A Night on Bald Mountain
Okay, so I feel compelled to write this evening, and not for my usual prattling on about cancer, but because I’m a bit reflective and well, anyone who dances in hamster costume finds a special place in my heart.
See, I was lamenting how TV sucks tonight. Not that I ever really focus on it, it’s usually just on in the background unless it’s a new season of Sons of Anarchy. Then I am compelled to sit perfectly still in front of the brain sucker, tuning out the world until the credits roll. Okay, so maybe I pay a little attention to Dance Moms, but TV isn’t my focus here, or not exactly. I decided to watch “So You Think You Can Dance” – typically I dislike these shows immensely, because really, I don’t really think like “America” does, so I don’t watch “Idol” or things like the “X Factor” or “America’s Got Talent”. So anyway, I put this on, and I’ve been drawn to it to stop and watch it uninterrupted for a few minutes. It’s moved me a few times, and probably not in the ways you would think. Part of it was the commercial for the Dove self-esteem programs – how 6 of 10 girls stop doing what they love because of self-esteem issues. I was one of those pudgy little dancers. And I remember how knowing I was quite a bit chunkier than the other girls I had to dance with, including my quite tiny little sister made me so ridiculously self-conscious at the ages of 5 and 6 that it made me want to not dance. That fear of being judged for being larger and wanting to dance has stuck with me for a very long time. I dance in the house, I actually love to dance, but I don’t in public. I used to…back in the days when I felt “thin enough” but since Andy was born, I think I’ve danced once or twice in public. Part of it is that I need to feel moved by the music, and as you may have noticed from the C-Monster playlist, what moves me is radically different than what you would hear in most places that have dancing.
The dancing thing was only part of it…I marvel at male ballet dancers (and figure skaters)…I am jealous of the precision and strength of their moves. I admire their beauty. There’s a fierceness in male dancers that is not often present in women, perhaps because women are encouraged to be graceful and delicate, and not strong and aggressive. Be the white swan, not the black one. I would have always been the black swan.
I guess part of what prompted this entry was that today I was walking down the street, rocking the bald head. (So okay, maybe this is C-Monster related.) I’ve been feeling both confident and terrified by not covering the bald head. I know it’s not necessarily attractive, or even cute to most people. But every time I walk out into public with my bald head, it’s an exercise in overcoming fear. It’s me telling myself to stop being afraid to be judged, to be exposed, to be okay in my own skin. It’s a personal challenge. It may look brave, but inside I am arguing myself to wear a bandana or a hat…to hide the bald head so that people will only notice how fat I am, and not that I am fat and bald. I pause here to ask you to please not feel compelled to tell me beauty is on the inside and all that stuff, I know it, and I tell myself it all the time, and I am really not looking for affirmation that I am a good person. What I am trying to do is exorcise the memory from my head of being a little oompa-loompa in my ballet tutu, to stop the voice of the older boy in the neighborhood who used to call me fatty all the time and tease me because I couldn’t beat him racing up the hill. And all the names I’ve been called because I was a bit chubbier than other girls. And the ridiculous thing I did to lose weight to look like everyone else, when I’ve never wanted to be like anyone else, So today, when I was walking down the street and two women (who were not really in a position to judge anyone) started laughing and commenting on my naked head while sitting in their car at the light, it made me 5 years old again. This does not mean that I will cover the head , or not go outside – I see all these people looking at me and trying to process the head, but it does remind me that I still have work to do on feeling okay about who I am, and what I look like. It also reminds me that I need to let that childhood shit go.
People have been telling much how they admire my strength and humor and positivity throughout this adventure with the C-Monster. That makes me feel good – no one really knows that the only reason that I do what I do just to make sure I can get up and leave the house and keep going forward, because I know only too well how easy it would be to stay in bed and eat cookies and ice cream (when I can eat, that it). There’s been more than one time when I’ve been driving to or from Hershey that I’ve thought…why am I even doing this? What’s the point? It would be so much easier to just floor this car into a tree (DISCLAIMER: I am not now, nor will I be suicidal – but I also believe that people lie when they say that they have never even considered what it would be like to not wake up some days when everything seems so hard…I am not going to be one of those people…I think about it, but I would never have the strength it would take to do something like that…that’s right I said strength. Most people say people who kill themselves are cowards or weak. I don’t, but as usual that’s another entry.)All that said, I usually find something that turns it around for me. It’s not easy, but I spend a lot of time trying. It is really special to know that I make other people feel better about things, but it really is a selfish journey…I do it because I HAVE TO DO IT. I know I’m not done doing whatever it is that I’m in this life for…I’ve still got lessons to learn. I’ll know when it happens, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Back in the day when I had to go sit with a therapist once in a while to get my happy pills, I used to tell her that my head is like a closet full of shoeboxes. They all have stuff in them. Some are there forever and will never be opened. Ever. NEVER. Some are waiting for the right time, and others have been empty, analyzed and put back for storage…nothing gets tossed because it’s all important to who I am. When a shoebox is ready for me to look inside, it will let me know. This was a shoebox. I’ve picked through it now. I’m still gonna rock the bald head. It’s very comfortable not having hair.
As I finish this, I ran through my head all the things that other people have to deal with that are much more difficult than my cancer. People with family members sick and dying, people who are all alone in the world, people who have to deal with hate from their own families because of who they love, people who are bullied and tormented daily to make some other person feel better about themselves (but does it really?). One of my little clients asked me why I wasn’t going to cover my head after I saw them. I told her no – and she asked me if I wasn’t afraid that people were going to say hey you’re bald… I told her I didn’t care what other people think, that I was okay with my bald head, and that anyone who wasn’t comfortable with it, well that was their problem. I like to think I left her a little stronger and more confident in herself; unfortunately today taught me all too well that no matter how strong and confident you might feel most of the time, no one feels that way all the time. When you expose the real you to the world, you find that there will still be insensitive people who find pleasure at your expense, but you don’t learn to get back up if you’ve never been knocked to the ground. So bring it on.
Now my lovelies, I must away to my farming duties. The life of a farmer is hard; I have to plant and harvest more rainbows. Tomorrow is Friday hoo ray hoo ray. The beautiful and lovely Lina is coming to visit this weekend, and I have three days to rest and relax before another work weeks hops in front of me. Buenos Noches.
PS. I’m still only at 32 email subscribers, and still no trip to Disneyland or Car from Ellen.
PPS. Turn up the volume and watch this…