“Stacey, you are lucky! You have such beautiful eyebrows.”
“But Mom, they are so thick – I hate them. Could I please pluck them!”
“But why? They are lovely. One day, you will be thankful!”
This was how the conversation endured between my mother and I as I was growing up. My eyebrows were thick and the fashion was a thin line.
Little did I know at that time, that my eyebrows were what made my personality. People know what and how I was thinking depending on how I moved my brows. I have one of those “expressive” faces. It is animated even when I am thinking. This used to get me into trouble when I was in school as I’d react to what the teacher was teaching – using my brows. “Stacey, is everything okay?”, the teachers would ask. This was horrific because I was so shy I did NOT want to be the centre of attention. My darned eyebrows betrayed me.
One summer I was visiting my cousin Marilyn, in Toronto. She was more city-like and cultured than I was as a younger, country – bumpkin of a cousin. Her brows were plucked and manicured. “I can pluck them for you, Stacey” she offered. Graciously (and with zeal) I accepted.
She lay me down on the floor of the bathroom so that she could see better. She began. Over an hour later (my brows were thick) and much pain, she was finished. I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe the difference! I was sophisticated! The only problem was that my skin was stark white where the brows used to be – they had hidden the skin beneath quite successfully from the sun. Other than that – I was thrilled!
When I got home, the first thing my Mom said to me was, “What did you do to your eyebrows?”. I couldn’t believe that was the first thing she noticed. She then cried. Seriously. I felt awful – but not enough to regret having “in” brows.
Eventually, the brows grew in. I did not like plucking them and maintaining them.
It wouldn’t be until I was in my late 40s until I plucked them again. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t want to disappoint my Mom again – or if it was just too much hassle to pluck them.
Nonetheless, I have always kept my brows on the thicker side.
It was when I went to the “Look Good, Feel Better” program, when I realized that brows are an important part of expression. Many of the women in the program who were receiving chemo like me, had lost their eyebrows and were trying to learn how to “pencil” them in. “You talk with your eyebrows” explained one of the make-up consultants. “You are lucky”, she said to me. “You still have your eyebrows”. Ha. I guess Mom was right.
Over the past week, however, I have noticed my eyebrows getting thinner and thinner.
Today.. I am missing half of the brow.
What will tomorrow bring, I wonder?
My eyebrows are me. How will I express myself without them? Will I be using a pencil to create an artificial brow?
It seems almost as bad as when I lost the hair on my head.
I am now 5 chemo treatments in and I thought for sure I would keep my brows. I was so very thankful to have them… finally.
I guess Mom was right after-all.