Tuesday, October 02, 2007

All the names for God

I had mused, during my balder days, as to whether or not I should just give R a marker pen and get him to draw something on my head.

Preferably hair.

Then the other day, when waltzing out of the machine room and back through the waiting room, I see a woman waiting for her turn. She is completely bald but looks like she is wearing a flesh coloured skull cap with funky patterns all over it.

I focus properly and realise it's not a cap. It's her naked scalp, decorated with swirls and writing, in some sort of black ink. Surely not permanent marker pen?

I turn on my heel and march back towards her, plonking myself down in the seat next to her.

"Your head's fab, what is it? I mean, how did you do it?"

(I'm particularly articulate when impressed).

"It's a semi-permanent vegetable ink, like a henna tattoo."

"Cool" say I, "and what are all the symbols and words about?"

"It's all the names for God. I think we need as much help as we can get so we may as well ask him ten different ways."


When people bring up the G word I generally smile politely and back away gently, trying not to make any sudden movements. Talk of God makes me nervous because it usually leads to someone trying to persuade you there is one.

But this woman wasn't trying to convert me. She was simply sat there, bald as a coot, quietly challenging everyone's pre-conceptions about what she should look like. I myself remember ranting against the wig thing, feeling it would be weird to cover up my medical baldness and pretend everything was normal. And shaving my head in the early hair loss stages brought a feeling of control.

This woman is definitely in control. And if I saw her walking towards me, I'd know there was absolutely nothing normal about what she was going through.

Lets face it, whatever gets you through something like this earns its validity based entirely on results. If it works for her, then let her paint her head with religious symbols and names of deities.

At least it suits our modern multi-faith society...


Monica said...

I love this story. Thanks for sharing it and all the rest. It reminded me of this beautiful story published in my local paper a couple of years ago (I hope the link works!); I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

That's a fantastic story. I'd heard of women getting tattoos done over their scars before but never of one so massively impactful as that!

I'm due to get my portocath taken out soon. I'm thinking of taking the titanium shell of it to some jewellers to see if they could create a pendant out of it. That will be my way of remembering this in some physical form. My scars are too weany to make too much fuss over them!

Elizabeth Stock said...

Hi Anne-Marie - I have been lurking from the far-away land of Chicago IL and just wanted to say hi! I love your blog - not sure how I found it, but you are about two months behind me in treatment. I was dx in February and had the lumpectomy, chemo and today is my last day of rads. Anyway, your writing makes me smile! Bette - http://foto-monologue.blogspot.com