The questions is not about femininity. You can be a tomboy and have that part of you that feels like a girl. But we all carry with us, in the recesses of our brain, the one thing that we feel makes us, above all else, a woman.
I truly believe that everyone is different. I personally have never associating my breasts as being the primary means of what makes me the me that is both tomboy and woman. I have always had small breasts, so that is probably a large part of why. They were never something that helped me define my vision of who I am as a female while my character was developing in youth.
But after pulling another clump of hair out while shampooing in the shower today, I realized in that moment where my definition lies. The definition of what makes me innately female to myself is my hair.
Growing up I always kept it long. My mother never was much for braiding so I wore it down and let it flow around in the breeze and stick to me when it rained. As I got older, no matter how many sports I played or times I refused to wear a dress, I wore my hair long. Even when I wore it up everyday of the year, it stayed long.
I often claimed that this was because ponytails were easier to play sports in, but the reality is a pixie cut would just as easily have made due. I wore it long as the last vestige to the feminine shell that I often tried to shake.
One of the medications I’m on is a chemotherapy drug. Naturally that means that I am no luckier than anyone else. Even at the lower doses I am on, my hair is thinning. When I discussed this with my husband he didn’t understand. I told him I was thinking of getting hot pink extensions put in my hair the next time I get it cut. He didn’t get why and I can’t really expect him to.
While the hot pink is purely due to being out from under a contract with my previous employer that banned unnatural hair colors, the extensions themselves are to fill up the areas that I am already struggling to hide. Truth be told, I have a lot of hair and most would never think that mine is actually thinning. Were it any other person, my hair would be darn right thick still, but I haven’t broken a rubber band trying to tie my hair up in weeks… I used to break one every few days, or every day, sometimes three a day.
And I get in the shower, and sit on my stool, and run warm water over my face, bracing myself for the moments to come. First I will lather my body, shave my armpits, do my best to reach my toes and get my feet as sudsy as I can manage… And then I will wash my hair. And as I do, I will pull handfuls of it out and watch it clog the drain that I can’t reach well enough to unclog.
Then, once done, I will stand in front of my mirror, brushing my hair that sits well past my shoulders, while I try not to tug too hard. I will lose more handfuls before it is dry again.
We all carry with us the vision of what makes us who we are. And while you may gag at the color pink, or think floral anything is awful, we all carry that once piece of us that we feel makes us who we are as women. I don’t wear jewelry, I’ve never been much for shopping or dresses, I consider putting mascara on a BIG DAY OUT type of event, and I have, thick, black hair that is always in a pony tail. My last vestige to a part of who I was born to be but didn’t want to be stereotyped into being.
And each week that passes, with each dose of my medication, I am slowly losing that little bit of me.