Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ugly Duckling... more like Lucky Duck.

Ugly Duckling...more like Lucky Duck

Alright, first and foremost, I am not fishing for compliments. I am merely making an observation.

Having no hair, thinning eyebrows, black nails and 15 extra pounds around my middle is not exactly how I want to live the rest of my life, but it has it’s perks. First of all, by not washing my hair, I am saving hours of my life AND the earth's water supply, thus decreasing my carbon footprint. I can get ready (without choosing my outfit, don't get nuts) in 15 minutes. That includes showering and make-up application, and doesn't include shaving, which is a perk I don't need to mention in any greater detail… and these are the days I actually apply make-up! There is the problem of the head/scarf-wrapping, which I am mastering at a slower pace than I'd like, and also the fact that none of my clothes fit. I have some stock maxi-dresses and deliciously comfortable yoga pants that are getting some serious face time with the world, but I do miss my cute clothes. Seth thinks this is a perk because my beauty/prep time has been cut way down.

On a more existential level, I am able to see myself in a whole new light. If you think going to chemo was brave, or getting poked one million times in the tender breast area deserved a medal, try walking out of the house bald. Maybe I'm underestimating my friends and family, but for most of you, this would be quite a feat. Ok, maybe one day, or one trip to the grocery store, but every day for 4-6 months? Unless you can justify it with a sweet film deal with Steven Spielberg, it's not something we are all jumping at the chance to do. That's where I'm lucky. I don't have a choice and it's quite liberating. I'm forced, or trying to force myself, to forget about all the superficial stuff and worry about the tissues underneath my skin. I used to worry about what people thought of the way I looked or how I dressed, but I could care less now. Don't get me wrong, I am constantly asking Seth and my girl friends if they saw me on the street, would they think I was a cancer patient? But the fact that I am not asking if they think I look ugly or fat says a lot about this transformation. I'm forcing myself and others around me to see me for what's underneath, if "we" didn't before.
Also, I can walk down the streets with a new kind of confidence, a sort of I-don't-really-give-a-shit attitude that I was never privy to before. For example, Rogers Park is a neighborhood filled with the best cat-callers in Chicago, ask any woman who has walked down North Clark Street. Done and Done. I don't have to fret about that unless we have some Sinead O'Connor fetishists out there.

I was performing in a play about 6 years ago, long before I had met the love of my life. I had been cast as, well, the pretty stage fluff. Literally, I was a mentally handicapped girl-scout, a pregnant teenager, then something that resembled a a sequined, scantily clad American flag. When I wasn't shaking my rump, I was wearing tight black clothing, a black mask, and moving furniture. But boy, it was fun! One of the female leads, a strikingly beautiful, recently turned lesbian, was counseling me on an upcoming "serious" audition. The part was dark and haunting and I thought it would fulfill me at the time. She simply suggested that I wear no make-up to the audition. She might as well have told me to shave my head and wear a moo-moo. But now, I understand her advice with complete clarity. Show people who you are and what you can do, not what you look like. Now I am, and I'm damn happy (some of the time) to make myself do it.

Ok, I retract the whole "not fishing for compliments" statement. Who was I kidding?? ;)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Erica. You are so beautiful. blah blah blah. You are great. yada yada yada.

    Just kidding!!! You are both of those things. I love you, hair or no hair!