The title of this post should be more like “Being an Image Conscious Introvert With Breast Cancer Trying to Navigate Life Whilst Wearing a Wig and Not Having Eyebrows or Eyelashes” but that just seemed too long. Nevertheless, I am pretty aware of how I look and try not to go out and about lookin’ like a hot mess. It was so nice in my pre-cancer days that it didn’t take me too long to look acceptable. Now I spend about an hour doing a full face of makeup, drawing on my eyebrows (they are so scarce!), applying fake eyelashes, wearing a shit ton of black eyeliner smudged on the upper and lower lash line to give the illusion that I have eyelashes, putting hot rollers in my wig, and then styling it (I use the term “styling” loosely). I am all for a beauty routine but this is ridiculous. Needless to say, I don’t go anywhere too often if it isn’t crucial because getting ready is a time consuming endeavor. You have no idea.
I am a bit of a shy person. I don’t just go up to a group of strangers and start talking to them. I don’t talk a lot about myself unless I know you pretty well. I am a classic introvert. I’m not socially awkward but I don’t crave the limelight. I’m fine if the attention isn’t on me. I like to listen. I think before I speak in hopes of not saying anything stupid. That is just how I am. So now, I have to add the fact that I am so self-conscious about how I look now on top of this. I wonder if people think my hair sucks or that they know it’s a wig. I wonder if they can tell I barely have any eyebrows or eyelashes left. I wish I didn’t let stuff like that bother me, but it does. So I am even more shy than I normally am.
I had a great day yesterday. It was my Grandparents’ 59th wedding anniversary and a party at my best friend’s house. Of course, my morning was fraught with internal drama as I was getting ready. I swear, I think I spent an hour and 10 minutes on my makeup and “hair” alone. I knew that there would be people I’d never met at my bestie’s house so I was trying my best not to look like a freak. Plus, my whole family knows about my situation so I feel like I always need to look as good as I possibly can. I DO NOT want to look like a cancer patient. I want to look as normal as possible. I want people to know that I am well, not this pathetic looking cancer creature. No one really wants to see that. I hate seeing it in myself every morning and night when the wig and the makeup come off. And every morning that I have to get ready, I am usually pissed off for awhile about how I look. I never look as good as I want to. I feel like my whole face is a big fraud. I usually want to cry when I am driving to work in the morning and have to bite my cheek to keep myself from doing it; can’t ruin all the eye makeup or I’ll look even worse!
As always, I ended up feeling a lot better when I finally got out and actually interacted with everyone. It was so nice to see everyone yesterday. Got to see all three of my grandparents, laugh with my Dad’s side of the family, and get some quality time with Lesley and Tricia. But my super-duper-self-conscious-self kicked in when some people showed up at the party that I didn’t know. “Can they tell?” Ugh, I always feel so stupid.
Here’s a tip to everyone who does not have cancer: don’t ever get it. It sucks.