Are you trying to fit in with your family, friends or, co-workers? Do you think you have to follow them in order to be worthy? Our daily lives are constantly saturated with infomercials, advertisements, and bill boards of what defines beauty, fashion, what makes you trendy. We are told what the jobs of the future are, and there is always a continuous message that we must be perfect in every way. Add to that the constant critics and comments from family, friends and co-workers on how and what we should be in life and you will have a ticking mental breakdown. The constant pressure to be perfect can be stressful, overwhelming and unyielding to say the least. Any waiver from the path society dictates would be unacceptable and will make anyone feel like a failure.
During my cancer journey, I tried to fit in to what my friends, family members and strangers would say I should look like as a cancer patient. People were uncomfortable seeing a young woman with a shiny bald head. I would constantly receive suggestions about wearing wigs. Also, I overheard comments that I should not wear a face mask because it gave the appearance that I had a contagious deadly disease. Well, in retrospect, I did have a deadly disease, it was not a contagious disease that would affect those around me, but it was very deadly to me. In reality, the people around me were the ones who could cause me harm with all their germs and bacteria due to my low immune system. At first, I did try to fit in and adhere to all the guidance of what and how a cancer patient should look like according to them. I listened to all the suggestions and ended up getting a wig to cover my bald shiny head. I only would wear the wig when I went out or if anyone came over to the house. One sunny hot summer day, I was walking from the parking lot to the cancer clinic that was inside the hospital and the temperature was so high that I couldn’t stand it anymore. Feeling sweaty and overheated I had to stop in the middle of the parking lot and remove my wig before I could continue walking any further. Some people that were walking by started to stare at me and made comments as I removed my wig, but it was so hot that I did not care what others thought and I did what was best for me in that moment. I also decided to put on my face mask as well to prevent getting infections from others since I was receiving my chemo treatment. I was fighting for my life, literally and did not have time to please others in the process. I decided that I was no longer going to listen to others and do what was best for myself and my well-being. Perhaps, I did not appear pleasing with a bald head, mask and redness covering my face, neck and body during my chemo treatments but this was me at this moment in life. My imperfections did not fit the mold dedicated by society, but I needed to love myself and carry myself with confidence. I stopped trying to fit in and was my unique self and broke away from the mold. Interestingly enough, other cancer patients saw that I started to wear a scarf on my head to protect myself from the sun but was no longer wearing a wig and they started to do the same. Also, other cancer patients asked me where I bought my masks and started to wear the masks during the chemo treatments to protect themselves as well. Without realizing it by doing what was best for me during my chemo treatment I brought more comfort and self-love amongst the cancer group.
Don’t follow trends, be your unique self! Live the life you want to live as you. Shut out all the voices and noise that surrounds you every day and be yourself. Even though we are imperfect, God loves us because God is Love and we were created in HIS image. See yourself through God’s eyes and love yourself completely! Be You!