Since February it’s been like a religion to cover up my head with something. I embraced scarves early on and it was about the only thing you would have caught me in, sprinkled in with a few hand made hats. Once my hair started to grow a little I embraced the wig that I swore I would never wear. Basically because I was done looking like cancer. On the weekends here recently you’d catch me in a hat mostly.
Yesterday was a turning point. I was getting ready for church. In my normal routine of putting on makeup, brushing my teeth, applying deodorant, I always peer down at the mannequin head holding the wig, it’s a tad creepy, an odd thing to get used to, but it’s been part of the routine. The thought had crossed my mind probably a few thousand times, “am I ready to ditch this thing?” The answer for the last month or so to that question was a resounding, “NO!” For the first time yesterday though the answer was, “let’s try this.”
I grabbed my husband’s sculpting hair balm and slathered some on. I clearly had no clue what I was doing but how hard could it be to create a stylish messy hair look? Clearly, harder than it looks even with not that much hair to work with. I used a comb, used my fingers, back to the comb, grabbed a hair pick, back to the fingers then thought, “wonder if I can You Tube this?!” Then out of frustration I just ran my fingers through my hair and around and magic happened, it didn’t look half bad. Perhaps that’s the trick is to not try too hard at it!
After devouring my fiber cereal, fruit, and my orange juice for the morning. I was ready for the world (church) to see my almost three months of new hair growth. It’s all about baby steps. We loaded up into the car and headed to church, no turning back! People smiled, greeted us and the best part is no one really stared me down. The nice part of attending a fairly large church is in going from scarves, to a wig, to now really short hair, they likely think I am a newcomer three times over! Except I think I am still the only weird or in my opinion, super smart person that sanitizes her hands after they have you greet your neighbor.
Once service ended a sense of accomplishment came over me, I DID IT! Then in the car my husband shouts out, “who’s ready for lunch?” Ummm….. Oh crap, when I meant I was ready for the world to see my head standing in the bathroom staring at the wig I really meant church was a safe zone. My husband has a way of nudging me without really knowing or perhaps he does out of my comfort zone until I smack him. We then headed for lunch, out in the world, amongst lots of people. Trying to pick out the healthiest thing on the menu and looking up fat grams was likely a really good distraction. I powered through and felt somewhat ok.
I rolled with it the rest of the day through two soccer games and the grocery store. No silly comments, no unusual stares, no babies crying. It felt ok. Ironically the most liberating moment of my life was when I took my hair, feeling like GI Jane. I don’t feel that way now, it’s awkward. A big part of cancer is the change in your reflection. For me, it went from a liberating empowering reflection, to one of unrecognizable weakness, to a glimmer of who I remembered, to seeing more of the old me, to now. The now for me is the old me mixed in with the new me. It’s not easy to embrace, it’s uncomfortable. I don’t know if it gets any easier, likely no.
I decided last night that I would push myself even further today and ditch the wig for work. There was a pretty awesome debate in my head about this. The weekends are one thing to embrace it, work is a whole next level. I must have ran through my schedule in my mind a few dozen times thinking about who I would see on Monday. Then I mentally shook myself and said, “no time like the present.” Reality was I put the wig on for a brief moment this morning, then I DITCHED IT! I was in the car, I was doing this, I swallowed my anxiety (took my sanity pills), and rolled into work. It went well. I think some customers thought I was new, lots of double takes, and a couple of people complimented me on my hair cut. I did gently tell people that I don’t think it’s considered a hair cut if you just remove the wig.
It might be a few days before I move the mannequin head with the wig to the closet with the other one. I will get there. I am a little excited about getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and not be a little freaked out by the mannequin head staring back at me. That creepiness will be my comfort over the next few days until I am ready to embrace the counter space that exists between our double sinks.
Raise those cabernet glasses! It’s a milestone!