Friday, July 3, 2015

Baby Steps to the Great Reveal

You know how sometimes in life you procrastinate a certain task thinking that you'll do it when you have time until suddenly that task has accumulated so much mass that you've created a mountain for yourself? Dishes, laundry, yard work, homework...blog posts...? Ha...yeah--that's where I am with the last one on that list! At this point, I've heaped so many ideas and mind-matter onto my blog pile that I'm not exactly sure how to dig it all out--nor am I sure if my attempts to dig will still find an audience somewhere... But, if only for the sake of my own emotional health and perhaps for the benefit of my future posterity, I'm going to uncover some of those ideas and send them out for everyone's reading pleasure!

Along with the aforementioned mind-matter, I've been hoarding all pictures of myself for nearly two months because, believe it or not, I've stopped wearing my wig! And although there are so many things I could write about today (like our months in France or the now two-year-old love story--both coming soon to a screen near you!), I've decided to start at this all-important top of my pile.  I'm finally ready for everyone to see me as I am.

But I'll admit--this has been a long and painful process for me. Letting go of my wig and my hair (which ultimately are one and the same) is like letting go of a huge piece of my life--a piece of myself that I never wanted to let go. However, as the weather started warming and as my hair continued growing, I had to admit that I needed to square my shoulders and move on.

So, I guess I'll take you on the journey with me! I started by not wearing my wig on a vacation where none of my family, friends, or acquaintances except Roby and a close friend would see me. A couple of complete strangers told me that I looked like a cartoon character--specifically Snow White or Betty Boop. I'll gladly take Snow White, but Betty Boop?! It wasn't the most promising beginning... Unfortunately, the Snow White look was a one-time, went-to-the-salon-but-couldn't-duplicate-at-home sort of thing, so I stuck with the much easier curls!
I guess this is Snow White
And maybe Betty Boop?












Yup--that's right! It came back curly! I always wanted curly hair, but I suppose this is the most expensive perm I ever could have gotten--in more ways than one! You also catch a glimpse of our cute but itsy-bitsy apartment in that Snow White pic and a look at our vacation in the following pic--more on that episode of our life another time!
Still not convinced about the Betty Boop thing...
Post-vacation, recognizing that it was nice to have the freedom of not putting my wig on just to go out and get the mail, I decided to unveil my hair to the Roneys and stopped wearing it to work each day. Within a few days, I stopped wearing it at all except to church and whenever I'd be around church friends. And then came the day when I finally went wigless to a church activity. Frankly, it was one of the most intimidating and emotionally difficult things I've ever done in my life. It's strange, I know--I can go through nine months of cancer treatments and yet I shudder at taking off my wig. Friends, this is deep emotional territory that I'm still working through. Cancer leaves a variety of scars. In many ways, wearing my wig was a way of protecting myself from dealing with the mountain of hurt I was feeling. It helped me pretend that nothing had ever happened and that I hadn't changed. 

To be brief, let's just say that God really knew that I needed to be married to an emotional counselor. 

But why was this one thing so hard--letting other church members see me? First, it felt like an irrevocable decision--I knew that I wouldn't be able to wear my wig anymore once I stopped wearing it to church. It was the last step. But also, in part, I was afraid that many of them had forgotten what I went through. I did such a good job of acting like nothing ever happened, and ultimately, people aren't always thinking about me and what happens in my life. Forgetting that I'd been wearing a wig would mean thinking that I'd purposely cut my hair. I didn't want them to think that I wanted this hair. I didn't want them to tell me I had a cute haircut.

I didn't want them to think I chose to look this way.

But it had to happen. And yes, some people thought I'd cut my hair. And yes, it hurt me. I almost felt compelled to blurt out "NO! I didn't cut my hair! I just stopped wearing my wig." I actually did blurt it out to a few people--and I got some embarrassed looks. But I also received loads of compliments, and many people were so loving and supportive and understanding that I cried. I felt uncomfortable being the center of attention, but in the end, it wasn't so bad. I've never worn my wig again since that day. I still miss it sometimes.

Our final field trip--definitely a great visit!
After the great day of de-wigging--May 30, 2015--my initial intent was to write up this post so that all of my friends and family in the U.S. could also be part of my journey to self-acceptance. BUT...it was not to be. Legitimately, I was buried under wrapping up school (can you believe the three years are over??), packing up our life, and then moving down to Italy. More on all of that to come, but the important thing is I really do want everyone to see me as I am and have progressed! My hair keeps growing--yay!--so that means I'm trying to figure out a new style every two weeks or so. For someone who is used to having one style that lasts a few years, it's a bit of a challenge! I've moved on from Snow White and Betty Boop--going through a Shirley Temple period and now just looking a little bit like Nurse Jenny Lee from Call the Midwife (a great BBC mini-series and a very interesting book trilogy, for those who don't know!--refer to the pic at the right). Here are a few snippets of how things have progressed--as well as a glimpse of our awesome trip down through Italy!
Sporting the wind-blown look in Tuscany!
And you can see how some of the curls
get unruly here in Assisi
Yup--this is where we will be living now! Or at least nearby...
The funny thing is that half of my family still hasn't seen my hair. We've been in Utah for about a week now, and since I haven't seen all of my siblings yet, I'm still feeling a little incognito! This blog post, then, is one of my final "baby steps" in the hair question. And you know what? I feel a lot better than I did when I was hiding under my mountain.