Sounds obvious doesn't it? It is a no brainer that people stare at a bald person. I think it's human nature and I was prepared for it.
I've always suffered from the "what are people thinking" disease. It's kept my imposter syndrome and inferiority complex company back there in the musty recesses of my self conscious. Courtesy of many years of employing cognitive behaviour therapy to counter these snarling beasts of my mind I have learnt that it is more helpful to challenge those inner voices. I have found that countering them with alternatives works. The conversation goes along the lines of:
"Its All About Me" inner voice: "Oh shit. Starer alert! They're probably thinking I'm so up myself. Why doesn't she cover her bald head up. Why did I think it was okay to go around the shopping centre bald?"
"Get over yourself you nutter" inner voice: "Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaase! It's a bald head. Of course there'll be a few double takes. For all you know they have a thing for bald women or they're wondering if you're making a fashion statement".
All jokes aside I did go out rocking a headscarf for the first couple of outings. I found a YouTube clip where a woman shows a great way of reusing old TShirts as head wraps (you cut them off under the armpits and wrap it around your head creating a great base for adding scarves etc. I liked it. I did it with a white one and a grey one. Thing is though it's a tad hot at the moment and I'm finding that my head (both physically and psychologically) prefers to be unencumbered.
The analogy I used with Oldest KAT when I decided midway through the week to stalk the shopping centre boldly bald was that I'm the type of person that when confronted with the cold pool would prefer to jump in the deep end and immerse myself fully rather than dither around sitting on the edge, dipping my toe in ever so gingerly. Much better to feel that momentary clench of coldness grip me and then have it over and done with that inch my way in gritting my teeth.
It was confronting entering the shopping centre with my vulnerability on full display. It did require me to do some kick-arse on-the-go CBT to banish the voices that urged me to run for cover (literally). It wasn't only the eyes of nameless onlookers. The eyes of the KATs were also absorbing both people's reactions to me and my response....would I fold like a cheap hammock?
Pleasingly I found it liberating to be boldly bald. I have had compliments which are lovely, my doctor also suggested I had better have my Gaydar on high alert as I'm likely to attract attention. Who knew that Lesbians like bald? Feel free to educate me on this so I can educate my doctor.
Accessories are in my DNA. Being a cancer-suffering wallflower was never on the agenda so out have come the scarves, hats and earrings.
There are definitely downsides to baldness which I will elaborate on in my next post but for now let's stick with the way it is already challenging my personal paradigm. I finished this weekend with a relaxing afternoon at the local pool where I walked around with my sun screened noggin glinting in the sun when I was making my way to the pool. I ignored the stares and just enjoyed the glorious sun and the equally glorious water that was so healing for my soul one week post-chemo when I've hit the wall and feel like I can't take anymore headaches and nausea.
What strangers think of me is the least of my issues.