Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

by | Jan 7, 2014

I am losing my hair. I kid you not.

Once upon a time I had so much hair I did not know what to do with it. My mother would chase me around the house with a comb and I would scream, “No.” Finally, she would wrestle me down and comb through knot after knot of glorious, big, bouncy, black curls.

It’s ironic really as I was born with not a single hair on my head. My parents wondered if the hair would ever come or if they would have to keep repeating the statement, “Thank you but it’s not a boy. It’s a girl.”

Not much hair but check out that baller British Airways swing.

Not much hair but check out that baller British Airways swing.

But when the hair came, boom, there it was. You could barely find me in it. We had to come up with inventive ways to try and get it out of my face. My parents tried braids. That didn’t work because I wouldn’t sit still long enough.

They tried ponytails, which semi-worked because they didn’t actually require combing through my hair.

And we tried bangs, which were an absolute failure of epic proportions and that is why I have no interest in showing you such horrible pictures of that time period. They could be used against me at a later date.

In the end, my mom opted for the easiest option which was, of course, to let me run wild with my locks.

Up until recently I haven’t really thought of my hair as anything other than a nuisance. Over the years I would always get comments, “Wow, I love your hair. What do you do to it? What products are you using?”

My wild child hair days.

My wild child hair days.

The hair dressers used to fight over me, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment or not. They would talk about me as a challenge. While some of these hair dressers succeeded, others failed miserably and would leave me wearing a baseball cap for a month.

The main reason my hair was so complicated was due to my complex heritage. My mom is half white and half black and my father is Pakistani. That left my hair somewhere in between; in between black and in between white, not quite Pakistani, but somewhere in the middle.

Some of my hair is curly, other parts are straight. It is thick as hell, knots very easily, takes about six hours to dry and I don’t even try to do the roll out of bed thing or I look like I put my finger in an electrical socket.

As I got older, I just put it up in a bun or a knot or a ponytail as much as I could to get it out my face.

Then I discovered straightening.

Wow. You mean I can make it as thin as possible? You mean it can actually be flat to my head? I have to try this!

Fade into over ten years of straightening, burning, sizzling and frying my hair to produce the following results:


But all the while, I didn’t know how much I was damaging my hair. Especially in the years before ceramic. I would sit there and straighten my hair for hours and sure, it would look good by the end of it, but the damage that I did was intense.

A few years ago I started embracing my curls.

It had taken several years but it felt like I was rediscovering them again. My fiance, Rob, does not understand why I spend so much time straightening, trying to be someone I am not. He would say, “I like the bush woman look” which is me at 8 a.m. with my hair sprawled all over the place and the sleep in my eyes. When I would spend hours on getting my hair pin straight he would barely notice and when I would spend ten minutes slopping some gel in it he would exclaim, “wow wow wow!” My hair dresser, Nick, once said to me, “People are literally dying to have curls like these.” I looked at myself in the mirror as he cut and flipped my hair around and I realized, hmm maybe I do like my curls.

And thus began the curl wearing days. The product experiments and washing and wearing.

And I think I have finally accepted my hair.

Obama likes curls (well I don't know this so don't quote me)

Obama likes curls (well I don’t know this so don’t quote me)

 I finally seen it for what it truly is, and that is thick, big, bouncy and beautiful.


Now that I have accepted it, finally decided to rejoice in my own hair, what should happen?

It starts falling out! Ah!

They say hair defines a woman. They say hair is a sign of youth.

Only when you start to lose your hair do you recognize the significance of these words.

Will I be less of a woman if my hair falls out? What will I look like? What will people think of me? I remember when I was younger this lady would come to the golf course where my parents played and she had no hair on the top of her head. She was an Indian woman and she had a long plat going down the back of her head, but no hair on the front. My cousins and I would stare at her and looking back on it I wish I hadn’t done that. I know it must have been uncomfortable enough without kids snickering at you. But it was so fascinating to us. Why was she a woman…and bald?

Female pattern baldness can actually be caused by a number of different factors (all of which I am examining). Medicines, hormonal changes, stress, genetic pre-dispositions, vitamin deficiencies and other medical conditions can all cause hair loss.

Over the last month or so I have noticed my hair falling out in the shower much more than usual. This is not the first time I have been face to face with hair loss. Three years ago a patch of hair on my head literally just fell out in a clump. I didn’t notice it until my mom was helping me do the back of my hair and noticed a bald patch. She gave me the mirror and I looked in horror at the white scalp on the back of my head. It was terrifying!The doctor said it was alopecia areata, a medical condition in which your hair falls out. There is no cure and little understanding of why the hair actually falls out but it can be related to an autoimmune disorder. My doctor said it was stress, gave me a few injections of steriod in my scalp and some topical cream and sent me on my way. In no time my hair was growing back. And here three years later my hair is falling out…again. So I am off to the doctor and will let you know the results.

But it is interesting to think of my hair and my youth and how they are intertwined like a strand of hair.
And now that my hair is not there, now that it is flat just like I wanted it to be…I want it back!

My hair now:

I found out the reason!

Read more about my hair loss struggles here:


  1. Tammy

    Your hair issues and mine are VERY similar (well except for the falling out issues). When I discovered straightening went crazy and never wore it curly. But my hair was so fried! This summer I’ve been wearing it curly most of the time and people tend to love it. Yet, I think I need to find a man who likes the curly locks. My male friends will see it a few times curly, then see it straight and tell me how good I look. Ugh, it’s difficult!

    • sookton

      Tammy I love your hair! Wear it curly all the time. We are going to rock our curls this weekend.

  2. Amanda

    I totally understand your journey with your hair. I have used my hair as a symbol for my struggle with my black/white identity as well. My hair has been the subject of many of my poems.

    It has taken me a long time, but I have accepted my hair as it is too. Unlike you, I didn’t go through the straightening phase, but did try every possible cut on earth to figure out what didn’t look like a chia pet gone wild.

    Thank you for sharing, and I hope your doctor is able to provide you answers/solutions.

    • sookton

      It is funny how hair can define us. I’m glad we have both accepted ourselves AND our lovely hair.

  3. Chris Forbes

    Wow… I know the feeling about watching the hair come and unfortunately watching the hair go.

    I just went to a “family reunion” (it was a wedding but it was the FIRST time everyone got together) and it was funny looking at all the males 28 years old and above all sporting rather dapper looking bald heads.

    It kinda put some stuff in perspective for me about just embracing whatever it is you have and making that work for you.

    btw doesn’t the topic of curly vs. straight come up in that movie Good hair? Or comes close or something? I thought “Hey, girl movie. Will not watch.” But here I am reading a girl’s blog…. how funny…


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