- You don’t need a swim cap.
- No embarrassing swimsuit line shaving issues.
- People give you spontaneous, heartfelt gifts. All the time. Everywhere.
- You don’t feel guilty spending $200 on makeup and earrings.
- Just tape down your nose and voila! You’ve got a Voldemort costume for Halloween!
- If there’s long hair clogging the bathroom sink, you can yell at your daughter about picking up after herself with complete confidence.
- When your bones hurt and you need help with your grocery bags, you don’t need to worry about the clerk resenting your entitlement issues.
- Showers can get done really really quickly.
- Water, air and hands touching your head becomes new, novel and delicious.
- You lose the Bellevue Bob privilege.
The entire family has been a bit shell shocked by the move to chemo. Things become more real once that word becomes active. And when we learned, after a good wrestling match with the insurance company, that I’d be starting with the chemo that causes hair loss, that weighed on us. It’s been pretty heavy here in the Lepeintre household over this last week.
I’ve been binge watching medical shows like House. (I have no excuse! I have no explanation! But I can tell you they do not have insurance issues there. I also feel a sense of moral superiority when they have a patient with a 5 cm liver tumor doomed to die. HA! That is NOTHING, baby! :-))
In general, I’ve been emotionally and physically constipated.
So when I went in Tuesday for chemo, and we had to reschedule again, I was feeling really quite down for me.
So I went SHOPPING. Hair, make up, boots!
When she chopped off that first long piece up front, there was no turning back. And I was ready to cry. A bad day had just become worse.
I talked to myself through each snip, reminded myself that a change would be fun. I visualized makeup and earrings and new leather jackets.
But in the end, I loved it. I immediately loved it!
And I felt free. Free.
I’m not a Bellevue Bob girl, even though I’ve worn a bob for most of my 14 mothering years. I’m not even blond. Never was.
And despite having some great, ample ta-ta’s most of my life, I’ve never been a curvy girl, Not really. Not inside.
There was a moment, last Spring, after I’d gained about 40 extra pounds, where I decided I either needed to go get me a new set of boobs or lose the stomach. The middle-aged man beer belly look just wasn’t working for me.
So I lost 40 pounds.
I’m strong and quirky and smart. I’m positive and insightful and appreciative of the gifts people bring. I’m impulsive and distractable, manic, bossy, impatient, assertive and thrilled by novelty — new people, new experiences, new insights to how to be here in this life. I’m funny and I laugh with good heart and goodwill towards myself and others. I’m a bit self-centered, but I’m still a good friend.
I’m not nurturing or organized or thoughtful. I miss appointments. I forget birthdays, thank you notes, and Christmas cards and names. I’m not tidy or consistent with house rules and chores. But my children are amazingly well-adjusted. I am culturally Christian, but not a believer in any specific religion.
But I get the model mom perks with this bob, micro-nods of approval in so many tiny ways and small spaces that it’s beyond my ability to illustrate it here.
I like those perks. And I really had some angst around shedding them.
In my English 101 class, we are reading the short story “My American Jon” by Chimamanda Adichie (http://thebinj.blogspot.com/2007/08/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie.html). I have been pondering the sheer strength of her protagonist, Amaka. She is a Nigerian woman, an immigrant to the US, who has been in a relationship with a White man “Jon” for two years. In the story, we see overwhelming evidence of how small slights that measure her as less than or Other compared to White barrage her everywhere, all the time. One of the many things this story describes is an addiction Amaka has to the privilege, the perks, this man gives her access to, even when these perks create racial microaggressions against her.
In a crazy upside down way, one cancer perk is it’s ability to free me from the addiction I have to other emptier perks.
Now if I could just get this bald head a bit smoother looking quicker!!! And…of course…some earrings…
Last week, when I asked if maybe I was passing, I was on to something.