October 31st. A year ago today I shaved off my hair. Last Friday, we had a Halloween party at school. I love Halloween and usually – with the exception of last year – I dress as a witch; however, my witch costume wasn’t in the Halloween boxes. And a half hour before we had to leave, I decided that I HAD to dress up. Saying, “Oh, I’ll give it a miss this year” wasn’t cutting it. So I dug through the breast cancer corner in our bedroom and found the spiky pink wig… and the sparkly tiara. I put on my bright rainbow tie-dyed shirt, and thought I would stop there. I didn’t know what I was because the jeans and shoes still just looked like a Mom.
I’ve never gone out on Halloween half made up.
In the closet, I saw my white pj bottoms, covered in a bright red strawberry and green leaf print, and added them to the collection – thinking I looked like a teenager dressing during Homecoming week: Clash Day. Then I added dangly orange rain-forest frog earrings that Bill had brought back from Costa Rica. I saw a bold reddish-pink lipstick in my drawer and put some on. As I smacked my lips, I knew what I was becoming. I put on my brown-framed glasses. I dug through my jewelry and found the charm bracelet that draws strange wondrous powers from women in the Midwest. I dug to the bottom of my purse and found my prayer bracelet. I added those to the Italian charm bracelet I wear every day on my left wrist with my “no needles in this arm Lymphedema” alert. I put on my slippers and I looked complete.
I could not verbally explain this to anyone, so I created a fictional character: a pink punk rocker princess in pajamas. But she was really a strange looking character forged from Chemo Camouflage, PJ Clash, Hair Liberation, and Power and Prayer. A woman going through chemo. A Warrior Princess. However named, the costume felt honest and strangely comfortable.
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog and all the old writing on www.stayingstrong-linda.blogspot.com, you’ll see a void since mid-October. I had been merrily skipping along, editing and publishing a couple blogs a week. Then along came Power and Prayer, the skipping stopped. Time for writing evaporated. Editing these pieces and plunking them onto a blog wasn’t as simple as I had anticipated. I love copy editing, but…
Subconsciously, I consciously started focusing more on life around me, plunged into volunteering, left Power and Prayer hanging on a hook. But the last 48 hours, I’ve been taking inventory, re-accessing, and role-playing with my sister: “Repeat after me: ‘I am over-committed right now. I’m sorry I can’t take this on.’ So I can focus on my main jobs as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a niece, a god-parent, a guardian, a friend, and now a writer. So I can get back to that Linda Malcolm who could fill your ears for days on paper. So I can tackle a big copy editing job.
My son Liam also took inventory Friday night. Looking at my highly-beaded and charmed wrist, he picked out the four biggest bluey-green beads nestled right next to each other on my prayer bracelet. “Look Mom, it’s Mommy, Daddy, Will, and Liam.”
And now on to editing Power and Prayer with :”) and a bracelet back in my pocket.
Staying strong, Linda