Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Beauty in Her Baldness: Why My Mother Was Still Radiant with Cancer

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“Beauty doesn’t come from physical perfection. It comes from the light in our eyes, the spark in our hearts, and the radiance we exude when we’re comfortable enough in our skin to focus less on how we look and more on how we love.” ~Lori Deschene

For so long as I can bear in mind, my mother had lengthy shiny silky black hair right down to her knees. It was magical in the way in which that it attracted folks and impressed curiosity and connection.

Everywhere we went, strangers approached her, often timidly at first with a quick praise, after which, after receiving her signature pleasant head nod and open smile, they relaxed and the questions and feedback would pour in as if an unstated invitation to attach was made and accepted.

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“How long did it take you to grow your hair?”

“How long does it take to wash it?”

“It must take forever to dry.”

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“Can I touch it?”

“Wow, it feels like silk! Annie, come feel her hair!”

“Does it ever get caught in anything?”

“You must spend a lot of money on shampoo.”

Regardless of the feedback or the period of the dialog, everybody all the time walked away smiling, their step somewhat livelier, as if the world had all of a sudden grow to be a greater place.

My mother has a heat, open aura about her. When we’re out in public, she has a method of constructing folks really feel immediately valued and appreciated. My sisters and I name it “mom’s juju,” some form of mystical energy that brings out the nice in everybody and every thing.

She makes eye contact with strangers and if somebody doesn’t avert their eyes away shortly, she nods her head barely, as if bowing right down to them in respect, and provides them a giant, beneficiant smile that instantly warms them, inflicting them to smile again.

She has a radiant internal blissful glow that’s contagious, and over my fifty years of figuring out her, I’ve witnessed folks shift from closed off and inflexible to open and free in a swift, instantaneous second. It’s virtually as in the event that they’ve all of a sudden been launched by a heavy clamp that was holding them down they usually get up taller, happier, lighter… even when just for a second.

Mom’s juju makes folks come alive.

It’s ironic that she’s an introvert like me, and I usually take into consideration this once I’m out in public.

I confess that I’m going into “robot mode” the place I overlook I’m human and that everybody round me are people too. I often do that once I’m brief on time and have a selected, targeted aim, like grocery purchasing.

I keep away from eye contact and intentionally shut off my power, particularly once I don’t wish to be approached, bothered with small discuss, or trade power with others. I simply wish to store; I don’t wish to join, chat, or keep any longer than it takes me to get my meals and go away.

But my mother, she’s totally different. She jogs my memory that I really like folks and luxuriate in connecting with them too. She jogs my memory that it’s extra vital to attach soul to soul, human to human, than to examine off that subsequent factor on my to-do checklist. She jogs my memory of the true which means of the phrase, “Namaste,” and is the dwelling, respiratory embodiment of it.

The divine in me sees the divine in you.

When she nods her head upon greeting somebody, she’s bowing to the divine in the opposite particular person.

Most folks assume she’s bowing as a result of it’s an Asian custom, however to my mother, it’s greater than a rote motion imposed by a convention, it’s a gesture of real love and respect as a result of she actually does acknowledge the divine in everybody. And in her recognition of them, they too acknowledge it in themselves, even when just for a second, even when they’ll’t clarify it or perceive it. They really feel totally different after having the trade with her.

My mother’s hair was usually the icebreaker for this trade. It offered a gap for folks to method her.

Like the sirens in Greek mythology whose singing lured unwary sailors on to the rocks, her hair lured folks right into a glimpse of their very own divinity. They thought they had been drawn to her hair, however they had been drawn to their very own magnificence and divinity inside them. The hair was simply the seductive music.

No one knew this, after all, not even my mother.

To my mother, her hair turned one thing that outlined her and her magnificence. In a world that has the capability to tear down anybody’s worth, my mother’s hair made her really feel distinctive, unique, particular.

She loved the eye that folks lavished on her hair, and ultimately, her self-worth turned wrapped up in it, in the identical method she would wrap her hair round her neck a number of instances when she was chilly.

In late 2011, my mother was recognized with breast most cancers.

Beyond the concern of dying, my mother stated that the thought of shedding her hair was harder than having most cancers, and he or she visualized not solely surviving most cancers, however surviving it with all her hair intact, regardless of what the medical doctors and nurses stated.

If something might break the foundations of science and chemotherapy induced hair loss, we thought, mother’s juju might.

But after a number of weeks of chemo, her stunning lengthy hair began falling out in clumps. It left bald spots that made her look much more sickly and frail, and we realized there are some issues mother’s constructive juju couldn’t have an effect on.

Cancer has a method of ravaging you and it doesn’t care who you might be or how you’re feeling about it

On one ceremonious and tearful morning, my mother surrendered to most cancers’s command and requested my oldest sister to shave her head.

It was an emotional, traumatic, and exquisite second of loss, acceptance, and renewal, all swirled into one, as she watched her hair fall from her head onto the ground, piece by piece, like items of her id falling away from her, and in its place, one thing totally different.

Something clear and pure and unhidden.

She appeared in the mirror and noticed herself for the primary time—the particular person she was with out the factor that she’d thought made her, nicely, HER. There was a bald girl staring again at her and he or she appeared much more particular, distinctive and exquisite.

I don’t know what my mother was anticipating to see after shedding her hair. Perhaps there was part of her that didn’t anticipate to see something, as if as soon as she misplaced her hair, she’d one way or the other stop to exist. Her id had been so entwined with her hair that she thought she is perhaps gone too, as soon as the hair was gone.

But she wasn’t. She was nonetheless there. She survived.

This realization freed my mother. She now not wrapped her id (and uniqueness and wonder) round her hair. Cancer made positive of that, it had given her no alternative. Any phantasm of an outdated, outworn id had been swept away with the useless hair on the ground and tossed in the trash.

She discovered her new id—an id that was primarily based off her internal magnificence, not her outer magnificence. She found she was distinctive and exquisite with out it, and he or she radiated an internal figuring out of this a lot so that folks began complimenting her on her baldness.

And she responded with the identical signature head nod and grin, however this time, as a free girl, now not certain by bodily illusions of magnificence.

She had grow to be actually free.

This was the reward of mother’s most cancers.

Cancer has a method of ravaging your false identities and reminding you of what’s actual and true.

Now, eleven years later and most cancers free, my mother’s hair has grown again. It’s not the identical because it as soon as was, thick and glossy black silk. It’s now skinny and grey.

But a renewed particular person has emerged, with an much more highly effective and radiant juju, and the wonder inside her shines brighter than ever.

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The submit The Beauty in Her Baldness: Why My Mother Was Still Radiant with Cancer appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

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