wig. But soon enough, I invested in wigs that didn't make me want to kill myself, that made me feel a little more like me again. It was hard, doing that. It felt like an admission that this was permanent. But it was worth it too. And I went to Sophie, who gave me part of my face back. I love Sophie. Want eyebrows? Go to Sophie. Accept no substitutes. I am still desperately looking for something to give me my eyelashes back. If you've heard of anything, tell me.
Practicalities? I barely notice any more. I LOVE not having to shave, or wax or any of that business. I like my spookily smooth legs and underarms. I will never have a moustache. My "hair" looks better than my real hair ever used to, and I don't think people could guess. Yes, you will all think it obvious, I expect, if you meet me, but it's because you know already. What I think looks odd is the lack of those little fine hairs around the temples, where your hairline starts. It's too clean. I wear my wig all the time during the day, but my kids see me without it. I've shown my niece too (after her dad's chemo) but noone else. I feel vulnerable with no hair, like a sea creature without its shell. I get terribly cold in bed in the winter (and even now) and have to wear a hoodie or hat in bed and yes, it itches in the summer, and sometimes I just lift it up and have a scratch. People are endlessly unobservant, thankfully. I haven't noticed any ill effects of no nose hair, but I had to give up contact lenses because of the irritation having no eyelashes causes. That was a real blow. If I have to wear a swimming cap, well, I would go for one of those fabric ones. They're all the rage here. Though I must say, if I go somewhere I have to wear a swimming cap, the chances are, I will make up any old story not to get into the freezing verruca stew.
Feelings? I hate my eyes without eyelashes. I hate my pink, lashless lids. They look like raw meat and no combination of make up I have tried can mimic eyelashes. I would do anything to avoid that look. I tried falsies once, but they looked ridiculous without any real eyelashes to nestle into. The rest I'm pretty much at ease with, I think. About once every couple of months I dream that my hair grows back, but I don't rail against my bad luck. Would I prefer to have hair? Certainly. Am I distressed by my condition daily? No. Not at all. Sometimes it makes me more restless than others, and now is one of those times. I am wondering whether to go and see another dermatologist to see if they have any cunning eyelash plans. But unhappy? No. I mean, seriously. I'm not the one with the brain tumour am I?
Um. I just reread this post, and it would appear I have nothing to add to my position on alopecia since last year. Sorry. BUT YOU ASKED, INTERNET. (Both of you).