Monday, August 17, 2009

I am not my hair!

Karen has decided to bare it all...her bald head that is. These days, as the temperature has broken 90 degrees for several days in a row, she has tossed aside her caps, scarves and hats and stepped out into the world -- or at least Harrisburg -- as bald as a full moon.

Clearly, she's feeling more comfortable with her new look. She has the good looks, not to mention a nicely shaped skull, to pull it off. She strides down the street like some sort of exclamation point (an upside down one, perhaps) that proclaims her new-found self-confidence. And she's having fun with it too.  Sitting hairless in a colorful summer dress among a large crowd of 9th grade students and parents at Jack's high school orientation today, she laughed, "I look like you stole me from a department store."

Her friends shout out, "You go girl!"  I agree.  

Yes, she's feeling bold, but her acceptance of her transformed beauty hasn't quite caught up with her boldness. Because, despite how easily she appears to throw caution to the wind, she admits it's still quite jarring when she catches her reflection in a window or stands before the bathroom mirror in the morning. And no matter how good she may feel about herself or how bold she may be, the hair loss remains a constant reminder of the journey she is on and the toll of cancer.

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations, no, no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within
(I am not my hair...India.Arie)

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