Playing with My Vanity

DSC_2103I had long glorious hair for many years. My hair was the mark of my femininity, at least according to my self-absorbed ego. It was the one feature about me I treasured. I played around with different styles, never straying too far from the length to which I’d grown accustomed. A few months ago, I made the momentous decision to cut my hair, acquiring a style unlike anything I’d ever had in the past. To most people, this would not be a big deal – to me, the girl who always had long hair, this was a major decision. I perused hundreds of pictures before bringing an acceptable choice to my hairdresser – a photo of an inverted bob. I had read that bobs were great cuts for fine hair. I wanted a new look, but I also wanted to reduce the cumulative tufts gathering in the sink and diminish the gradual dilution of my silken tresses.

We experience hair loss due to all sorts of reasons – age, hormones, deficiencies, medical conditions, stress, excessive hair styling, family history and side effects from medication. An autoimmune disease might contribute to thinning hair as it could impact the skin where hair follicles are found, but typically hair loss or thinning is associated with certain medications. Shortly after embarking on my medication regime for Rheumatoid Arthritis, I noticed an increase of auburn strands lining the sink and gathering in the drain trap like a little “mop” party. The average healthy person is said to lose 50-100 hairs a day. No big deal right? We usually don’t even notice – but for the man or woman whose hair is their crowning glory, any medication that takes more than a normal amount can ravage the fragile remains of self-confidence left after a life-changing diagnosis.

Cutting my hair wasn’t nearly as dramatic as I imagined. In fact, my wonderful hairdresser made it downright flattering. I also discovered some practical aspects of my new style – it was easier to tuck my hair into my swimming cap; I no longer had to endure the discomfort of reaching my arms overhead and holding them there for an extended period while attempting to bind my hair into an elastic with swollen fingers; it dried faster after washing and, with less weight pulling on my fine strands, my hair became bouncy and voluminous.

We all carry a certain amount of vanity, and as long as it doesn’t cross the line or affect anyone in a negative manner, there’s nothing wrong with it. We should be proud of who we are. With my stylish new cut, I don’t see the “mop” party in the drain as often – maybe it’s because the medication has stabilized in my body; maybe with my hair being shorter, I just don’t notice the wandering strands as much. So I say, go ahead and play with your vanity. There’s a wonderful freedom and confidence to be found in treating oneself, and we deserve a little pampering because in the midst of battling chronic illness, no one wants to look as bad as they feel. FB_IMG_1435789362873 (3)



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  1. aspiringwriter22 on July 5, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I love your short hair!

  2. jcharnas on July 5, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I love my hair too, and can imagine what it must have been like for you to make such a big change. I think your hair is still beautiful. I have a chronic illness too, and staying functional is all about adapting for me. I applaud you for making this difficult transition with so much positivity.
    Joanna Charnas,
    Author, Living Well with Chronic Illness

    • J.G. Chayko on July 6, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Thank you Joanna, for your lovely words. I always try to stay positive and look for the blessings in every change I need to make. I hope that you have more good days then bad. Thank you for sharing. Stay well. Best, J.G.

  3. Carla Kienast on July 6, 2015 at 8:03 am

    It’s odd seeing the picture with your longer hair. Your shorter hair is so flattering and somehow reflects your vibrant personality. Believe me (someone whose hair is about 1.5 inches long all over), your hair is long compared to mine! (Having bad shoulders and wrists, having easy hair is a must for me.)

    • J.G. Chayko on July 6, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Thank you Carla 🙂 I do find it much easier to manage and with the longer hair, I was having some strain on my arms and shoulders trying to style it, so in the end it all worked out. I hope all is well with you. Sending you my best. J.G.

  4. Irma on July 6, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Love the look! That cut is perfect for you. Shorter hair is so much easier, what I call wash-n-wear hair. After almost 11 years on MTX I expect some loss, but then again, after so many years on this earth, I expect some loss as well! Here’s to keeping our crowning glory bright and shiny and flattering. And to giving thanks for every positive.

    • J.G. Chayko on July 6, 2015 at 10:27 am

      I am used to the cut now and I do like it. It’s so much easier to work with. Thank you as always for your lovely notes. Wishing you well xoxo

  5. Phil on July 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    My father went bald early in life and my mother said that it would skip a generation, but that didn’t happen.
    Now we laugh when we read the side effects of medications that include hair loss since I don’t have much any more.
    Friends love you for who you are and many of us like to read the wonderful things that you put into print. Hair is optional and you are a great writer. I always enjoy the imagery. I hope that you will have a great summer and enjoy the lower maintenance hairstyle,
    Hang in there
    Phil – Syracuse NY

    • J.G. Chayko on July 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you, that is so very sweet. I am pleased to say that I am satisfied with my cut and that there seems to less signs of side effects in that department. 🙂 I wish you well, and hope that you too have a fabulous summer. Cheers, J.G.

  6. Kim on July 9, 2015 at 6:05 am

    LOVE the new do. It does seem to match your personality, or at least what I think your personality is… Sassy, with flare, topped with a little spunk. You look great!

    • J.G. Chayko on July 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you. I’m definitely finding it easier and enjoying the new look. Hope all is well with you. 🙂

  7. Sallyann on July 12, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Forgot to say… love the new hairstyle. 😀

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About me

J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.