When I was diagnosed with cancer, the first thing I thought was, "Will I need chemo?" And the second thing I thought was, "What about my hair?" For a couple of weeks, until I got the biopsy results, I had to accept that my hair might be gone. It was difficult.
As it turned out, no chemo. But when I read about Rep. Ayanna Presley's hair, let's just say it resonated. She chose to share her story with The Root:
The night Pressley lost her final piece of her hair was pivotal, she says. Not only was it the night before Donald Trump’s impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, it was the anniversary of her mother’s death. The sense of loss was manifold.
“I was missing her. I was mourning my hair. I was mourning the state of our democracy. I was mourning my mentor, Chairman Elijah Cummings,” she said.
Pressley had already been accused of being “militant” when she wore her hair in twists, so she knew her bald head, stripped of context, would undoubtedly be viewed as a political message. So, she immediately sought out options. She called her friend Angela Rye, who connected her to “hair caregiver” Jamal Edmonds. Edmonds quickly created a custom wig for the Congresswoman, hours ahead of the time she was scheduled to deliver her vote to impeach the President of the United States.
“When I saw myself in the mirror, he had done a beautiful job, but I did not recognize myself,” she said. “I was wearing this wig, fully clothed. But in that moment, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d ever felt more naked.”
After voting on the House floor, Pressley left and hid in a bathroom stall, feeling exposed, vulnerable, and embarrassed. It was at that point that she remembered those same little girls looking up to her—and decided that when she was ready, she’d go public with her condition.
“I want to be freed from the secret and the shame that that secret carries with it,” Pressley said.
Seems I'm not the only one who related to her courage and vulnerability: