Monday, March 18, 2013

Looking ahead


At the start of the calendar year I contemplated a lot of different options for a new-years resolution. The usual hit the top of my list (eat healthier, work out more). But that seems so cliche and although this blog is called anticreativity I didn't want to be completely predictable. Then one morning I saw on facebook that one of my running buddies had cut her hair and donated it for kids who lost their hair to cancer. I had considered this many years ago, but I have a hard time leaving my hair alone. It's a source of empowerment for me. When things are chaotic in my life it's one thing I can quickly change about myself. Having a bad day? Go blond. Too much stress? Now you're a redhead. That's not to say that every change of my hair style or color was driven by some negative external factor, but it's a safe bet if something big is going on my chameleon-like hair will show it.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I was in the process of growing my hair. I had cut it short about a year prior and it was time for a change. Then I found out I was going to loose it all. But like a phoenix rising one the best nights of my life was when I had a super supportive group of friends rally around me to shave it off. A night that that could have been traumatic and dis-empowering made me feel special and gorgeous. If you haven't already seen the post - or just want to re-read it (http://anticreativity.blogspot.com/2010/04/posse-goes-to-beauty-school.html)  Even with my hair gone - or perhaps even because of it I felt smokin' hot. Doesn't hurt that Todd found it appealing as well.  But then it fell out for real and with it went my empowerment. When we shaved my head we used clippers and so there was some stubble. Two weeks later I was really going bald. And that was a look that I didn't love so much. Even though I would go bald in my personal life I was still deeply self-conscious about how I would be viewed professionally with a bald head. During my treatment I tried so hard to be normal and strong that I didn't want anyone at work to pity me. I wanted to be a bad-ass. Being bald made it very hard to hide what I was going through and made me feel vulnerable. Around friends it didn't matter, they would love me no matter what. But would clients? Would co-workers? How would strangers on the street react? So I stuck to wigs, then I switched to scarves. I was not really very upset about it (except for the fact that by the end of it I was down to two or three eye-lashes and sparse brows), but certainly didn't revel in it.

I still remember the day that one of my co-workers and I were chatting and the topic of my hair came up. It had just started to come back in and so I pulled my scarf off, feeling very exposed; hesitantly waiting for approval. It came and it was a huge sigh of relief.  Part of my identity had come back. I no longer had to hide at work.

So let me get back to how this relates to a new-years resolution... I decided to cut my hair off and donate it. But right now it's too short to be useful for a donation. And it has some color-treatment. So I need to grow it. For a long time. How long? Glad you asked. See in about 32 months I will be 5 years cancer-free. So when I go in for my 5-year check up I should have about 16 inches of healthy non-color treated hair that I can cut off. And it will nicely coincide with a time when I'll be ready to make a big change. The 5 year mark is when I get to breathe a sigh of relief and put all of the cancer worries behind me. If it doesn't come back by then it's supposed to F@$& off forever.

Obviously there's plenty of time to plan, but does anyone want to grow their hair with me?

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