Well where to start…I think I will begin by apologising for my prolonged absence. I’ve been in a weird place lately; after the high of finally seeing my family for the first time in 18months, it was back to London and for some reason my writing motivation just left me, perhaps because I’ve been feeling particularly rubbish and have probably been overdoing it. In a way though, my rollercoaster moods fit well with the topic of this blog and the somewhat paradoxical notion that by acknowledging that you cannot control your chronic conditions you actually gain more control over your life.
I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for a long time, in fact since I cut my hair, but as I’ve said for some reason the motivation wasn’t there, and of course I start to beat myself up for not keeping to my self imposed schedule. Why do we do this? I think for me the answer is to have a sense of control over what I do and when I do it. So how does a hair cut fit into this? Well, for some people a haircut is no big deal, it’s only hair after all. For me it’s much more than that, it’s an element I’ve always been a bit precious over; I was teased and bullied about my hair from as far back as I can remember. When I was around ten years old an older boy chased me around the park screaming that I must be wearing a wig, whenever he caught up with me he would pull my hair so hard that I recall having a terribly sore scalp for hours after. The old adage kid’s are cruel is so very true and I wish I could have just chalked it up to experience and moved on. However, for me, it made me become almost obsessive about my hair, I would try and control it by pasting it down with mousse, I absolutely abhor people touching my hair, so much so I don’t think I’ve visited a hairdresser since I was a teenager. So shaving off a side of it was a big deal for me. As I’m sat here pouring everything out I realise why it may have taken me so long to write this blog, it’s like I’m bearing my soul but it’s also very cathartic.
Anyway, it all started when Carys asked me months back if she could shave my head, I think it’s her payback for being sheared by me for so long, of course I said absolutely not, but after some time I eventually relented and allowed her to give me an undercut at the back, where it wasn’t visible. Wow, did I feel lighter, I have a vast amount of hair, but because I tried to control it so much no one other than those closest to me really knew how much. Anyway a long story short Carys was cutting my hair months later and I just said fuck it, shave the side, ”are you sure?” was the response, ”do it before I change my mind” and so she did.
I let go, I didn’t need to be in control, I now allow it to go fluffy and wild and I love it. It’s taken 37 years but I actually like my hair. All of this got me to thinking about chronic illness, about letting go of trying to control everything, about how freeing letting go really is. I have very little control over what my body does, when it decides to freak out and tremor or spasm, when my speech suddenly stutters or stops completely, I used to try and hide this from people and it would embarrass me. Now I do my best to own it, I make jokes, try and make people comfortable with it and me. I still struggle at times, wondering why anyone would want to be around me never mind stay in a relationship with someone who has changed so much over time. These are however, less frequent intrusive thoughts and I’m working hard to acknowledge just how awesome I am and how very awesome the people I choose to have around me really are. In truth there’s very little we can control in life, and perhaps by acknowledging that we all become a little more free and a little more happy with our lot.