My focus for a long time now has been to build back up my physical strength. I go on long walks, try a few sit ups here and there, and swim in my parents pool whenever I can. Physically I am beginning to feel stronger. Just when I start to pat myself on the back, I remember that I am leaving a major part of my recovery out – my mental and emotional strength. It is like I have been doing all upper body exercises, but my legs look like chickens. Driving alone in the car seems to be the worst time for me. It is when my mind runs all over the place, and I always end up crying. Good thing for sunglasses. I need to start shifting some of my energy into helping to heal this crucial side to my recovery. But how? Group therapy sessions help, and I do attend them, but I beginning to realize I need more than this. I have to find an outlet that allows me to be able to be alone and one with my thoughts – and still be ok. This is a harder task than it seems. As soon as it is quiet, the little voice in my head starts to say, “You have stage 4 cancer. How many years do you have left? That sharp pain in my side, is it cancer? So what if you don’t make it to forty, who needs to be forty? Why do I have to go through this? Fuck you Taylor Swift, you don’t even know my struggle.” (She’s always on the radio.)
May 2014 is when I first cut my hair. Since then, everytime I have had to show my ID, or received a compliment from a stranger, I have always said something along the lines of, “Oh yes, short hair not by choice.” Even though shaving my head was my version of “control”, or so I thought at the time, I never truly felt empowered. I have been saying for months now that I wanted to dye my hair blonde. I thought it would be fun to experiment and do things with my hair that I never would have done before. The day I went blonde is the day I got a piece of myself back. Doing this finally gave me my first sense of being back in control of my own life. I am slowly becoming myself again and not this poor and sick cancer patient. Just recently at dinner I ran into an old coworker who said, “oh wow I almost didn’t recognize you because of your hair. Short hair and blonde looks good on ya.” I simply replied, “Thank you”. No mention of anything referencing my sickness. I owned that compliment and that moment. I am not sure yet if blondes have more fun, but this one is definately going to try.