Though I often post pictures without a hat or a scarf, it’s rare that I leave the house without one. When I first shaved my head, I wore something on it constantly because I was afraid of the looks that I would receive. I didn’t want to be looked at with sad eyes and I didn’t want to be self-conscious. I became accustomed to wearing them and it became a second nature to put something on my head, similar to the way I grab my glasses in the morning.
The challenge with wearing a hat regularly, is that it’s hard to dress up. Scarves help this some, but I worry about them coming undone, especially if I am spending a few hours out and about. In the winter months, I wore a sparkly warm gray hat or a knitted had that matched my clothes. Now that the days are getting warmer and I’m no longer restricted to just button ups, it’s become challenging to match my clothes with a hat. I often want to dress up when I go out of the house (even just to the doctor) but end up not doing so because I feel limited.
At home I typically go bald and most of the times when I am over someone’s house, with the exception of when my head was cold or if we were outside (I don’t want to burn my head!). Now that I have some hair growth though, I’ve been excited for the moment that I start to go hatless.
Well, I did it for the first time last week when we went to Disney Live. Being there with close friends and surrounded by strangers focusing on the show, I felt brave. Plus, it was incredibly warm in the building so it was too hot to keep the hat on. No one seemed to care and I let out a breath that I didn’t realize I had been holding.
Next, when Joe & I dropped little man off at daycare last Friday I went hatless. They all know me and the battle that I have been fighting, so knowing that they support me in that manner helped me to feel at ease. I received bright smiles when I walked in, just like I would any other day.
Having a meal out that same day, I whipped my hat off and enjoyed the meal comfortably. The response was comments about how nice my hair looked growing in and how my smile lights up a room. My heart warmed and my anxieties eased each time I went without.
On Sunday, when we went to the bridal shower, I wanted to dress up to celebrate the occasion. Prior to leaving for the long drive (other side of the state), I picked out my dress, my jewelry and my makeup and then stared at my collection of hats. Sure, I have some super cute ones that would look adorable with the outfit but once inside, they would be too big, too much. Besides, it was time to go without. So knowing that we would be nowhere near home, I didn’t pack one. I had resolved myself to not wearing a hat and instead rocking this awesome hair growth that I am incredibly excited about.
Of course, slight panic set in once I arrived at the party all dolled up. I beat cancer, I don’t want to be looked at like a cancer patient anymore. What if people stare? I don’t know most of the people here, what if I make everyone uncomfortable? I know these thoughts aren’t rational but they can’t be helped. Despite how brave I may seem, I was scared and nervous. Knowing it was too late to change my mind, I took a deep breath, walked up to the front door and knocked.
And you know what happened next?
My dear friends greeted me with a huge smile and big hugs. I heard them say repeatedly how happy they were for us to come celebrate and how nice I looked. They introduced me to their friends & family and I shook hands, hugged family members and chatted away instantly with the lovely women who were there.
No one said a word about my hair, with the exception of my friends after the party who commented on how much it had grown since January! There were no stares, no side glances and no one seemed uncomfortable. I focused on enjoying the party and the day with friends. It was wonderful. It felt so good.
This may seem small but it was so important to me. It is yet another part of this battle, one that I didn’t realize was there until it arrived, that I have pushed through and overcome. So now, I am rocking this. I am wearing my new hair like a badge of honor. After all, I am so incredibly proud of how much I have grown.