Growing up I never really knew what to do with my hair. When I was young I had big blonde curls that were frizzy and everywhere. As I grew older my hair grew brown and still remained curly. In middle school I tried to cover up my curls by having my hair cut short. It was 9th and 10th grade when I decided that cutting my hair short and then spiking it up with massive amounts of gel. Yes this was the late 90s and early 2000s. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I found out that I could really grow some hair. Like really grow hair. My hair during my senior year was huge. It was like a chia pet. I let it grow to. I did the same thing in college. After college however, I decided it was time to tame the beast and cut it short for the professional look. I have always been self conscious about my hair. This might stem from the episode of Boy Meets World where Cory says his hair is like velcro and has an identity crisis about it. Yeah that was pretty much my thoughts every time I looked in the mirror. But I did grow such an appreciation for my hair. I never had to style it. I could just wash it and let it do its’ thing. It also gave me a great outlet for my stress when watching any Mississippi State athletic event. The closer the margin of victory, the larger the hair gets.
It is the simple things in life that are always the most shocking and distressing when they leave. I was taking a shower Sunday morning. Just washing my hair and getting ready to go to church. I run my fingers through my curls and my hand returns with a massive ball of hair in my palm. I knew this would happen. The nurse said it would. The doctor said it would. I told myself it would. However, that moment when it happened, I thought it wouldn’t. Most people that I told that I would lose my hair would just laugh it off and say, “ah thats no big deal.” And really it isn’t. I am a guy. My culture would not look at me oddly for being a male with no hair. I told this to myself. I have many colleagues and peers who shave their head regularly. But in that moment when I had my own hair in my hand, it felt different. It was tough. And the hair kept coming. More and more came with each pass of my hand. It also didn’t help that “Let It Go” from Frozen was blaring on our speaker in the bathroom while this was happening. I couldn’t believe it. So at that moment I knew two things. First I knew that I was going to be bald soon. Second I knew that the chemo was doing its job.
I lasted one day with falling hair. Monday night Carly and I traveled to the only hair stylist that was working that evening so it seemed. She just happened to be the daughter of one of Carly’s PA schoolmates. God is constantly doing things like that. So I walked to her and just said, “so I am on chemotherapy and my hair is falling out.” She took the news like a champ and now I am in possession of a much shorter look. My hair is gone and that is shocking. I no longer have the need for shampoo, hair gel, or comb. It is much colder outside with no hair. Hats actually fit me now.
I often compared myself to a worship song that was extremely popular when I was in high school. The Heart of Worship. The lyrics said, “when the music fades, all is stripped away and I simply come.” This is in reference to the fact that Christians today sometimes make a spectacle of worship. The worship then becomes the focus instead of the one we are worshipping. I always heard the song differently. I heard the song as me coming to the heart of Christ. He strips away all the nonsense, sin, and barriers that I put in the way so that He can enter in and mend me. How can I not look into the mirror and hear that every time I see my reflection. My hair loss is such a reminder that the stuff here on Earth is fleeting. It is a reminder that I don’t need that stuff. I don’t need hair. I need Christ. I need healing and not just the physical kind. Remember to hang on to the real things that are important and forget what the world thinks. What do they know anyway?
“This world has nothing for me and this world has everything. All that I could want and nothing that I need.” – Caedmon’s Call
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
On a side note, I did have one student come up to me last week and said very seriously, “Mr. Yelverton, when you lose your hair, don’t start selling meth.” Don’t worry everyone, I am not going Walter White, but I am going to grow velcro again.