Well, not entirely.
Yesterday I cut off most of my hair. I just washed it, got in the mirror and started cutting. Then I grabbed up the softball sized clump of hair and dumped it in the trash. My hair is very thick and difficult to get a comb through. My shoulders have had enough. So...I just cut most of it off.
Like a lot of black women, I relax (chemically straighten) my hair, so at the roots is perhaps a half inch of my natural hair, darker and very curly. Also, a lot easier to take care of and perhaps most importantly, cheaper to maintain. Hair never has meant much to me. (Obviously, my sister would say.)
Emotionally I tend to find myself vacillating between anger at former doctors and despair, a feeling of staring down the muzzle of the rest of my life.
I got ill at a sensitive time: my final year of grad school. Originally a group of my friends had decided to apply for teaching positions at a college that was opening. Obviously that never happened. In fact, EDS pretty much demolished my five year plan. I might tentatively want to make a one year plan, but even that might not work out.
And...I can't exactly decide what to plan out. I'd be thrilled if I were able to teach even one class, have comprehensive health insurance and live independently. Absolutely thrilled.
But I have no idea what's going to happen, good or bad. The illusion of control I had has been completely obliterated. I'm even afraid to meet new people. With the friends of my former life all I have to talk about is health. There's been no new job, no boyfriend, no vacations, no exciting developments.
And our society has done a good job of making sure that people are made uncomfortable by the notion of others' suffering and misfortune.
"Well, what are you doing about it? I mean, can't the doctor do anything?"
"Can't you go into remission or something?"
"Why don't you just take some Zoloft or whatever?"
There are friends eagerly waiting for me to start writing and publishing poetry again. You can read some of my work here and here.
But I haven't actually felt like writing for some time now. I got a notebook and forced myself to write for a least half an hour a day, just whatever came to my mind. Most of it was doctor's phone numbers, ideas at getting better medical care, reminders to request medical records. What wasn't medical in nature was expressing my fears about my future and unhappiness at my present.
And one whole page inexplicably dedicated to clothes I would buy if I weren't broke.
In a couple weeks I'll move out of my sister's apartment and into the home of a friend who has very generously offered me a spare bedroom. It was originally my plan to go home to Cleveland, but due to our lovely economy and a stroke of bad luck, both my parents are unemployed, so I have to choice but to remain here until I can save enough money to get me and my things home.
I'd like to try and accomplish this before September 24, my 30th birthday!