Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Full Circles? What is a "full" circle?

The two photos above are from August 25, 2006, not quite four years ago. On August 25, 2006, I had decided the time was ripe for a new haircut. I walked to the awesome hair salon in my downtown and told the stylist I was open for anything. We decided to go short, and I decided I wanted to go short enough that I could donate my hair. For no reason in particular other than I figured it was a nice gesture, and why not if I was already going to get a drastic new do? I was about to begin my sophomore year of university and was completely oblivious to the little cancer cells that were gradually taking me over.

I have thought a lot about that haircut over the past four years. The symbolism of innocently donating my hair to Locks of Love; my reluctance to shave my head the first time I lost my hair; my refusal to wear a wig. I actually even blogged about that haircut one year after the fact in August 2007, when I was mostly hairless and going through treatment. In retrospect, it only confirms my belief in the fact that everything happens for a reason.

This here fun photo was taken right now (woo!). Obviously, my hair is all back. Curlier, but otherwise exactly the same. And vain or not, I love it. Short hair was, for me, a constant reminder of the physical side effects of the chemo. As were the intense chemo curls I used to have, but those have mostly grown out as well. These days the hair is long and healthy and, actually, in pretty dire need of a trim.

So full circles: I had an idea a few days ago. Everyone knows (I hope...) that I am training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon with Team in Training. I think about my training and running and the marathon every single day. It is only 2 months away, and it scares me to no end. Anyway, I mentioned to one of my coworkers this crazy idea I had: I am throwing around the notion of holding off on a haircut until October, until the marathon. At that time, I would chop it all off and, once again, donate it. My coworker's response: "That's a great idea. It would be like everything has come full circle for you." Donating the hair; losing it; regrowing it; donating it once more...

Full circle. I don't like that image. In fact, it threatens me: to have gone through so much the past four years, hair being the least of it, only to end up right back where I started... But then I realized it's just an expression; don't take it so literally. I am training for a Marathon, for goodness' sake. Absolutely nothing is the same. I graduated college. I am not the same. Cutting my hair in anticipation of the 26.2 miles I will run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would be the end of the past four years, not a return to the beginning.

Maybe I put too much emotional emphasis on symbols in my life. Running this race is a symbol. Donating my hair. Turning 24... If I can do this one thing, I can finally let go of something else. And yet I need these milestones, these tangible reminders of how far I have come in four years. So I probably will wait for my haircut. Anyone want to join me....?! Haha, thanks, as always, for reading and putting up with my silly vanities. I think I'll go for a run now. Happy Wednesday. Pax.


Francesca said...

Hello Caroline, it is soooo great to hear about your marathon and your preparation for it. I am sure that it must be a lot of hard work, but you will do great. I sponsored you too. Your mom will give you the money once she gets home. I wish you all the best. Stay healthy and run for the cure!!!

Mr. X said...

I like your blog, lot of respect for you and your story.

whitehorse said...

i just came across ur blog randomly and i have to say u are and inspiration. Its so great to see such a strong person making it through cancer healthy as can be now and ready to take on the world. u are awesome and i hope yo do great in your marathon and if u do decide to give ur hair again thanks in behalf of all the young girls going through that im sure u inspire them to be strong

cookie monster said...

my sister had (and beat) non-hodgkins lymphoma and she lost her hair too. she had syrup (wig) done and i saw how emotional she became through all this.

She's thankfully ok now and got the final all clear the other day. She must be fine if she is back to nagging her older brother!

Good on you for thinking of others.

Barry Reese said...

Love it Caroline. Love it. Talk soon.