Bold act can help us move on

?Every human has four endowments?self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom…the power to choose, to respond, to change.? ?Stephen Covey

While wading through an eternity of purses shopping with my sisters last weekend, I noticed a few things.

One, there are an unbelievable number of shades of brown.

Two, owls are really popular right now.

Three, purse designers have not yet mastered placement of the perfect outside pocket to hold a cell phone.

Four, sometimes an eternity isn?t enough as I am still carrying the same bag I went in with.

?I can?t get one of those,? my sister Kelly pointed out as we walked toward the camo designs.

I thought for a second.

?G.I. Jane?? I asked her.

?Yep,? she said as we both laughed.

My sister got a buzz cut a couple weeks ago. She hasn?t recently enlisted for active duty. She?s not sick. She?s not protesting or making a political or social statement. She?s just going with the flow.

Or more specifically, she?s going with androgenetic alopecia?s flow. That?s a fancy term for chronic hair loss, something she?s dealt with for a while now. She?s tried other remedies, researched other options, all the while watching it get thinner, and along the way, beginning to feel a loss of identity.

We would all like to think we could smoothly transition through physical issues at the first signs of a struggle. But human nature says otherwise. And our culture backs it up.

From the time we become aware of our own physical presence in our peer groups (middle school ring any bells?) through…well, pretty much from then on as I?m not convinced it ever completely ends, we deal with the matrix of self-awareness in all it?s positive and negative forms.

We spend time, sanity, money and frustration on what we look like. Because truthfully, how we look does form a part of our identity. When control over that piece is taken away, we?re bound to writhe around in an attempt to get it back.

Kelly?s decision didn?t come easily. She tried several routes and naturally wanted to hold out hope for the miracle finger-snap that would turn things around.

Aside from the major physical change of cutting off her hair, she had to ask herself how people would view her in all aspects.

She felt the responsibility of making sure people understood, so she used Facebook to collectively tell her world, which ended up having a couple advantages. She could inform a lot of people at one time. And the unforeseen advantage was the support she would get…the overwhelming support.

It helped to alleviate her anxiety over questions she asked herself, like would some think she was overreacting or would they make assumptions that were way off base? And should it matter?

She said, ?Some people may think, ?What?s the big deal? It?s only hair.

?If only it were that simple. The loss is very real and coming to terms with it has been an emotional and painful process. I don?t think anyone can really understand the devastation unless or until they or someone close to them has experienced it.

?Anyway, I hope stepping outside of my comfort zone will help me get on with my life, and hopefully in the process I?ll be showing others in the same situation that they’re not alone.?

And so she did step out. She paired up her creative imagination with independent will and told her thinning hair to kiss her buzz. And believe me, she?s rocking the look.

And just because she can, a wig or two might work their way in. Kansas winters are cold and what brunette hasn?t wanted to be a redhead or blonde at some point in her life?

She had better luck than me in the purses aisle and did find a new one. A successful find under the circumstances. It?s not brown, does have a decent cell phone pocket and no owls.

Nothing against GI Jane, she?s a cool chick, too, but there?s not a single spot of camo print anywhere.

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