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Make-up by Alexandra Chaix

“I am Mélanie, 41 years old. My physical characteristic: short graying hair. "What at 41, are you already assuming your gray hair?" “At your age, you should be getting a hair coloration”. However, this short gray hair has a story, my story for the past 3 years. A burnout in 2017 after 15 years of employment in a CAC 40 company. Came back to studies and a contractual termination in 2018. Breast cancer in 2019, when I started my business, the year of my 40th birthday. More than a year of treatment: chemotherapy, mastectomy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy. A protocol that is at first very scary, which makes your blood run cold and then, in my case, it allowed me to discover hidden resources in me, to work on myself and to go beyond my fears, to dare, to express my feelings. I decided to shave my hair 15 days after my first injection of chemotherapy. I didn't want to see my hair fall into the tub or onto the pillow so I took things in hand. And paradoxically, I felt proud, strong and brave, almost for the first time in my life. Throughout my treatments, I was keen to stay feminine and I accessorized my outfits, my head with bangs and turban, I did put makeup on.

My ‘reinvented femininity’ has been my main weapon in self-esteem. Sometimes I sometimes caught myself feeling prettier than I did before. Certainly because I finally dared to express my creativity and my personality. Now, I just got out of the heavy treatments that made me lose the main signs of femininity that society sends back to us: hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, a breast. Irony of fate, I was complexed by these signs of femininity: my boobs too small, my hair too curly and white before ahead of time. And I knew how to do without, it set me free. Luckily, my breast has been rebuilt immediately. My hair, eyelashes and eyebrows have grown back. Hard times, which I thought were insurmountable, are finally temporary. Everything passes by, nothing is set in stone. The moment of regrowth is one that we look forward to.

When you have lost everything, you welcome much more peacefully what comes into your life again. Gray, short and wavy hair is one of them. I didn't assume anything before: the color, the curly nature of my hair, its length. I did fit into the tiny society boxes: light brown hair, squared haircut, weekly smoothing. Today I welcome my gray hair, I’m thinking of keeping my hair short and living with my feminine way. It's not easy every day. The image of the 40-year-old woman in the media is not like me. I still accessorize my hairstyles a lot, to add color. Physical and psychological reconstruction remains my daily goal. I decided to be active, not to undergo the events and promised myself to find solutions, to make the necessary adjustments to stop relapsing, to live in the present moment, and to listen so much more to my intuition and my heart rather than my mind. This is my resilience. ”