View Full Version : The Three Missing Years from LHC (PHOTO HEAVY)

January 18th, 2015, 11:28 PM
So, my decade mark for LHC will be in June, but I lurked for a long time before I joined, and I wasn't an active poster for the last few years. I backed up all my cell phone photos and wanted to show what I did from January 2013 (a bit after I went dark on this site) to my hair till today. I'll post a TL;DR as the second post here about what I learned from my absence at LHC and why I am happy to be back.

So, in late 2012 taking care of my hair started to feel like a burden. It didn't make me feel pretty anymore. I'd also gone through a really rough time, having a miscarriage and loosing my son near the same time. It's hard to give half a damn about your hair when you're dealing with loosing a child. I don't have any pictures of when my hair was at its longest but it was in rough shape- my fine, brittle hair needs frequent oil treatments and s&d's or it splits like crazy, and I hadn't been doing either. I also hadn't been taking care of myself and was eating too much to deal with my grief so I got fatter than I'd like, too. Self care was hard to pull off at that point. It felt like another damn thing to check off my endless to do list every day when what I wanted to do was stay in bed. I knew better than to do a big chop, especially as emotional as I was at the time. I started microtrimming up from upper thigh/past classic/bottom of the butt, and I finally went to a salon and got a couple of feet of ratty ends cut off, snipping it up to my waist.


Ken at Hair Mission (Hair Mission 12503 Rampart St Austin, Texas) did that cut, was super sweet, and when I told him he was the first person in 8 years to touch my hair with scissors he told me he was honored. If you're in the Austin area he may be worth looking into if you want a long hair friendly trim, he was very careful not to take off more than I wanted. And he was awesome enough that years of chaos later I remember his name. The guy is good.

Since I wasn't as worried about growth I started to experiment more with styling that might cause damage- hair spray and back combing a bit, among some other things, but I still wore my hair in an easy bun about 90% of the time. Here's a front of face hairstyle picture- a rarity on LHC, no?


I was still moderately unhappy so when I thought about it, and remembered in a week or two, I'd take off another inch or so. It was more an agressive microtrim policy that was slowly nibbling length than anything else, and not really well thought out. Given that I'd spent the previous seven years of my life obsessed with long hair, I didn't want to emotionally make a huge chop and regret it.

Then came the Big Chop. I had been thinking about it for months, but the GirlChild was having an issue. We had to cut most of her hair off, and she was about to cry, so I grabbed the scissors and just chopped off a good half of my length. With kitchen sheers. It was a very uneven, ragged haircut that kind of looked like arse. Here I am, half my hair gone, and that expression pretty much sums up what I was thinking at the time-


Here I am looking sassy in my longish bob.


I seriously do not recognize myself in this picture, or most the pictures from this time period. I think I look like one of my friends who is way more awesome than I am, though, so I'm OK with that. This is within an inch or two of the shortest my hair got. I found it highly irritating at this length, too short to put up and keep off my neck.


Not too long after this we became frequent fliers to the hospital. My wife kept getting sick in weird ways. The doctors could not figure out what was going on with her, and she kept having all these strange, unrelated symptoms (they were all related, actually, she has early onset Parkinson's disease, which wiped out like, 20 diagnoses that she'd accumulated over a decade, and gave he one we can't do much with). So, as my wife's health started to deteriorate, I started my program of not so benign neglect. My hair was in a bun most of the time to keep it off my neck, I still had my silk pillowcases from my long hair days, but I didn't do a lot of the other things I knew I needed to do- oilings, deep treatments, s&d's- partly because my hair was short enough it didn't need the babying. As hair is prone to do when you put it up and forget it, it got longer.

A few months ago my wife became completely disabled. We started immediately working on what she can do to give her life purpose and meaning when there's days she can't stand, walk, or use her hands. Right now she's wrapping up her BS in Sociology, she's already gotten early admissions into the #2 Master's degree program in the country for her intended course of study, and she's going for a PhD in clinical counselling. I don't know many women that can go from "You have to quit the job you love and you're going to be in pain for the rest of your life" to applying to graduate schools in two weeks, but my wife is one of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life. She is indomitable in spirit and I am so proud of her. Anyway. Back to hair.

This is the photo I took of the back of my head at a friends wedding in April of 2014. I had bleached the base of my hair, right above the nape of my neck, because why not. I look awful with blond hair but I really like how the blond streaks give some visual interest to my updos and braids. The half up is from an old Torrin Paige tutorial- knots and ladders. One of the first 20 or so she put up, I think. So I still had some of my long hair tricks.


Not the best photo, but I was more interested in the wedding than my vanity.

Here's a braid waive/poofy hair picture, where I try to fool people into thinking I have volume, from November 9, 2014


You can see I'm almost at BSL there. The face shot from that good hair day is here:


Another shot that shows off the blond portion of my hair taken in November of 2014:


After nearly a decade on LHC my first four stranded braid that was good enough I was willing to admit I'd done it:


And hopefully in the next couple of days I can get a decent length shot, because I'm finally at bottom of the bra strap BSL even with my hair in a braid, so I'm firmly in BSL to waist land. So that's what I've been up to in the few years I wasn't really posting. The next post is going to be what I learned through all of this.

January 18th, 2015, 11:49 PM
So, a couple of take aways from this:

LHC is probably the nicest internet community I've ever been a part of. The mods do an AMAZING job here, to keep the tone of this place so positive and supportive, when the internet is full of anonymous, hateful trolls. I'm on probably at least a hundred forums, and this is one of the few places I feel safe. So, thanks, Mods, for all you do to keep out the bad element.

Wrapping anything up as part of your identity can be a bad thing. I'd bundled long hair into who I was, not just something I liked and something I did. I had to untangle that before I could do what I needed to do at the time, which was chop off my damaged hair so I had one less chore to deal with, when I didn't have the emotional strength to deal with it. It took me a good 6-8 months from when I first started thinking of cutting my hair weekly till I finally started removing length, and then it was a long process until I was no longer a long hair anymore. Having long hair is good. Having long hair as part of WHO YOU ARE and something that defines you makes it difficult to be flexible. I'm obviously heading back on the long hair journey at this point.

I don't regret cutting my hair at all. I felt relived, that I had taken care of myself, even though I felt like a disappointment in some ways (see the above point about long hair should not be part of your identity). My goal is the same- I want to grow out to knee. I set myself back on this goal a couple of years but really, who cares about that? In the grand scheme of things it is really not that important.

The long hair obsession is only good for me as long as it makes me feel beautiful and I'm having fun with it. When it makes you sad for too long, or feel bad for too long, even if everyone around you is yelling at you to keep your hair- it's yours. You need to take care of you, and if that means going from ankle to knee, or from waist to a bob, well, you do you.

No one can take care of you if you don't take care of yourself. Conversely, you can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself.

Saying "I would NEVER cut my hair!" over and over again just makes life really difficult when you need to do something like that. It's a lot easier if, instead, you say "I can't see wanting to cut my hair at this point, but sometimes things change." It also makes it harder for people who don't know you well to try to tease you if you've cut your hair because of grief or illness. Sometimes you just don't want to explain to someone who's trying to be nice to you and engage with you that you don't want to freaking talk about it because you're still bleeding on the inside, and their teasing is not the gentle ribbing they think they're giving you, but rather sticking a finger in a bloody wound.

I'm sure there is more, I get deep when I think about my hair too much, maybe in pennance for being so vain about it, but I have missed you all, and since I found these photos I wanted to share them with you. In the decade I've been on LHC I've been bald with a shaved head, had BSL dreadlocks, purple hair, classic + length hair, silken tresses, velcro, and more. I've gone from being an ultimate computer nerd and tomboy, to learning how to do my hair, my nails, and my makeup- all as an adult. I've learned more about chemistry and how to create my own products, and to figure out what I really needed and how to make it vs. depending on the products at the store, than I ever imagined I could.

So, thank you, LHC, for being such a large part of my life for so long. I'm happy to be here.

January 19th, 2015, 01:32 AM
Nice.... ( nice to read, you express yourself very well )

I am sorry about your great loss, and glad that you found a new way to navigate through this life

Your hair looks great, and give it time, it will grow long and strong again

hanne jensen
January 19th, 2015, 01:41 AM
Welcome back after your sabbatical from us. A lot has happened in your life that has been so much more important than hair. I'm amazed that you could get through all this without going totally insane. You must be a very strong person.

With all your SCIENTIFIC experiments, you'll reach knee and with healthier hair.

You have a beautiful face and hair all lengths really suit you.

Belle Paix
January 19th, 2015, 07:19 AM
Thanks for sharing your story; it's always interesting to be able to 'see' someones mindset when they go through the trials like you've gone through. The community here IS great! I've been a lurker for a couple of years, off and on, now, and always been impressed with the quality of the posters. Welcome back, thanks for sharing, and you've got a beautiful face :)!

January 19th, 2015, 07:56 AM
thank you for sharing that. You were one of the first people I" talked "to on the site and I missed you when you weren't around.

I'm so very sorry for your losses, and also happy for your gains in insight and thankful for your humor and writing.


January 19th, 2015, 09:08 AM
Hi, Wow, thank you for sharing! I really liked reading your post because you are very articulate. I am sorry for your loss. And your wife seems really like superwoman. You too by the way. I read every sigle thing and it resonated with my former self. I have also learnt to detangle myself from my hair and it took a longer time than I wanted to admit. But now i am enjoying my hair more. And that is something to smile about. Again thanks for sharing and have a great future!

January 19th, 2015, 10:10 AM
I had tears in my eyes reading through this, such devastating life events. :( But how fantastic that your wife continues to achieve great things, and how privileged we are that you could share your journey with us. Thank you. You and your hair are beautiful, by the way :flower: It is very true, that the desire to gain length can become incredibly unenjoyable... I get rather irrationally disappointed when i have to remove even the tiniest amount of length, even when I know the ends are straggly and horrid. The strive for length can become a real obsession! :roll eyes:

January 19th, 2015, 10:57 AM
You are have the most gorgeous eyebrows. (Sorry, just HAD to say that.)

Thank you for the pictures and telling us your journey. Glad you are here!

January 19th, 2015, 11:11 AM
You've been through so much over the past years. It sounds like you have handled so many things remarkably well. Congratulations on pulling through and I wish the best for you, your wife and your hair!

January 19th, 2015, 11:22 AM
Wow, hugs to you for everything that happened and congrats for making it through! I loved your pics and you summary. (also, your wife is indeed awesome.)

I love your point that it's important to make sure that your hair!=you, so that if for some reason something happens to it or you're not in a place to take care of it any more, it doesn't add a layer of devastation on top of the other problems. Long hair is only great if it makes you feel pretty/is fun to do, not if it's draining or exhausting finite resources. I've made that my philosophy lately and it's really serving me well.

Welcome back! The LHC is always here for you.

January 19th, 2015, 02:57 PM
Quite a story. I am disabled myself, and a chronic pain patient. From this perspective, I'm wishing your wife all the best! :)

Congrats to you for reaching BSL, and thanks for sticking around - I always feel sad when people leave!

January 19th, 2015, 05:21 PM
You are such an inspiration! I look forward to reading your posts in the future & to see how your hair is coming along. You are beautiful and your hair is so lovely!

Many hugs to you and yours!

PS: I too, am in brow envy. Dude. Seriously.

January 19th, 2015, 05:48 PM
I agree with the others. Thank you for sharing your very intimate story. So glad you are back and I also look forward to your future posts. When I saw your face, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful you are as well. Since I guess I have nothing new to say, Ill simply wrap up :)

January 19th, 2015, 05:53 PM
Gosh you nearly made me cry with such an inspirational story ^_^. In addition to your story, your words in general are so very well articulated, but I digress. Your hair is soooo pretty! What half of us wouldn't give for hair like yours :) stay beautiful!

January 19th, 2015, 06:11 PM
Thank you for sharing your story, I am new to LHC. Your hair is beautiful and your smile is too! You and your wife have been through so much and your reaction to it all is so inspiring. I hope the best for you and your family, (hugs)

January 19th, 2015, 06:30 PM
Thank you for sharing yourself with us, you are very inspirational.

Hugs and blessings to you.

January 20th, 2015, 10:46 AM
Wow, such a great story. Condolences for your losses and I'm sorry for your wife's health issues. My father was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson's... 14 years ago? Since then, he's written a lot about his days in the military and really focused on exploring his interests, so I hope your wife will find similar comfort. :grouphug:

Thank you for your dedication to LHC. You and your hair are so beautiful.

Agnes Hannah
January 20th, 2015, 03:41 PM
Glad you are back with us at LHC, you have been through such a lot! It is obvious you have a strong and loving relationship with your wife and now is your time to build on this and when your wife had got her Bs, this will spur you both on. Brilliant, you both deserve it. Sending you both the biggest hugs.
You are really pretty by the way, and you have lovely hair.

January 20th, 2015, 04:27 PM
I am so sorry you had to go through that! I can't even begin to imagine how terrible it must have been. You must be a very stong person, and your wife too. She seems amazing.

And you are so right in that hair should be something fun, and not a duty. Our hair is there for us, not the other way around.

Many hugs to you and your wife :grouphug: I wish you both the best!

January 20th, 2015, 04:33 PM
I'm so sorry for your terrible losses, and so glad you're back on LHC. :grouphug:

January 27th, 2015, 08:42 AM
Thank you everyone for your kind words. For those with brow envy, worry not- my family genetics, great eyebrows tend to go with the sluggish metabolism.

Basically, you seem to get your pick- patchy flat eyebrows and a tiny butt, or great eyebrows and a HUGE ARSE.



January 27th, 2015, 08:56 AM
Thank you everyone for your kind words. For those with brow envy, worry not- my family genetics, great eyebrows tend to go with the sluggish metabolism.

Basically, you seem to get your pick- patchy flat eyebrows and a tiny butt, or great eyebrows and a HUGE ARSE.



in my culture, this is a good thing :wigtongue:rolling:

January 27th, 2015, 02:32 PM
Thank you for sharing your story. Both you and your wife seem to be very strong and it's wonderful that you can rely on each other when you need it the most.

Oh, and you have a very pretty face.