Monday, September 28, 2009

Confessions of a Compulsive Hat-Buyer

I have a confession to make. A handful of you already know this...I’m an addict. My story’s not unique. It all started with just one, maybe two. I thought I could handle it. I didn’t know what I was messing with…I found out about the hair and had what I thought was a harmless thought, “I should get a hat.” That was all she wrote. Notice, I thought “get A hat”, not “get 23 hats”…

I hear there are people who can stop at one. Occasionally they will go buy a hat and not even think about hats again for a long time. Some people go their whole lives and don’t even know they’re hat-addicts because they never bought one before, kind of like a Baptist alcoholic. I think I heard a joke about that one… (And for the record, as a born and raised Baptist, I'm allowed to tell it.) At any rate, I now know that I used to be one of those hat people, but am no longer.

In my defense, they’re A LOT of cute hats out there right now. They’re everywhere! Either that or I just started noticing them. The odd thing is that I don’t even like to shop. The fact that I was at the mall on Saturday is more unusual than the fact that I was wearing a wig, which I have never done before.

I got my first two when Mom and I went to buy Pj’s for my surgery. Turns out that I had no button-down-the-front Pj’s. And when you have that surgery, you can’t pull a shirt over your head since you can’t lift your arms for a while. So, the Pj’s were a necessity. That’s how she got me to the mall in the first place. The hats were between the Pj section and the door at Dillard’s. So, since there was a huge sale (75% off!), we casually picked up two that looked kind of cute. I didn’t even pay them attention for a while. I was busy with the surgery, recovery, and everything else. But once I got obsessed with the hair…that all changed.

Now, you should know that I DO like to BUY, but not to shop. There’s a huge difference. If you “shop” you like to spend the day in many stores or the mall, looking around with no specific goal necessarily, and you could come home with something, a lot of things, or nothing. Ugh! I don’t do that. When I shop it’s a mission (as in black ops, not small church). You get in, get out, and if you do it right no one even knows you were there. That’s how you BUY, not shop. The faster you can pull it off the better. That’s why the Internet is so dangerous. You can buy anything you want whether the stores are open or not. Up at 3:00 am? Need a hat? No problem. We got your hat right here!

I could spend a great deal of time justifying all of the good reasons that each of my hat purchases was legitimate. The first dozen came from the American Cancer Society’s online store. How could you argue with giving money to the American Cancer Society? What with having the cancer and all…Plus, it’s a good cause. I bought some pink stuff at The Breast Cancer Site, also a good place to spend your money. Then there’s 60% off day. That was Saturday when I capped off the collection (no pun intended) with the last two. I actually even started stretching the truth about my addiction. I told Terri at work today that I bought A hat in two colors. When she thought I meant one, I did not correct her. She caught on though. For the record, I did buy A hat in two colors, it just adds up to two if you’re paying attention. Besides, I didn’t even get the black one. So, I was proud that it wasn’t three. The black on was really cute.

All of this begs the question, What is going on here? What’s with all the hats? I’m not usually a hat-wearer, so why the compulsive need to buy so many? I couldn’t have told you until today. When I got out of the car at work this morning, the wind was blowing SO hard in our parking lot. It was cool, dry, which is the thing that I always look most forward to when the weather FINALLY cools down after the triple digit heat of summer. But today I had a different thought. Instead of my usual complete joy in that moment, I felt panic. What if it’s this windy next Monday? I had visions of my “hair” flying across the parking lot. That vision was immediately followed by a series of surprising feelings. Shame, embarrassment, terror. It was fleeting, but it was there for just a second. Then a quick sense of security because I had a hat to wear to protect me from that. Like a hat is some Harry Potter-esque cloak of invisibility/wind protector...

Shame and Embarrassment??? Really??? There’s no shame in having cancer! Where in the world did that come from? Still, that’s what it was as sure as I sit here and type this. So I thought about that all day, and I came to a couple of conclusions.

First, no matter how far past the teenage girl we once were that we think we've grown, she's still there. You know the one that thought the whole school was looking at the minuscule little zit hidden where no one could see it anyway? Yeah, her. She's still around even if you think she isn't. Secondly, sometimes it takes things like cancer to remind and reveal these things to us. I had no idea she was still hanging around. But, now that I know she's there, I can handle her because 40 years of life teaches you a thing or two.

One of those is this: People don't look as closely at us as we think they do. Most of the people I encountered on Saturday in my wig never knew I was wearing it. And if they did, so what?? As I've already said, there is NO shame in having cancer. Another thing is this, the only people that it should matter what they think are the ones that love us hair or no hair. And the hair really doesn't matter to them anyway. Then finally, when we do feel that way or if we just want a cute look, it's completely OK to grab a hat and head out the door.

Women spend so much time beating each other down in this world. "She's put on a few..." "Did you see what she was wearing?" "I would just DIE if that happened to me..." "She did what with who? I'd NEVER do that!" Gossip everywhere. Whole industries are built on finding flaws in others and exploiting them. Beating others down to build ourselves up. It doesn't work. It just changes the standard by which we judge ourselves as well. It's always too high when it comes to our appearance. We need to STOP it! We're all in the same boat really.

Each of us is God's creation that He made to be exactly who we are. Unique. Special. Needed. And above all else, LOVED, just the way we are. We can always do better in how we behave, serve, or treat others, but that's OUR imperfect human sinful nature. It's not a flaw in his creation. My pastor says regularly, "There is nothing that you can do to make God love you any more, or any less." He already loves us completely, totally. If He can love us with all of our imperfections, why can't we?


Anonymous said...

Hey girl! Loved this blog, funny as hell. Personally I can't wait to get to Dallas (hopefully for Thanksgiving, but we'll wait to see how you are feeling)to get a gander at the hats and see what your style is. I have to say though, I think the drugs are getting to you... at the mall on a Saturday! And who would have ever guessed you were a hat addict? I'ts official hell has frozen over.
Okay, so tomorrow you shave your head... I have a dare for you. When you are used to the whole no hair thing, I dare you to go to work wearing just your hat, no wig (and clothes of course because I don't want you to get fired for indecent exposure)feel up to the challenge? I think you can do it! Love you girl and best of luck tomorrow... keep some of your hair, just to remind you of the amazing strength that exists in you for the times when you feel you have none. Let me know how it feels after the fact. Your sis in law, Kim
p.s. Honestly I'm looking forward to seeing what you look like bald. Weird? :)

kitykity said...

A year ago, if you had told me that my daughter would be the catcher on her softball team, I would have said "okay maybe... but I don't think so." I was so incredibly surprised by her natural talent for it, and love for it.

I feel the same way about your blogging.

You're an excellent writer. I wish you had started this years ago--before you felt like you had a "purpose." Cancer or no cancer, you have a style of storytelling that keeps people intrigued until the very end--the very end, where you leave someone with a thought about God that makes them walk away, thinking.

I really appreciate you.


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