The Tale of My Hair
How Chemicals Affect Us Without Our Even
after coming down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, a.k.a. CFIDS),
I maintained the short hair of the athlete / martial artist I once
was. Eventually, however, I decided that it was too difficult, both
monetarily and energy-wise to have to get my hair cut every few
What started as a simple adaptation to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
(CFS), ironically taught me a lesson about natural healing.
At first, I didn't use conditioner, and my hair was very healthy.
Every strand was thick, there were no split ends, and it was impossible
to break even a single strand of hair with my fingers. It would
merely slip through my grip, try as I might to hold on.
Then, one day, after my hair had become sufficiently long, I decided
to use conditioner, and it was a terrible mistake. Immediately afterwards
my hair, though more silky soft and manageable, had become thin
and brittle. Eventually, I even got split ends for the first time
in my life.
I complained to a female friend, showing her how easily strands
of my hair would break, but she said, "Isn't that normal?"
This was after using conditioner just one time, and refraining
from using it again, slowly my hair's health returned. A year or
so later, however, I decided to try some kind of "natural"
conditioner, but again, the same thing happened.
When I told this tale to another female friend, she couldn't believe
it. In fact, she smirked condescendingly and told me it could not
possibly have been the conditioner because conditioner helps
hair, not hurts it. She was certain I was not only ignorant but
a little nuts.
Well, my theory is that perhaps the chemicals in conditioner help
hair that is already damaged, but in hair that is truly healthy
like mine was, it merely brings it to the slightly damaged state
that has come to be considered normal.
My feeling is that most people no longer know what normal is, not
just for hair, but for nearly all aspects of our lives. My hair
experience shows this plainly, so I quickly stopped the damaging
behavior. In most instances, however, we simply don't know what
normal is anymore and therefore continue blithely onward, damaging
ourselves without even knowing it.
There was a time when I was like this about my diet. I am guilty
of that condescending smirk myself and had it for veganism, organically
grown food, and generally any theory that told of how bad the average
American diet was.
It just didn't seem bad to me. I certainly felt no ill effects
from eating out of cans, eating processed food, and snacking on
potato chips, but this is because I just didn't know better. I'd
never experienced anything else and had come to think it was normal,
just like all the women with long hair that's considered healthy
and normal, yet with thin strands that break. This is NOT normal.
I can tell you honestly, that before I used conditioner, a strand
of my hair would rip from my scalp before breaking.
For what it's worth, I tell you this tale.