Recently I have felt attacked, leaving me always on the defensive. It’s exhausting and draining. I had let these ‘attacks’ have all the power over me, consuming my days and nights with thoughts that served no purpose other than to leave my heart and soul bruised and my ego suffocating in darkness.
I have been challenged on my philosophy, practice and choices in regard to my faith, family and profession. I do not profess that my choices are right for everyone, but they are right for me at this time. I resent being told that someone else knows better.
I choose carefully when it comes to my son’s toys, viewing choices and his diet. I have my reasons for making those choices. I should not have to spout my reasons, and defend them, to every acquaintance who chooses differently for their child. Some of my choices come from a moral/ethical place, some from a medical base, some are just my choice. Regardless they’re my choices for my son. But, still, I was attacked.
My faith is important to me. It always has been. I may not interpret faith the same way as someone else. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong. At times my faith is outwardly visible, other times I hold it close to me and it becomes very private. Regardless of the niuances of what faith means to me, it has never left me believing it’s okay to intentionally hurt another person. So, if I’m not causing harm, is anything else I’m doing or believing or supporting really so bad? But, still, I was attacked.
For at least 4 weeks it felt as if everywhere I went, every email I opened, every nightly check-in on social media, every phone call I took was just another chance for someone to tell me how wrong I was about something. Each day that went by with more attacks, chipped away at the anger that I held first, leaving me with a flood of doubt. It felt like the darkness was winning. I didn’t even fight back anymore.
Then came the day that I was supposed to be looking forward to. My son and I were shaving our heads with many others at his school as part of a cancer research fund raiser. Up until that morning, I had barely thought about it. I had sent out a random email or post about it to get more pledges, but my heart wasn’t in it. The darkness was winning.
I sat in the gymnasium with my son and all the other kids. There was music and laughing children, cheering for classmates and teachers, organizers and stylists frantically trying to keep things moving smoothly. It may have looked chaotic to some. It sounded loud to everyone.
It was my turn next. I got up and sat in the cold, hard folding chair that was set up for the stylists to use. Anna (the stylist) asked if I was ready. I said yes, and the razor touched my right temple. Then everything changed. The hum of the clippers echoed through my head and suddenly the noise and chaos around me was gone. I closed my eyes and felt the hard steel sheers glide over my head. I felt long strands of hair falling in my lap. I heard nothing but the buzz.
Each pass with the clippers was like an eraser, taking away the doubt and hurt. It was freeing. Some paths were easy to follow and the hair was shaved cleanly. Others were more difficult, making it necessary to go over them again and again. Each hair that fell left me lighter, left my soul lighter. I opened my eyes and saw excited children all around. I heard nothing but the buzz.
This day was supposed to be about helping to raise funds to aid in cancer research to save others from the ravages of the disease. This was supposed to be for someone else. But, I’m the one who was saved on that day. The darkness that was winning just a few hours before, now lay in a lifeless pile at my feet. It was swiftly swept away and discarded.
In reality, I know the attacks I experienced were not as frequent as it felt. Some were not even directed at me, personally, but were general statements from someone. But they affected me and I let them take the power to drive my life. That power was removed with a simple buzz.
I’ve had various family members and friends battle cancer. I’ve known some that have won the battle and others who did not. But, I’ve never lived with that battle in my own house. I’ve never had to watch someone I love change every day as the disease took over who I once knew them to be. I cannot imagine what that is like.
Since that day, I’ve received praise and hugs and cheers for participating in this worthy event. I heard nothing but the buzz.
Robyn, Your words are always so beautiful, you truly have a gift. The metaphor of your pain being shed with your hair is so vivid and real. I hope that, as your hair grows back, you can hang onto the freedom of disempowering the hateful or unhelpful words that you have experiened coming at you recently. Take away their power and you take away their ability to hurt you. Easier said than done, I know, but you don’t ever walk this journey alone….. Blessings!