…the more they change.
Yes, I know I said that backwards.
Living in the Detroit area, a lot of our news coverage the past few days has been of the plea-bargain sentencing of the doctor who, in the guise of medical treatment, sexually abused hundreds (at least) of young girls. After days of victim impact statements, the Assistant Attorney General (who was the Prosecutor) and then the Judge had their turn. And one phrase that came up over and over again was about owning one’s truth.
While people don’t own their truth often enough, for women it is a notion that is associated most often with sexual harassment/molestation, or domestic violence. Think of the Me Too Movement, then hold that thought through a corkscrew turn I am about to make. Trust me. This will connect.
With the cancers and treatments, I have been bald three times in the past five and a half years. I mean: bald as a cue ball. Each time was at least in part during the winter. Even with a knit hat, do you have any idea how cold a bald head gets outside in a Michigan winter? Woo! And it would grow back to an awkward length, and then – boom! – another cancer, more chemo, and bald again.
It got old.
My last chemo was in early fall of 2016. Bald. Then my hair started to grow. Every now and then I would have it trimmed, just to even out the ragged look. But never much, because there was never much. A few more months. Repeat.
In the past several months, I have made a couple of appointments with the woman who has styled my hair for years. I was not able to keep either of those appointments. Although not as robustly as my BC (Before Cancer) hair, it did continue to grow. Erratically. Unevenly. I looked like a bag lady.
Finally, today, all the life elements came together, and I was able to go across town to my stylist’s house, for a trim.
I had no firm idea what I wanted her to do. She has done my hair for a long time, and has always been on top of trends, so I trusted her to listen to me, then translate that into a better look. (MDs…learn a lesson from her!) So I talked. She asked questions and made comments. At one point I heard myself saying “I’m tired of being a disease. I want my self back again”.
And there it was.
I’m tired of being a disease. I’m tired of being a disease. Of being perceived as the diseases I have had. Of living a limited life because of a disease. Of fearing a government that sees me as a disease and hence, a draw on the bottom line.
I had never thought of it quite that way before, but it’s true. For the past five and a half years, even I have identified myself as…a disease.
This is new for me. New thinking. And I have no idea where it will lead, if anywhere. I considered including a picture of my new hairstyle, but right now that is not the relevant piece of this blog.
My new truth is…itchy. It’s like a fresh cut, and healing may or may not leave a scar. But it is my truth, and I am working to own it.