When performing, if your scarf, earring, whatever, falls off – you don’t stop to pick it up and put it back on; you kick it to the curb and dance on!
There is a theatrical side of me that really blossomed when I started belly dancing. My spirited dance teacher used to say, “There’s no such thing as ‘too much’ in belly dance!” ie: Big earrings, tons of jewelry, layers of costume, lots of make-up and for us, always, glitter. This one year I bought a big circle skirt for a particular performance, and it was a gorgeous bright fuchsia. My hair was a dark burgundy at the time and I remember giggling as I told my hairdresser that I wanted to try something a little crazy with my hair: fuchsia highlights, as bright as this fabulous skirt I was dancing in. That’s where it all began; a few bright highlights that became bigger and bolder with each follow up appointment til one day I suggested we just do the whole thing in fuchsia. Oh it was beautiful and FUN!! From there I have tried all kinds of color combinations as the products became available. It has been a conversation starter and topic of interest for years! And my answer to the inevitable question of ‘why’, or ‘what’s next?’ was to explain that my hair was simply a whimsical accessory and I would change it as easily as I changed my earrings. It wasn’t important, it wasn’t a statement, it was merely fun. I don’t think many people really understood that point of view. So, of course as friends and coworkers heard of my diagnosis of cancer, they thought of me and thought of my colorful hair.
Cancer = chemo = hair loss.
I now know many women who have been through chemo, they’ve shared with me how they handled the loss of hair. For many it was a ceremony or party kind of approach, with the sense of taking control of what was happening to them. Surrounded by friends and family they cut off their hair when they chose for it to happen, instead of watching it fall out. They had great names for their parties too: “Buzz Party”, “Coming Out Party” and “Close Shave Party”. These are perfect ideas for those that did them, but it doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. It wasn’t what I wanted. I don’t feel festive about this process.
What I want is to feel what is happening; I want to be in tuned. I am taking in a slew of drugs to kill this cancer, and that is what makes me feel empowered and in control. In the midst of this battle, I’m not going to stop to clean up and look pretty; I’m going to keep blasting at the enemy. It is the use of chemo that is empowering me.
And as my hair falls out that shows me that the drugs are working. Looking at a handful of hair I can say “Ha! Dying off like all the cancer cells inside.” And I triumphantly toss that handful of hair in the trash; Kicking it to the curb.