The woman in the above picture may not be beautiful by our society’s standards but she is clearly beautiful.  Even though she is squinting, I can see the joy inside her coming through her smile.  I look at her and see someone I would like to get to know. 

Today I got dressed and went to the mall wearing a hat I had purchased from Target a few weeks ago.  As I walked through the store, I caught a glimpse of myself in a full length mirror and what I saw stopped me in my tracks.  I don’t like the way I look in that hat.  I don’t like having a huge sock running the length of my arm covering up the two ivs that are hanging out of it

I became instantly, acutely aware of myself.  I felt ridiculous.  As a kid, I always hated Halloween.   I hate costumes; they also make me feel ridiculous.  The hat I was wearing is one I would NEVER be caught dead in were it not for the fact that I am bald.  I thought being bald would change my perspective but alas, I still would rather not be caught dead in that hat.

I left the store and drove home in my car that was approximately 675 degrees farenheit.  (Life imitates art as my car turns into Dante’s Inferno amid my struggle with cancer/chemo/vanity/life.)  I turned the air conditioner to high blast and wondered why I was still so damn hot and then like a slap in the face, I got it.  All the vents are pointed just a tad off-center from my head so they DON’T MESS UP MY HAIR.  Ain’t that just a kick in the ass in the middle of August in the middle of Georgia with a bowler’s hat on?

Suddenly as I readjusted the myriad of oddly placed vents so that they blew AT ME, I realized something.  I was willing to go without adequate air conditioning or heat in an effort to protect my hair.  Now, I am willing to wear a hat that makes me feel like I should be on a stake out with Mickey Spillane to protect the world from my lack of hair.  What the fuck is wrong with that?  Or more specifically, what the fuck is RIGHT with that?

I took off the ridiculous hat.  I let the air conditioning blow through the twenty to thirty hairs on my itty bitty head.  I put on my sunglasses and looked in the mirror and you know what?  I recognized myself.  I saw a woman who, in a life and death battle, has lost her hair but retained her dignity.  Hiding my baldness does not make me beautiful. 

 It is not Halloween and I am not trying to dress up as a physically fit, cancer free supermodel right now.  It is hotter than Hades, I’m in the fight of my life and my beauty comes through my soul.   I need to look at myself the way I see the woman in the photo above.  When I see myself the way I see her, I get to redefine beauty.