The Mystery of the Thinning Hair

Countessa with Squid by Omar Rayyan
Countessa with Squid by Omar Rayyan.

Ah, to possess tentacle hair!

With my luck, one side would still be limp and scraggly. Could I comb my tentacles over to one side to cover up? No. This is my latest strategy, however.

I part my hair to the side. I’ve worn it that way for years. When my bangs misadjust themselves, a toss of my head rearranges them. What people who don’t live with me miss, is that I toss my head interminably throughout the day.

The frequency and intensity of head tossing are directly related to two things—anxiety of course, and the length of my bangs.  To keep my head tossing muscles from becoming too prominent and glossy, I schedule bimestrial hair appointments.

Our family stylist, Kira, is a blessing. She has a brother with Asperger’s, so she is very sensitive to Liev and me.  She entertains and soothes Liev with the flair of a favorite aunt.  On a particularly twitchy morning, she hauled out the big book of hair colors for me to peruse. She knew I would savor the nylon expanse of color.

I feel so comfortable with Kira, I shared my worry over the problematic right side of my head.

My hair has a fine, European texture.  One woman told me I had “Disney Princess” hair. This is the most laughable thing I ever heard.  My hair is soft and silky—but it is distributed in a bizarre manner.

The back of my head is a tropical tangle and the left side is modestly dense. The right side, however, is thinning badly. It isn’t quite Yoda-ish, but at the rate my hair is thinning, I am concerned.

Kira suggested I might be doing something specific to thin my hair. Do I sleep always on the same side? No.  Do I twist or tug at my hair? No.

Trichotillomaniacs pepper our family, so I took note. I might pursue a pimple with lusty gusto, but I don’t pull out my hair. We decide to style my hair parted to the left to normalize my appearance.

As she finishes my ‘do, she encouraged me. “It will occur to you, Lori. One moment you will be doing something…” She paused and tipped her head to the side. Dramatically she swooped her fingers through her hair. “And you will realize what is thinning your hair.”

In an instant, I realized– that is what I do!  I am a compulsive hair-raker.  I must rake my hands through the right side of my hair three dozen times a day. I never connected my quirk with hair loss. I don’t fuss with the left side because I am right-handed. I would not reach across my field of vision.

Kira solved a grand mystery. I’ve had periodic thinning for years. Under stress, I rake manically. Raking is a tic of sorts, a nervous re-adjustment.

Why would anybody rake their hair into such a state? Well, you would pull up a pair of sinking baggy pants. You notice the sensation and hike up your trousers. If the sensation is too annoying, you get new pants or a belt. I am stuck with my scalp, so I might consider a headband.

Ha.  I reckon I’d wind up with a little bald ring circumnavigating my head, so perhaps not.

Heaven help me, I might need to use some self-control!

The portrait is “Countessa with Squid” by the incredible Omar Rayyan.

8 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Thinning Hair

  1. Hair! I always had to put my hair up so I wouldn’t pull on it, twirl it, or brush it a million times because it tangles easily. I have a habit of tugging on my hair, or combing threw it with my fingers because I like the way it feels. I caused a small bald spot at one time on the right side. I freaked out and forced myself to stop. Hence, hair put up to stop temptation. 🙂 I had no idea these were quirks or anything until reading about others doing the same thing.

    Tentacle hair looks fun!That is a fabulous piece of art. I just went and checked Omar Rayyan out I think those are so amazing and imaginative. I may get stuck looking at them for a while.

    I am glad you figured out the mystery, hopefully you can use self-control. OR possibly invent tentacle wigs for all of us who cannot control themselves. 🙂

    1. Aha! I had less trouble with my hair when I wore it long and in a ponytail. Sadly, said ponytail was a tempting grip for my son. I think the only way I can keep my hands off it will be to pull it back.

      I will be mindful to the tic, but I know some other odd thing will replace it.

      I am glad you liked the artist! He is very talented. His work is a throwback to the great Victorian illustrators. What colors! It is such a joy to share art!

      I am certain some talented soul on Esty knits tentacle caps. I get goosebumps thinking of all the head-tossing I could do with one of those! 🙂

  2. Glad you solved the issue! Disney Princess Hair! One time a massage lady told me she hadn’t touched such soft skin since she worked for the princess of some country. LOL. I think she was going for a big tip! My hair is a constant bother. Since moving to the Northwest in the USA, I’ve found a new love for wool hats. Often, I drop of the boys without ever brushing my hair. I just plop on the hat (in my robe, too) and drive them to school. I never like my hair, except maybe 3 to 5 days a month, when it cooperates. It’s half curly. So the top is straight and bottom curls a bit. Everyone else has always liked my hair, though. Now that I’m aging, the white is coming in course and stringy. Not my favorite. I could go on an on. Thanks for the post. I used to pick at my split ends in high school – stimming.
    Take care (of the hair) ~ Sam

    1. The woman who made the “princess” comment was a Latina I worked with in the 1990’s. She lamented her thick, lovely curly hair, wishing for hair like mine. If we could have traded, she would have been back in a week, requesting her natural hair!

      I love hats and bandanas! Any excuse to not mess with a brush seems fine to me. I don’t have a robe (I’d abrade myself re-tying it every 30 seconds), but I do have two nightgowns I would like to wear forever. I dress in little Lori Uniforms so I don’t need to think much about what to wear before I go out. When most of what you own is only one or two colors, it helps keep the choices stylish–or unobtrusive! 🙂

  3. Wow! That’s fascinating. It always blows my mind when I realize I’ve been doing something subconciously. Now you know, so hopefully you can preserve that disney princess hair!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is amazing when a new insight clues you into a behavior. It is almost like learning someone’s deepest secret–I feel almost as if I don’t know myself at all. I think that AS will be giving me many more such moments in the future!

  4. You might want to get a check up at the doctor if you hair is still thinning out. I turned out to have thyroid disease. Low thyroid hormone will cause your hair to thin.

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful suggestion!

      Fortunately, I recently had my 5 year thyroid levels checked so I am okay. As it turned out, I was scraping my hair out. I pulled my hair up and fought with mself for two weeks to keep my hands off it and I’ve finally gor some re-growth.

      I appreciate the advice, it’s always a good idea to look at your whole body!


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