Imagine, if you will, having only 1 pair of shoes that fit you perfectly. Oh, you have others. Various colors, textures and styles but those don’t really fit quite right. Other folk have admired some of the other shoes but they’re not really your taste. You could wear them but they pinched a little because they’re too tight or chafed your heels because they’re too big. That one special pair took you years to find as you tried on 100s of other pairs. Some came close. Others were just something you settled for because you had to wear something on your feet. And then finally, one day, the heavens opened up and you saw them. They were so you! Not just the outer you but the inner you as well. Those shoes reflected the shoe diva you were and still are on the inside. They became your trademark. People who described you to strangers started with your shoes for goodness sake.
Now imagine something goes horribly wrong and you must give up that one favored pair. Imagine the sadness and the disappointment as you contemplate having to remove them from your feet knowing you will never wear them again. The heavy sigh as you realize your whole wardrobe is built around those shoes. In your mind’s eye you try to picture yourself wearing some other pair of shoes and all you feel about it is grief and loss.
I’ve never been that attached to a pair of shoes or any material thing actually. I lost my home when my marriage ended more than 20 years ago and it hurt but it was a wooden box and some windows and doors in the final analysis. I got over it. He…the ex…managed to wreck a half dozen cars as well before it was over but once again…just metal boxes on wheels. They could be replaced if I wanted or not. Whatever. There’s always the subway.
But something did go horribly wrong. I developed an auto-immune condition that attacked my hair. My beautiful, treasured hair, my locs that I have loved and been growing for almost 14 years. And while there are some treatments and cover ups and cosmetic things that I can do I have been in denial for many years about what was going on under all this hair and I can no longer pretend to myself that it’s not happening. So I am cutting my hair.
14 years is a long time to have an image of yourself and then to have to cut away. Especially when that image is not one you wish to give up. No. My hair isn’t all I am but it’s been a big part of who I am for a very long time. Through my weight and health issues and when I was so broke I couldn’t afford nice clothes. When I was feeling insecure or nervous, my hair was my armor. When I was feeling joyous and victorious it was my crown. When I was feeling flirty I winked from behind it. When I wanted to isolate myself it was my wall.
And soon it will be gone. I suppose as a Health Coach I should wax poetic about the beauty of new beginnings or write about how I found some positive in this situation. But I didn’t find one and I prefer not to lie to you or delude myself. I have other body parts like I have lots of shoes. That won’t make me any more comfortable in the ones that never fit in the first place. I’ll just have to learn to deal with the ones that don’t quite fit me.