Why is it?

Why is it that some people feel uncomfortable around me?

I was at a meeting earlier this month where for the first time I felt it. Everyone in the room was uncomfortable with me sitting among them. It was a small group of volunteers and I stopped by to pray and say hello, but I definitely felt they did not know what to say or how to react.

I was wearing a scarf and a fedora.

I was a bald woman.

I was a cancer patient.

And I looked the part.

As I was walking in I was talking to someone who was entering too and even though I have known them for three years it was apparent that either they did not know who I was or they were very uncomfortable with how I looked.

The next week I found myself splurging for a wig with long tresses to look as close to the old me as possible.

Why is it that I feel compelled to make others comfortable even if it makes me uncomfortable?

This experience really brought it home that my appearance affects others. All summer I have spent in a scarf and fedora without this reaction. But I have mostly interacted with individuals not groups. It was my mistake. I have had other group meetings where I wore my short wigs for appearances, but this was a last-minute stop and I knew it would be a small group.

I don’t want anyone, friends or strangers to be uncomfortable. I love to visit and be with family and friends and I want them to be comfortable.

This made me so sad, but I can handle this situation through my large strong support system, but this makes me so sad for others that don’t have the support or means to look as others need them to.

I pray for those that are struggling with self-image through their cancer battle, this should not ever happen.

Why is it that children are so honest, pure and comfortable enough to speak the truth?

One of my earliest blog posts I talked about little Daniel, who prayed I would not lose my hair, because everyone would certainly notice a bald woman. He was right, he knew how people would react. He wanted to protect my feelings.

Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer, to have this reaction in today world took me by surprise.

I smile and laugh when I think about the pure love of children. Nicolas, my two-year old grand-nephew visited over Labor Day and there were three different times that I put a wig on to go out and he said “no”.

He wanted the wig off.

He was right, it was too hot and I needed to be comfortable.

He wanted to see his Aunt Janet.

He purely saw me for me and not what the world expects me to look like.

We Skype weekly therefore he is use to my bald head as I roam around the house.

He accepts me no matter what my physical appearance.

Children are pure love.

Thank you Daniel and Nicolas for teaching these lessons and being so insightful!

Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family, that see me and love me!

I love you all!

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Grace embraced through the pure, total, loving acceptance of all those that surround me. God bless you!

Followup Note:  Thank you so much for all your comments and thoughts. I want to clarify that all the volunteers at the meeting are wonderful, amazing people. I respect and treasure every volunteer I work with. They are giving, loving, faith filled servants of God. I think they were just caught off guard. Maybe they did not know what to say, maybe they felt uncomfortable because they should have known I was sick but didn’t. I can’t try to understand what they were thinking…heck…maybe I am totally off and it was the long day I had that caused these feelings. But they are just my feelings, expressed honestly and raw, never judging others or thinking I was treated badly. It is what it is…

I wonder if I have ever made another feel this way, unintentionally.
I think the Lord wants me to experience this, so that I will better minister to others.
I pray He will use me for His glory throughout this battle and throughout my life.


14 thoughts on “Why is it?

  1. You are so right about how our presence makes people uncomfortable! Thanks for writing about it. I still feel it even though my hair is now about 1 inch to 1.5 inches long. Especially at social events. I really get ignored even my previously close friends. It makes you feel sad and lonely. Laughingly, I was telling a very supportive friend it is like the parting of the Red Sea sometimes when I arrive. Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing!

    • Denise,
      Thank you for your comments. It took me two weeks to write about this. I don’t even want to judge others and I hope it doesn’t come across as I was judging them, but only expressing how I was feeling. It has been a strange journey, filled with new experiences, new reactions from my body and new reactions from those around. But I am surviving and striving and with the grace of God will continue to do so. Thanks for being an inspiriation through your blog for me also!

  2. Life is amazing weird in this way. We go through life worrying more about others than about ourselves. Keep putting yourself first. You are strong, beautiful and amazing. Teach others that it is ok to be bald and beautiful. I love you!

    • Toni, you are an inspiration to me. You are so honest and accepting always. Beauty comes from within and I will always be beautiful when surrounded by your love!

  3. Hi Janet , Well we love you the way you are and look!! But I do think you look cute in the short wig. I love that style on you do so maybe when your hair grows back you can sport a new coif.

    Today is my interview and I hope I dressed the part. So we all do it at sometime in our lives.

    Love you, Mindy

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Mindy
      You are truly an constant angel throughout my treatments and everyday life. Thank you for the weekly delicious dinners, you really should create your own cookbook! I will be rocking the short style hopefully in the spring and we’ll see if the short style sticks. Another breast cancer friend told me, she too had long hair and was never brave enough to cut it short, so maybe the Lord wanted me to try out short hair…and He is getting His way! Love to you and Don.

  4. The important thing I think to remember is it’s not about you. You remind people of their own fragility; the possibility that this could be their journey. That is what makes them uncomfortable. Your hair, or lack of it, is that reminder. I am sorry I have not posted more Janet. I cannot do it from my phone and I so infrequently get to my computer lately. My prayers and thoughts are with you daily. You are blessed to have a wonderful support system. You are beautiful hair or no hair, long or short, dark or pink.

    • So true Marianne. I did not take it personally, but realized I need to be more willing to step out of my comfort zone when there are others in need, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thank you for your kind words.

  5. I was so pleased when you could share a smaller part of this story with me (and a few of us at a meeting) and am grateful to read the multiple layers and parts. I love your fedora, your wigs and your baldness and I will continue to pray that you feel loved & supported even when those immediately around you do not provide it.
    Keep listening to those lovely children–they are gifts! Maybe Robbie can bring some 3 yr. old fun your way in October!

    • Katie,
      Thanks for always reaching out to me and holding me up in prayer. You are a blessing to everyone who knows you personally and through your ministry. God bless you

  6. I think people just don’t know what to do…and they worry they will say something dopey…or hurt your feelings…little do they realize the warrior you’ve become. I recognize and honor that… P.s. There are great books out there and the last I knew, ACS had some good materials.

    Sent from my iPad

    • Rosalie its so true, we can find ourselves in lots of situation where we don’t know what to do. It showed me that I have to model the behavior I want portrayed every day.

  7. Thanks Janet for the insight; yes, out of the mouths of babes; were we all so innocent. A lesson for us, thank you for sharing. God bless you sweet cousin, you are in heart and prayer. Really appreciate your observations and prose. Love, Marie.

    • Thanks Marie, until we experience it, we sometimes don’t understand how to react to others. They are all lovely people and give freely of their time, so it truly was about my reaction to the situation and not criticizing them at all.

Your thoughts warm my heart and strengthen my path, thanks for commenting on my journey,

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