This weekend I started my big clean. The one where you attempt to start throwing out all of those “treasures” you squirreled away over the years, like random receipts and clothes that you swore were going to fit someday.
In the process of ripping everything out of my closet, I found my wig. The long, Russian, brunette, Misha. For months that wig gave me comfort, it helped me pretend to be normal, kept my head warm, and as silly as it sounds gave me hair to twirl around my finger – because you never know how much you miss that until it’s gone.
My wig sat on the table for a while as I finished cleaning and tossing everything. I know that I have hair now, shoulder length actually, and I have no real reason to keep it around…but there is this part in me, this nagging voice, that is saying “hold on to that, you’ll need it someday.” To which one part of me is all like “screw you, cancer is gone. home girl has hair. I’m good.” and another part of me is like “holy crap you’re right! It is going to come back and be awful and I’ll have to go through the whole wig buying process again and it will be worse this time.”
I’m finding that the more cancer-esk things I’m throwing away the harder it’s getting. There are certain things I’m thrilled to get rid of – like those daily shots – and other pills that I hold on to because I just don’t know if I’ll need them again. It’s almost like if I keep holding on to these things they’ll act like a safety shield against cancer. In a way, I think I’m being proactive, just like maintenance – kind of.
Without realizing it my wig became my security blanket, my safety net if cancer did come back. Sure I have friends and family who would be there for me again but my wig gave me a different kind of strength. Misha made me feel like a rock star, I put her on (yes I’m referring to my wig as her) and felt like I wasn’t dying. I felt like I was a twenty-something who was normal and didn’t have to worry about bruising easily or being in large crowds. When I walked around the ward I pretended I was just visiting instead of a month-long resident. She gave me strength when I really needed it, she helped me feel beautiful when I hated everything about myself. Plus how could I get rid of a friend who listens so well?
To be honest I thought it would be really easy to get rid of anything that I either purchased or received during treatment. Why would I want to be reminded of such an awful time? But the truth is it’s not easy. It’s hard. Really hard. Everything has a memory attached, and a lot of those objects held strength for me, and while I am starting to have more strength on my own I don’t know if I would have enough to go through it again.
But the thing is, there is someone out there who doesn’t have any strength, and might not be able to buy their own Misha. So I’m letting her go, I’m donating my Misha in hopes that she can do what she did for me to another young adult.
I feel so lucky to be where I am right now, to be able to whip my own hair back and forth, to be able to work, and to be able to walk my dog… and while I’m still terrified of every bruise it’s time that I stop focusing so much energy on bad things that could happen and start focusing it on the great things that are.