Mary Beth Lawler Art Blog
The covers of the cancer books and inspirational tapes say, ___It__™s not about the hair.___ Oh YES IT IS about the hair! In our culture, as with many others, looks are everything and while we may say that looks don__™t matter, when they are your looks. they matter. This issue is not new to the present time either.
Hair is dominant throughout history, Goldie Locks, Lady Godiva, Rapunzel, and Sampson. Countless poems and song lyrics center on the power of hair, it__™s seductive, tactile qualities and its ability to attract. Soft, silken, flowing, plaited, shiny, up, down, tumbling, cascading, fine as Spun Gold or Raven Black hair. Literature is bursting at the seams with references to hair. Victorians made Shadow Box Hair Wreaths and Flowers. Mourning jewelry was very popular with hair woven inside pins, lockets and rings. Mothers tenderly tuck away a ribbon tied lock of their child__™s hair in an album. Painters practice drawing and rendering hair, fine tuning their ability to capture the essence of tresses. A single strand of hair contains our entire genetic code. It is, us. The ancients must have known this in their hearts. Is that why we keep it?
The fascination is by no means confined to women__™s hair. What__™s a romance novel without a guy with thick, flowing, wavy hair and lots of it? Sampson__™s strength was in his hair until that not very nice lady cut it off. Men shudder at the thought of male pattern baldness and spend millions on plugs, transplants and Rogaine. There is an industry built around products that are ___Just for men.___ Our television screens are monopolized by advertisements for hair products that over promise and under deliver. Can you imagine the money I am saving? Let__™s not overlook eyelashes and eyebrows. We have even gone so far as to have ___styles___ of eyebrows. Oddly, we shave and wax it off everywhere else, but the head. Hmmm.
I chatted with a woman in the waiting room at radiation. She__™d had one surgery, chemotherapy, was finishing radiation and was scheduled for another surgery. Now what do you suppose she was anxious about? Being sick, weak and dependant, dying? Nope. Her hair. As she ran her hand over my new sprouts, she said, ___I don__™t care if it comes back purple, I just want it back.___ First question on everyone__™s lips as they enter chemotherapy, ___ When will I lose my hair?___ ___How long before it comes back?___
My brother just finished chemo and radiation for a lung tumor. His hair was thinning on top a little anyway but he lost quite a bit more. We__™d exchange stories on the phone and check on each other__™s status. How sick, how tired, how ache-y and yes, how much hair did you lose?
So you can imagine my excitement and relief when my new growth began to show. It__™s like hope on your head; everything really is going to be all right. So when the social workers and therapists and the wellness people tell you that it__™s about living, conquering and surviving, of course that goes without saying, but___ it really IS all about the hair.