when i was terrified, i threw a party

I’ve had the hardest time trying to gather my thoughts for this post. And now I’m realizing it’s because my thoughts weren’t clear leading up to this event. I didn’t have a plan; I felt my way through this.

For all of you who have given me amazingly encouraging feedback about my writing, prepare yourselves for some chicken scratch. I feel like I’m groping for understanding of why I had to approach the whole hair situation this way. 

In the span of two and a half weeks, I had three haircuts. The idea of doing it all at once made me sick. I’ve never had short hair. Not since I was a baby anyway. I don’t know myself without long hair. I’ve had a bob a total of three times in my life. The first two times, I grew my hair back out for a year afterwards. The third time was a few weeks ago.

One of my fears in this cancer treatment is not knowing who I’m going to be on the other side. How will changing my appearance change me?

I’m an extrovert. If I am nothing else, I am relational. I love to be alone, but it’s mainly to recharge so I can be with my people all over again.

I feel safest when everything is out there. The truth. Fears. Embarrassing stories. Belief. Emotions.

A wig. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this option. But, for my personality, I don’t want to feel locked in to trying to look normal. It feels like a secret. Like I’m not being honest. Like I’m covering up the truth, my fears, my embarrassment and my emotions about being bald. I might just be bald because that feels safe in some overly vulnerable, weird way. 

I don’t have to do this alone. I’ve let my friends, husband and children run their hands through my hair and feel the strands come out with no effort. I don’t want to hide from my circles of friends until this thing passes. I thought that’s what I’d want, because I was so embarrassed about this ensuing transformation. I want them to be a part of the process, to hold my hands along the way and to face it with me.

I want to be me through this. Silly, obnoxious, caring, swearing, kicks-her-own-butt-while-running me. Hopefully, I’ll be a better me on the other side of cancer. I don’t need to be afraid of personal growth.

That’s cool and all…did you say something about a party? 

Over a month ago, my amazing friend, Michele, offered to shave her head when it was time for me to lose my hair. I was really opposed to this, because honestly, I’m her stylist and she has amazingly beautiful hair. But, she insisted and I’m so glad she did. (I have many more bloggable thoughts on this.) Side-by-side, we would go through with this. I was scared. No, terrified.

So, last Sunday night, I emailed my book club this invitation to a “hair cutting soirée”:

When: Monday night. 7:40ish
What: dramatic haircuts for me and Michele too
Where: my deck
Why: cancer
How: some Aveda friends will do the trimminz
Come if you want. There should be wine and merriment and accepting reality and supporting friends and hugs. And never pressure!

And then I asked my photographer friend, Whitney, to come capture the night. What if this is so stupid? Will I even want to look at pictures of a haircut? Seriously?

And then I texted a few more friends. Am I being so self-centered??? This is going to be so weird.

And then I bought bottles of wine and extra lights to string in the yard. What if no one comes? I don’t even drink wine anymore. But, lights are always pretty.

And then I invited members from my church (an hour and a half before the event). What if everyone just stares at me in silence while I’m getting a haircut? Super weird. I’m just so weird.

And then Neely showed up with pizzas. And Liz brought wine. And Michele showed up with beers (and long beautiful hair). And friends came and laughed and hugged and accepted reality and gave support. And I drank some Sauvignon Blanc. And my sweet Aveda daughter-like friends, Alix and Grace, cut our hair. And children played ball and threw frisbees. And it was beautiful. And when we all crowded in to take a group picture, Neely* whispered, “Who’s Jenna?” which continues to make me giggle. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

This was a beautiful Monday night. By Friday, it was time to shave my head. That post is for another day soon. Thanks for reading along.

Whitney took a lot more pictures. But here are just a few I loved.

michele and me before head kiss neely and me   

 shorn hair crew 2almost everyonethank youhair partymichele and me after

*I originally thought it was Dustin! Haha! Too much funny!


2 thoughts on “when i was terrified, i threw a party

  1. This is so hard. I pray for you. I have so many friends with cancer right now, it’s really overwhelming. Most, like you, should get better and over it and have long hair again, etc. But one friend, Katie, probably won’t. Hers has already metastasized in her brain. She has 5 kids, and is only a few months older than me. So, I mean this from the bottom of my heart, and I have a sister who is a survivor for 11 yrs now. It really is just hair. it WILL grow back, because YOU will be HERE to have it grow! 🙂 Praise The LORD!!!
    Probably not, but hopefully I am wrong, for my friend Katie. And that really makes me sad.
    Praying for you as I watch you count your blessings and see things as they REALLY are! I love the pictures of you and Brent! How wonderful for you to have a loving man by your side.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s