||[Jul. 4th, 2008|02:24 am]
I've decided what's to come. Not in a big life-changing way, just in a small way really.
Basically, this alopecia thing is becoming a non-issue, but at the same time it's irksome; I have a mostly clear scalp, but at the same time I still have some hair. I'd prefer it if it either started growing back, or went completely. At first, I resisted the idea that it was all going to go (partially because I was told that it only happens in rare cases), but reality is that it's going to happen.
For those wondering why I don't simply just shave it off right now, it suddenly becomes a lot more effort to maintain. Plus, it's easier to keep track of how much I'm losing when it's long. The problem is then that I can't really not wear a bandana when out in public. Again, if it was just one state or the other, I'd not be as self-conscious about it, it's just the transitory state that can be a bit of a pain (story of my life).
Anyway, the other fun thing is charting the non-growth of my facial hair. This is a major plus. Unfortunately, it's still patchy, but it's slowed tremendously. I haven't shaved since Transfab and any growth that does appear looks like about a one and a half week growth, as opposed to about 3. Some of the features are interesting; currently, I have an anti-sideburn on one side of my face, I find it quite amusing and like to point it out to people. Also, my neck is relatively clear, which is a boon. I almost want the alopecia to stay, just so I wouldn't have to invest in electrolysis or laser... wigs are affordable, right?
The strange note on wigs is that I haven't given them much thought. When I was a pretentious, teenage proto-tranny at the tender age of 16, I resolved to do things the hard way. One of my strongest commitments was that I wouldn't use a wig. I had no problem with those who did use one, it's just my set of double standards where I hold myself to tighter rules than I'd hold a friend or enemy, or just someone on the street. I've never really revised that since making it 10 years ago; I never had to. I could just abandon it in the name of pragmatism and necessity (and hey, a lot of people I admire and respect wear them), but at the same time, I feel like I'd be betraying another one of the many promises I'd made to myself at that age.
Of course, if I do resolve it within myself somehow, I could have some fun times ahead. My mum suggested that if it does all go, I should go for something drastic. Personally, my first plan is to get a non-permanent marker and draw patterns on my head, then consider a wig. In some ways, I'm not sure I'd care if it was particularly obvious that it was actually a wig, it'd allow for a better separation, meaning that I'd hopefully not lean on it as part of my identity. I think that's the part that scared my proto-tranny self, the idea that I'd rely on it for an identity... I don't want it to be me, I don't want to invest so much of myself into it that I couldn't bear being without it. Neil Gaiman summed it up really well with the Sandman recovering his tools, at the time it seemed like a good idea to put so much of himself into it, but now it seemed more like a liability as the tools were from him, so one way or the other, it all came from inside him. So, assuming I don't sink so much of myself into a wig that that would happen, I might be able to reconcile the idea of getting a wig with the standards I wanted to hold myself to.
(trigger)Now, in all of this, what I really want is some kind of big milestone. During some darker times I thought I wanted a scar to commemorate it. The thing is, I'd want it done in a safe way, not some middle-of-the-night-with-a-razor-blade jobbies. One of the hangups I have about it is that cutting really isn't my self-harm method of choice; I did it once and didn't really get a lot out of it... give me Washing Up With Aggressive Intent any day (silly and all as this sounds, I'm serious - please don't use this as a silly quote). I realise others are big into it, but the actual process isn't something I'd look forward to. Also, imagine explaining it to a shrink, "I lost all my hair so I figured I'd get a scar to mark it"; even if I said it was done in a sane, responsible manner it's not going to sound convincing.
So, the alternative method is to get a tattoo. In fairness, it's just a scar with ink/colour, but in all cases it's far more socially acceptable. To me, a tattoo always had to have a particular significance for me to get it, and I figure that a sheer scalp is not the worst landmark in my life to mark. The big question is what to get done. I've always wanted to get an ornate version of the Æ symbol tattooed. For those that don't know what it means, it's my post and pre initials handily combined. It's as much of an identity to me as Aoife. It's me, past and present, in one package. It's integration. At the same time, I don't want to get that done on this landmark. I don't want to associate the two things, it doesn't seem right. This landmark seems more about current conditions rather than identity. At the same time, the argument could be that it's to mark that my identity as me is still there, but I feel it better to mark the circumstances rather than anything else.
I was rather taken by a tattoo that Kate Bornstein once showed off to me. It was "I must not tell lies" in a light skin-tone on the back of her left hand. It was pretty amazing in its simplicity. I wonder if I could satisfy this need for a scar with a similar tattoo? Again, what I get done in this colour is a big question. For some reason the idea of three simple straight lines on my right bicep seems interesting, but I also want that site for 3 subdermal piercings/implants (whether that one ever happens, I don't know). I also have this idea of a bald face that I can draw - a disturbing, triangular sort of face with wide unblinking (of course, it's not animated, but whenever I draw it, I imagine them and never blinking) eyes - and in dark inks it would be too heavy-handed, so maybe this might be my best option, a scar-tone simple image of an androgynous unblinking face staring out forever from some part of my body. I want it to be a part of my body that I can see - it's my milestone, I want to see where I've come from, I don't care if nobody notices, I'll know it's there.
It appeals to all sorts of pagan/hippy-ish leanings in me, the idea of marking a source of personal power. To the casual outsider, it may not seem like a source of power, maybe even the opposite, but I want to reclaim this, I want to keep on living and look back at this as a point that I had my scalp shedding like a snake, freaking me out like nobody's business and I still came through and got a degree. I want to mark that point as a reminder that there are times when I'll have to adapt, and that I can do so.
Now, on the more social end of the milestones, I have the following in mind:
- If and when I lose the last hair on my scalp, I'm taking a bunch of friends and we're going to the pub. By the way, it'll be a mixed bunch, but most of ye should get on grand.
- This is more doubtful that this one will happen but if and when I lose my facial hair, I'm going for a meal. It'll be a smaller group, but I'm fucking celebrating that one.
- Any other areas I care about (torso, boobs, legs), celebratory drinks
I just wanted to share this with the world in general, and I'm sure this won't be the last post on this. In fact, it's probably easier for me to post it all now, because then the story isn't mine so much. Each pair of eyes that see this, and each person I tell, it becomes less and less about me, and more about a Story. The tattoo will mark it personally for me, and will be my souvenir of all that I've held private about it. I think it's a good balance.