Thursday, 17 March 2011

Back To The Eighties - with jheri curls

Well, I've abandoned the wig. Roughly two weeks after I had it cut. I tried and tried to feel good wearing it but every time I passed a shop window, I'd tentatively glance at my reflection and the woman who looked back at me with the mass of uncontrollable tight curls and mullet-style hairdo did not feel like me at all. In the end I asked my partner to take a few pics of me wearing it. The pictures confirmed my worst hair and beauty fears. The wig looked bad. Real bad.

I showed the pics to my sister. Not one to mince her words, she likened the wig to one that our auntie used to wear back in the day when she was really into jheri curls. 'Back in the day' in this context means back in the early 80s. And I know that designers have spent a lot of time and money trying to convince us otherwise, that really the decade of the 80s was full of fine examples of great style and fabulous fashion, but the memories of shoulder pads, way too much blusher, white stilettos and lots and lots of curl activator still hold firm in my mind.

But my mum likes my wig. So much so that I donate it to her. She seems pretty happy with her new look and I remember that she once too had a jheri curl like her sister and probably feels much more at home with this style than me (ok, i admit it, so I had one too...). Once I do this, it just makes perfect sense. Having cancer shouldn't mean forgetting who you are, or were or settling for something less than what you want. Having a huge amount of control suddenly taken away from you is hard, really hard sometimes. But now I'm beginning to understand why perhaps little things like learning how to replace your eyebrows, or buying a new lipstick or even shaving your head, can make such a big difference to so many cancer patients' lives. It's about reclaiming something back, even if it's only a tiny gesture in comparison to what your body's actually going through.

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