I’ve been struggling to get this next post out because I really don’t want to seem the victim. And it’s been a tough pill to swallow because it drives me nuts when other people behave like victims. I’m one of those strong, positive people that, no matter what life throws at me, I face it head on and accept the challenge. But I have had to accept and allow myself to be a little bit of a victim. I am, after all, fighting an illness which demands a lot more from me. And I need to be gentle with myself and start looking out for myself too. I’ve realised how hard my life’s experiences have made me, and that it’s time for me now. It’s time to regroup. It’s time to soften. I need to be the victim and the hero in my story.
The first challenge was accepting that I am unable to do my job like I used to. I absolutely love my job. It’s the only job I have ever done because it has been my passion since I was a little girl. My poor Barbie dolls never knew what hit them, but they had some amazing hairstyles. So when I was told that I need to find another job where I’m not on my feet so much, my world started crumbling. Fortunately, I have very loyal clients and an understanding boss, and I now only go in for a few hours a day. But I know this is not sustainable as my body is telling me to stop. My warrior spirit and my physical body are constantly at war with each other, and both are incredibly stubborn.
The next obstacle was disappointment. It’s one thing I’ve learnt very quickly with being ill, is that you see people for who they really are. You learn who is genuinely there for you, and who wears masks. Who the drama seekers are, the ignorant, the self-absorbed. With a lot of these people I wasn’t actually surprised, but there are a few where I have sat back and been genuinely disappointed. I felt betrayed by their dishonesty. It’s really sad that it has become normal to be selfish and self-serving. I don’t understand why people make false promises. If you don’t mean what you say, then rather shut up. By opening your mouth with nonsense just so you can feel better about yourself for those 5 seconds, you have caused disappointment; a deep cut in someone’s soul. So rather be real with your words and your promises. Personally, I prefer the company of authenticity. I’ve had more than enough disappointments in my life to have deal with someone’s ego problem. Each disappointment has left it’s scar. Some deeper than others.
The toughest one so far though has been my hair loss. I didn’t think it would bother me so much, but it has. I had a head of hair so thick that I could have made 3 wigs from it and still had enough. So when it started falling out, I started retreating into myself. Being a hair stylist, my hair was my advertisement. Over the past 4 days, it has gone from losing a few extra hairs a day, to handfuls at a time. This morning I woke up to chunks of hair on my pillow and bald spots. So I shaved it off to stop the depressing visual of my hair falling off my head just by touching it. And yes, I’m fortunate to be able to rock a bald head and a head wrap, but it still is devastating. The warrior spirit in me retreated and for the first time since I was diagnosed, I cried. I sobbed from my soul with tears of anger, sadness, loneliness and a sense of defeat. Because now my illness is no longer invisible. And now I am the victim. I will have to deal even more with people’s false sympathies when they see me, and listen to the false promises they make because they themselves do not know what to say or do. And I will forgive them for that because they don’t know any better. And then there are my daughters, my family and my real, authentic friends. Those are the ones who I have by my side and who I know will sit with me in my darkness. And I wouldn’t change that for the world.
To take this past week for the emotional rollercoaster it has been, I have survived. It has taken me being real with myself. Allowing my warrior spirit to join my sick body on the couch and be totally at peace on our own. I’ve accepted that this is a lonely journey I’m on, but I have sifted through the masks and I have a definite tribe of authentic and beautiful people in my life. For that, I am so grateful. And I will continue to shine and smile, but I will also allow myself to rest.