Loss is Present Continuous

‘Pemi Aguda on Loss

My story of loss is a story of losing. It is a story of the futility of will, and the limitations of drugs against the stubbornness of genetics, of body.

I start to write this story in my head while staring at myself in the mirror, combing Cantu-covered fingers through wet hair. As yet more strands of hair with white bulbs at their roots, which confirm closed follicles, leave my scalp, I know that I want to write about losing hair, the continuous loss of it.

Balding is a word I’ve come to love. Okay, like. It is not a kind word. Like the cold probing instrument in the hands of my trichologist, it zooms in so my scalp resembles a desert on the monitor, and it leaves no place to hide. Balding lacks the soft landing of hair loss, which is gentle in its s-es. As the tongue leaves the upper palate on the second syllable in bal-ding, friends flinch, and you might find yourself recoiling from the widening patches of gleaming smooth scalp.

In losing hair, you will meet your insecurities on the street. You will come nose-to-nose with the monster of your vanity. Your fears will move into the apartment next door with ashy bald heads, ears pressed to the thinning wall, waiting for your next sigh. You might even find yourself shifting to the second-person point of view mid-paragraph. Anything to distance yourself.

I have met the indignities of fighting hair loss. Rubbing onion juice and foul-smelling concoctions on a situation that my mother’s head, my grandmother’s head, and the trichologist’s report tell me won’t change. And yet the irony is that I reacted to expensive Rogaine with a face full of hair so that for the first time in my life I was worried about too much of that furry substance—multiplying on my legs, darkening my arms, lowering my hairline . . .  it grew everywhere but where I wanted it.

I want to say that I’ve found freedom in this losing. Like the woman who empties her savings and travels the world on hearing she has a month left to live, it would be nice to say I’ve gained some irreverence in styling my hair. That I now dye it in a range of colours that would make my mother clutch her heart. But no. Within this stubborn body is still a wishful soul.

In a way, every story of loss is a story of losing; it never ends. Scalp where hair used to be; pillow where a head used to be. But in the roots of the stubbornness of body is also the resilience of body. You will maybe hurt less every day and my hand will rise less and less to my scalp, searching.

I’m losing, but I’m adapting. What I see is that despite the futility of will and the limitation of drugs, adapting is a way for my stubborn body, not yet thirty, to forgive itself for its own shortcomings.

  1. Cantu – Brand of hair care product; conditioner.
  2. Rogaine – Minoxidil; slows hair loss and promotes hair regrowth.

© ‘Pemi Aguda 2017

‘Pemi Aguda writes short stories and flash fiction that have been published here and there. Her short story Caterer, Caterer won the Writivism Short Story Prize 2015. She co-curates the website, Nik-Nak.co

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2017

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “Loss is Present Continuous

  1. I originally clicked on this link because of a search for short stories and because I thought that photo of you was gorgeous. Until I read this I had not at all noticed any hair loss. Hair or no hair you are beautiful! And thank-you for sharing this story, it’s not always easy to open up to strangers on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m losing my hair too- first time I’m admitting this. My grandmother and aunties walked down this road and I’m so.angry it’s happening to me too. I’m still applying Jamaican Black Castor Oil and hoping to stave off the evil day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, Adaeze? I’m still applying Jamaican Castor Oil and ORS serum, hoping for a miracle. They don’t work, but the ritual of application has become soothing too. Admitting is a good step, anger too. But please don’t let the anger take over. It’s hard, but it is hair, and I’m learning not to tie my person to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorite:
    “I’m losing, but I’m adapting. What I see is that despite the futility of will and the limitation of drugs, adapting is a way for my stubborn body, not yet thirty, to forgive itself for its own shortcomings.”

    I think Adapting to loss, makes the pain less painful, especially adapting to one that we can do nothing about even if we wanted to.

    Weldone ‘Pemi!

    And, Aunty Timi, is “Loss” gonna be a series? I

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tough subject but a beautifully written piece. It would be presumptuous of me to offer any advice so instead I offer you my deep felt sympathy. I do know how you feel. I witnessed the anguish my partner went through when she lost her hair when she went through Chemo. My very best to you and keep on writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve never read a more poetic writing on hair-loss.

    My favorite, “In losing hair, you will meet your insecurities on the street. You will come nose-to-nose with the monster of your vanity. Your fears will move into the apartment next door with ashy bald heads, ears pressed to the thinning wall, waiting for your next sigh. You might even find yourself shifting to the second-person point of view mid-paragraph. Anything to distance yourself.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “Within this stubborn body is still a wishful soul.” I’m more than four score older than you, so at my age, it’s not surprising that I have some physical losses. And yet, within my stubborn body, a wishful soul refuses to give up hope. Acceptance and hope keep close company.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I watch Peggy, my wife, battle continuously with her hair. It has always been important to her, part of her image of who she is. But with age, change comes. Hair grows thinner, white shows through, hair dressers struggle with solutions. I empathize with Peggy, and I empathize with you, ‘Pemi. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Beautiful, uplifting, touching, spiritual……………….it never fails to amaze me to discover of the the myriad ways that nature and the spirit are found teaching us life’s most profound lesson- letting go.
    In the end, there will be freedom and then only the Spirit of unconditional Love. Wonderfully written. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

The conversation never stops, please join . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s