Memory is an odd thing. After two years, the memory of going through chemotherapy has faded. I certainly recall that it was god-awful, and made me sicker than anyone ever really needs to be. But the actual physical feelings induced by heavy-duty chemicals coursing through my veins … those have faded. Chemo is now really only a memory, not an active reaction to pain. I no longer wince when my blood tingles, or worry that my feet are dying when neuropathy causes my toes to go ballistic. And the washed-out desiccated feeling … the sense of being one of the living dead … that too has gone. Now, like everyone else I am merely aging, rather than falling apart like an over-cooked chicken.

All of this is, of course, a good thing. However, along with the sharp twinges of physical pain, I have lost the lovely curly hair that resulted from chemo. I mean, if there was ever a plus side to having cancer and going through chemo, it was ending up with beautiful curly hair. However, along with the less desirable side effects of chemotherapy my curls are now a thing of the past. Bummer!

Instead I am left with a head full of swirly, contrary cowlicks.

Cowlicks?  Now there is a strange word if ever there was one. 

Why cows and not some other domesticated animal? Why not horselicks or sheeplicks? I guess, for whatever reason, long ago and far away, cows became the chosen lickers. Admit it … the cow-licking image is rather unnerving, right? I mean, have you ever seen the SIZE of a cow’s tongue? And that does not take into account the whole ick factor just thinking about it. Hello, major slime-fest coming up! Hose me down!  But apparently, we have no other way to describe the phenomena of a few entitled tufts stirring up trouble and rebelling against the rest of the hair population … at least directionally.

There you go … Directionally Challenged … That might work instead of Cowlicks.

My hairdresser does his best, and cuts my hair to accommodate the strange, directionally challenged bits and pieces.  But still, from one day to the next, my hair stands at attention to the left or the right or sometimes both left and right at the same time. And sometimes it wafts straight out from my forehead as if a unicorn has become one with my hair. But, most days my hairstyle might be most kindly referred to as The Great Dishwater Blond Musk Ox Impersonation … as if my cowlicks share some sort of affiliation with all things bovine. Would that the Musk Ox were a more popular animal, and more commonly used as a fashion Icon. Sigh.

It is as if a few of my former beautiful curls come back one or two at a time, just to say, “Hello, remember me?” They stay and visit for the day looking oddly familiar. Then they go back to hair-tuft-heaven once again.  I have begun referring to them as my chemo curls. They are just a gentle reminder of what we have been through together, my hair and I. And in some strange way I feel that I need to let them hang out and do their thing. I go along with the directionally challenged bits and pieces as a sign of respect for the years of service my hair has provided. It is as if my hair, just like the rest of me, gets tired of the same old routine, and just wants to take some time off to do its own thing.

Or maybe it is just that I forget to brush my hair, or I sleep on it wrong, or it is time to get it cut. Whatever the reason, I have become comfortable with the Wild and Wonky look.

But please, do tell me if I stray into the area of the visually demented … you know, the Einstein hair challenged homeless bag-lady look.

But then again, since I am not sure what I could do about it, perhaps you would be so kind as to endure the wonky hairdo view, and blame the cows. 

p.s. Don’t start with the cow jokes, because … cow-a-bunga … once you start it is hard to stop. 

One Reply to “COWLICKS”

  1. Oh Constance ( were u ever called Constance?—bet could riff on that!!)
    How you pay attention is just so delightful. Am so glad the visceral memory of chemo has passed. Hope someday the treatment will be in a sucker…or the cure will do away with the word chemo!!

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