Cancer is (but really isn’t) so much about the hair. For everything else that’s going on, it’s, like, a lot of hair talk, you know? But seriously, I just have to tell you that having this “haircut” feels a little like wearing a vest that your grandma knitted with her knitting circle buddies. Just no. And I need to talk about it. (You guys are pretty much free therapy, right? And you’re awesome at keeping my secrets, yes?)
I’m having troubles figuring out how to field niceties re: my hair situation. When someone compliments my buzz cut, I don’t know how to respond. Like, truly, I haven’t figured out how to react, and I should probably work on it because this is how my life is going right now:
Random person that I work with/run into at the grocery store/live with: “Heather, your hair is so cute like that! Not just anyone can pull off a haircut like that, but you are!”
It feels like people are complimenting my coffee-stained teeth or how great my last fart smelled or something.
Is this a joke? I don’t understand.
How do you take a compliment for something that you absolutely hate? Or wasn’t even your idea? Or was a result of the worst experience of your life? Gah.
And the other night, at work, it got worse, or possibly better. I’m not sure. A patient HIT ON ME.
As I’m flushing his IV, “You’re beautiful, you know that?”
“Pfffffffffft. **fart noise**”
I awkwardly finish up and start for the door.
“You are. And if you ever want to talk, we can talk.”
“Umm…if you need anything else or if your chest pain comes back, let me know. I’ll be back to check on you in a little bit.”
“And if you need anything, let me know.”
Before I make my quick retreat, my mind takes him in and screams, “Oh, COME ON! Are you seriously hitting on me right now? I’M BALD! I know you have a past history of drug abuse, but are you high right now? If you’re seriously hitting on me, I suggest that you get your shit together and raise your standards. This is an embarrassment for both of us!”
But then, you know, I walked down the hall back to the nurse’s station with a pep in my step. Drug abuser or not, this is the first time I’ve been hit on since the big C took away any chance I had at working the pole for a living. (I mean…you never know. Maybe it’s how I would have sent Penny to medical school or gotten Alice those braces.) When I wasn’t looking it in the face, it felt pretty good.
Josh tells me I’m pretty all the time, but that doesn’t really mean anything. He’s my husband; he’s just trying to get what is his. When this thirty-something, drug abusing, unemployed cardiac patient told me that I was beautiful, well… baby, I’m back!
Buuuuut then, I found out that he hit on my nurse’s assistant. And pretty much every other female that entered the room. It was really fun while it lasted though.
I knew this hair made me look like a lesbian (Legit — I’ve been mistaken for a lesbian twice now.) or a dude.
Because last night it got even worse. Last night, I answered the door to a Charter saleslady, and she didn’t know how to address me. In all fairness, I was wearing my husband’s t-shirt, and I wasn’t wearing my boobs. I saw the confusion in her eyes, and I heard the struggle in her voice as she asked me if I was “the…the…llllll….lady?…of the house.”
Damn this buzz cut!
In truth, I just don’t feel like myself. I feel naked without my hair. I feel like someone else. I feel misrepresented. When I’m around new people, these feelings are multiplied by a hundred because they don’t know that I didn’t choose this. They have no other picture of me in their heads besides the one I’m showing them right now. They can’t reference my long hair and know who I really am (physically). When they say, “I like your hair,” I’m faced with the dilemma of either having to tell them that I didn’t do this on purpose (and, subsequently, the whole story, which just leads to me awkwardly comforting them) or just smiling and thanking them, which kills me.
Actually, now that I’ve written it out, it seems so easy. Just smile and say thanks. Geez, Heather…get over yourself! The lesbians would be lucky to have me! And I them. (I’ve always wanted wife.)
And come to think of it, I ran into an acquaintance at Siteman who is fighting stage 4 colon cancer, and her chemo doesn’t make her lose her hair. My first thought was one of sorrow for her because by not losing her hair, people won’t know how sick she is or how rotten she feels. In a way, I’m glad that I lost my hair. It’s the physical sign that one has been touched by cancer, and the world reacts accordingly.
I just can’t wait until people know, for sure, that I’m a lady again. That’ll be nice too.
P.S. You guys have really brought the voting up a notch in the last week, and I really appreciate it. You are pretty much the bee’s knees. There are only five days left, and I’m about 1000 votes behind so what do you say we take that other blog down (just to second place — I’m not a complete jerk.)? Click here to vote daily!