Stories

In the Year of Vanishing Hair – Kit Williams

It is January 2024. Sixty percent of my hair has vanished.

Sometimes I don’t brush it, hoping that the hair loss will stop if I don’t touch it. If I don’t move a hair.

Today I found a large tangled knot. I wondered how long it had been there for. If people had noticed it at the Artist Gathering event last night. I brushed out the lost hair tangled in hair that had not yet been lost. I didn’t look in the mirror.

I gather my hair from one side to the other side of my head, making it look fuller. I tell myself, like this no one will suspect it is thinning.

My hair started falling in March 2023. It was three months after my boyfriend broke up with me, drunk on Christmas morning. Four days later I had a 7mm cyst removed from my left ovary. Telogen Effluvium is what they call it.

Hormone blood tests revealed I have low everything. Low progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. I am pre-menoposal. I am thirty-three.

This is my jesus year. In my jesus year my hair is still vanishing. I have two months until resurrection.

My mother said it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I have lost my hair. Why do you care, she says. You had it short for years, you didn’t care about it then. I explain to her that now I feel differently. That now that I want to have children, I don’t want to lose my hair, which for some reason has become a symbolism of fertility, but a very personal one. When it was a symbol of my fertility and my desirableness towards men in my twenties, I did not care. But now I care. I don’t want to lose any more symbols.

My hair comes out in chunks when I shower. I pick them up off the floor and put them on the shower wall and arrange them into hearts.

I am manifesting beautiful, glowing, fertile woman with abundant hair.

I let the wind whip what is left of my hair. I covered my face with my phone and made a video.

In February 2023, my ex-boyfriend and I started talking again. By March we were consistently communicating. When I started losing my hair, I called to tell him that I was worried. He didn’t pick up the phone or return my calls.

In April 2023, when my friend came to stay with me for two weeks, it was she who asked me about my hair. She saw hair scattered all over my clothes, on my shoulders, in the shower. I was still in denial when she gently tried to talk to me about it. After she left, she texted me a list of advice including hair products, oils, and a boar-hair brush.

I drink bone broth and drip rosemary oil on my scalp. I am a good girl. If I am a good girl, then my hair will be good hair.

I am aware of two other women whose hair vanished. I remember the pain in their faces. The embarrassment when they revealed it to others. It is like they had failed, were failing, to be a woman.

Yesterday I had dreamt I was a ghost walking along the seafloor. A large amount of sand rose up behind me. When I looked at where my hands would be, all I saw was hair. I noticed today that other parts of me started to vanish. I can no longer see the back of my head.