Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cleverly disguised

I went from salt and pepper hair to blonde, a couple of weeks ago. I didn't really like the washed out way my "it came back gray" hair made me look.

I'm kind of mourning the girl I used to be. She had spiky straight-ish reddish brown hair that people would compliment every so often (random strangers would tell me they loved my hair) and she never left the house in glasses. She had a salaried job, with five weeks paid vacation. She hated the job, but really. Five weeks. Bank holidays too. That's a post for some other insomnia party.

A consistent minefield (of course minefields are the most unpredictable thing... So is 'consistent minefield' an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp?) for me since the chemo took my hair lies in not recognizing myself in the mirror.

The wig was pretty. But it didn't look quite like my hair used to. Kinda longer, different shade, I had skipped a hair appointment. But I didn't see myself in it all that much. Because when I was home, I was so much more comfortable (in the physical sense) without anything on my head.

But it's jarring to see yourself with no hair and think "that's me... I don't recognize me..." so that was four months worth of angst. And that was just the bald days, which were followed by Stubble Summer.

The blonde was an attempt to ease my way back in the direction I want to "head" ( hey, sorry for the puns, it's three something a.m.)

Which brings me to this week, with two school open houses. And me bumping into two sets of friends from those two school communities, 80% of whom didn't really know I was sick.

I have to mention, it has been wonderful getting hugs from loving friends - especially from the 20%, who knew what was going on, and are delighted to see me out and about and consistently say I look great. And I feel like I resemble a healthy person again.

But people don't recognize me. Especially from behind. I have short soft downy blonde curls. And glasses. Beautiful kate spade glasses, dramatic brown frames that most people have never seen me in.

So several times over at both schools I had to do the "yes, it's me... I know, the glasses... And my hair is finally growing back from the chemo...." (elaboration varies depending on face in front of me and includes some level of "I'm Fine" reporting as well, especially for people new to this topic)

This often is followed by the other person finding it nearly impossible not to stroke my soft blonde curls. Oddly enough I'm ok with that, and even slightly tilt my head, which is all the encouragement some people need.

So that helps, because I can laugh about some of this madness.

I want to see ME in the mirror and photos. Not this pleasant stranger with the shell shocked look in her eyes that I seem to see in every photo, no matter how many I take of myself.

I just want to feel like me again.

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