Thursday, June 17, 2010

Removing The Unknown

I'm still bald-ish with the gnarly scar carved across my head. The scab is slowly disappearing, and things are definitely looking up.

Ever since this debacle started, specifically when I shaved my head, I was faced with the option to leave my head exposed or to cover my head with a scarf, hat or the possibility of a wig. When I'm home, or with close friends I leave my head exposed, but for the longest time while I was in public I left my head covered.

I was covering my head, not for myself, but for those around me. I was trying to avoid the stares and the uncomfortable reality about my situation. I also didn't want small children to run in fear (although the only child that's actually seen my head was more concerned about my "owie" and wasn't afraid in the least).

I've noticed that people stare while I'm wearing hats or other covers. They can already tell that I don't have much hair, and eyes just naturally gravitate toward my head. They don't mean to stare, they're just curious. They probably don't even mean to keep staring. It has to be confusing that I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes, so they know that I'm not going through chemo, yet I don't have much hair and there's definitely something going on.

As I've been grappling with this head situation I've been increasingly comfortable exposing my head, and I'm starting to walk around in public without hats, or scarfs. Without a cover on my head, people know that what they see is what they get. They can see that I've had some sort of traumatic surgery on my head and then they move on. In my own (very unscientific) study I believe people are more comfortable with the truth than the unknown. They want to know what's going on under my hat, and by removing the secret I am effectively taking away the unknown.

6 comments:

  1. Wasn't it Billy Joel who sang, "You can leave your hat on?" It also rhymes to sing, "You can take your hat off . . ." It's so freeing to have and make choices. xoxoxoxox

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  2. Jessica - you are so right - people are curious by nature. We want to know the hows, whys and whats of everything. It is like strangers asking pregnant women when they are due or if they know the gender of the baby. Just curious I guess. AND- maybe in some way people ask these questions because they can relate something in their own life. So people looking at you might be thinking of someone else they know who had some kind of brain surgery... or maybe they are looking at you and taking a moment to be thankful for their own health.
    Jenny

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  3. "So Cal" PattiJune 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Look at ALL of the progress you have made in the last few days! Going back to work will give you less time to worry and the fact that you will have more time to write will be a blessing to all of us who follow your story! You are a beautiful young lady- inside and out, hat on or hat off!!! Keep up the good work!!!

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  4. SO beautifully said Jessica.

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  5. Such transparency takes a lot of courage. I totally agree that people want the truth more than the unknown. I am so proud of you Jess!

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  6. I've deleted and re-written this three times now, because I cant seem to get my point thats in my head to make sense when written. See, youre not the only one that takes awhile to write something! I watched something once that showed women who had heart surgery showing off their scars. They told how it took them many many years, and many different ways of making sure the scar was always covered... to come to the conclusion that they werent embarrassed or ashamed of the scar anymore... that they were proud of it. After awhile they werent worried if people saw it, or what they thought if it was seen. They now wore their scar like a medal. And even though I've only seen your pictures jess, thats how I look at you. I see a medal that was made just for you. Its for bravery, and strength, willpower, perseverance, humor, and love. So if you notice people glancing at it, or maybe taking a second peek at it when you glide past with it held high... if they have any smarts at all, they are just noticing how shiny and special your medal is. And hopefully realizing that they just got a glimpse of one of the strongest women they will get to see. Love you old friend. -Karen Gambrell

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