I had officially lost almost all of my hair. By almost, I mean I looked like the woman in the garden from “Shutter Island”. So I decided to take the clippers to my head (sans attachment comb) to achieve that nice stubble I see so many handsome men adorning. I called a friend who is married to such a man and asked for any pointers. He kept it simple by telling me to shower afterwards, which I agreed would be a good “after-haircut” move. So I buzzed all those last wispy hairs away, once again feeling strong and in control of my head. My husband adored it and gave me a high-five for the best buzz job this house has seen in years.
The next morning was exciting for me. I was asked to participate in the filming of a promotional video for a “Fight For Life” benefit that was taking place at the end of October. I felt honored that they had asked me and I wanted to make sure to look my best. I mentioned this to my husband, and he cast a sidelong glance my way and said he thought I looked my best at that moment. I had just rolled out of bed. Granted, I didn’t have a bed-head issue, but I hadn’t washed my face yet, my whole body was creased from a very deep sleep and I’m sure my newly shorned globe was still getting used to the glaring light of day. Mr. Mountain Man is all about hygiene, so I know he wasn’t suggesting that I actually go into filming without a quick scrub and change of clothes, but that was the extent of his advice. He then mentioned that I should go without make up. Now, I am not one to hide behind a pancake mask of beauty products, but since the loss of my hair, I am aaaalllll face. And I am a little self-conscious of that. So, for the first time since we’ve been together, a little beauty application has become part of my normal routine when leaving the house. If people have nothing to look at but my big, blinking blue eyes, I want to adorn them with a little liner, shadow and mascara. He then suggests that I look much better without makeup and I shouldn’t even touch anything that resembles something that could have makeup on it or around it. Chapstick was ok. I took a personal offense to this and immediately launched into a speech that would have made Estee Lauder proud. I got mad, which always leads to crying because I’m operating on full hormonal cylinders. He comes up to me and gently removes the dish towel that I have strangled to death and gives me a hug. I realize that I may be having a slightly bigger issue with some of the appearance-related side effects due to breast cancer.
I really am ok with losing my hair, but it also becomes an obvious sign to the world that I am battling a disease. I don’t want to hide it or pretend it’s not happening, but I don’t want the looks of pity when people see a bald pregnant lady waddling down the street. It turns out that makeup became my substitute for still feeling like a girl. This realization has pushed me to reevaluate my core and foundation for who I am. I AM still a woman and I CAN still be beautiful going through breast cancer and I WILL continue this journey as open and honest with myself and others as possible.
I did wear makeup to the shoot and I still don’t regret it.
But I also now realize that the makeup doesn’t make me any better. It can be fun and it can give me a boost but I am still beautiful if I go completely naked. Which is a compliment when your husband still prefers you that way after all these years!