26 February 2009

Accumulations and the Inner Hag

I'm so glad February is just about over. The month has always been notorious for bringing out one's inner hag but this year I found it impossible to keep mine (back, hag, back!) at bay. The paleness alone was bad enough but the baldness really pushed me into the red. Whenever I look in the mirror, I see a bald pale hag who has spent too many months cringing in an icy head wind. That fresh accumulation of crow's feet!

This winter has been long and brutal for even the most resilient New Englander, enough to turn a bald pale hag into an angry bald pale hag. But that would NOT be good for the tumor, so I won't go there.

Still, I always need something to rally against and earlier this week I declared war on all forms of the word "accumulate."

Accumulating snow. The accumulation of AC chemo poison inside my body. See how the grocery bills accumulate in the form of super vitamins and Whole Foods transactions.

But then I was rifling around in my kitchen cabinets for a soup bowl and a little envelope with some painted irises on it fell onto the counter top. Inside were a bunch of GCs for Bella Sante -- an accumulation of GCs -- worth numerous spa treatments yet to be scheduled. Two of the cards were Christmas gifts from old clients from 2005 and 2006 and one was a Mother's Day present from James from 2004. They all had messages like "Pamper yourself in 2006" and "A spa day for you," etc. To be honest, I am slightly horrified that I haven't properly pampered myself since 2004. I'm not a martyr: "Oh, you know, it's all about the kids now. I could never take a day for myself. Selfish things. Woe is mama." No, I like my facials and pedicures very much. If anything, they make for a more coherent, patient mama and keep the inner hag in her place.

So on Monday afternoon, I'd already shelved what I now perceive as my silly war on the word accumulate (I kept hearing Dr. Nic's voice in my head: "It's a word for fuck's sake. Have a drink.") and dialed up Bella Sante. I was expecting to get in there sometime in March but the shitty economy offered me next day appointments starting at 9:30 a.m: Head-to-Toe Body Ritual, Blueberry Smoothie Facial, Pomegranate Peel. And since I'm pretty much back to my high energy self this week, I booked them on the spot.

Aside: "High energy" these days means not having to take a disco nap to stay up past 8 p.m.

Tues. Feb. 24, Bella Sante
For all my railing against the crappy winter, I'm thankful to be able to walk around undetected in my baldness with my fierce wig and raspberry beret. The wig just fits my pin-sized head better with a hat over it. If this were the summer, I couldn't get away with this look.

I'm so unselfconscious about my appearance that I don't even consider my baldness until I step off the elevator into Bella Sante. Shit. I can't possibly get a facial with a wig on, that would be freakish.

I sign in, go to the locker room and put on a velvet robe. I leave the wig on as I sip some cucumber-ginger water in the lounge and wait to be called for my first appointment.

A petite dark-haired woman appears in the room, "Kate?" I'm clearly the only person in the lounge. "I'm Joss. Come on back." She shakes my hand and kind of walks a few steps ahead of me.

ME: "Hey, um, psst."

(Yes, I actually said "Psst." I am becoming more freakish by the second.)

JOSS: (turns around) Mmhmm?

KATE: "Listen, I am wearing a wig. I am bald as an egg. I just wanted to let you know that so you wouldn't be freaked out when I took it off in there."

JOSS: (unfazed) That's OK.

(I have a feeling, though, that Joss would've been unfazed if I'd just told her that I had an extra leg.)

As we walk into the room. I realize I never mentioned cancer as the reason for my baldness. As far as Joss knows, I'm just some crazy bald woman in an ill-fitting wig. When we get into the room, I casually mention breast cancer and de-wig myself.

JOSS: "You can totally pull off baldness, you should just walk around like that."

(Let's not get carried away.)

I like Joss. I'm completely at ease, even when she exfoliates my bald head with some sea salt. Also, she isn't an aesthetician who peppers you with questions throughout what's supposed to be a relaxing spa treatment. There is nothing more stressful than feeling like you have to keep a conversation going when you just want to zone out. Not to mention, a full frontal exfoliation is no time for idle chit chat. I don't even like talking during manicures, though, which is why I go to the Vietnamese nail salon where nobody speaks English.

I go back and forth between the locker room and treatment room a few times in between services. Sometimes I walk out to the lounge with my wig on, other times with a turban on my head, my wig wrapped in a hand towel and stuffed into my robe pocket. This proves to be very confusing to Joss. For instance, when I'm in the turban, she walks right past me, opens the locker room door, and calls out: "Kate?"

ME: (behind her) I'm right here.

JOSS: Oh, I didn't even see you there, little towel head.

(I am certain Joss does not intentionally address me with an ethnic slur against Arabs.)

During my facial -- out of nowhere -- my appetite that has been nonexistent for several weeks returns with a vengeance. I am suddenly so starving that I am tempted to lick some of the blueberry smoothie facial mask off my face. Apparently, my appetite has accumulated over the past week as well because I can't wait to get the hell out of there and sprint to the nearest food court. On the way out, I grab a granny smith apple from the fruit bowl in the lounge and maul it in the elevator, wishing it were a rotisserie chicken. I'm still famished. A few moments later, I notice little green pieces of apple skin on the front of my scarf and coat. I pick the pieces off and eat them, one by one, as I speedwalk through the Public Garden.

Seven Songs of the Day -- 2/25/2009

Today's playlist comes courtesy of Colleen W. in Washington, DC. In her trademark fashion, Colleen never includes the what without the why. That's why we love her. If you can, try to enjoy some Positive K today. I know I did.

1. Get Up, Stand Up — Bob Marley (No iPod is complete without Bob Marley. The populist anthem of many generations.)
2. Dirt Off Your Shoulder — Jay-Z (Jigga man — this song is on President Obama’s iPod—need I say more?!)
3. I Got a Man — Positive K (Just because, I mean, whatever happened to “Positive K?” This is classic early 90’s hip hop. Up there with “Monie in the Middle.”)
4. Ain’t Nobody — Chaka Khan (Her name is Chaka — gotta love that and the double negative in the song title! Feel good, uplifting, don’t-mess-with-me soundtrack of many, many movies.)
5. Forever Young — Bob Dylan (I’m not a big Dylan fan, but the message in this one is really good. Good song for a lazy spring afternoon drive. Definitely a Sagittarius song.)
6. A Sorta Fairytale —Tori Amos (I’m a fan of any person who can play the piano like that and start a national advocacy organization for rape victims.)
7. Thunder Road — Bruce Springsteen (Favorite Bruce Springsteen song)


jal said...

Hey KJ,

Joss is right! You can totally pull off the bald (or really any)look but the wigs are fun too. Do whatever makes you feel best. If you want to borrow some of Mij's wigs just let me know. She isn't going to be using them anytime soon.

Next time you're in town call me and we'll do lunch or after work adult beverages. I'm only on the other side of the common.

Miss you and thank you so much for sharing this journey with everyone! I'm glad you took time for yourself and I'll bet that hag is long gone!


Nic said...

So glad you could read my thoughts!! An inner hag is emerging here in S. Boston. I was described as a 'grouch' today (no names mentioned).
Reason for being a grouch (and I HAVE NO REAL REASON!) is because of the accumulating workload on my desk, the accumulation of deadlines, and the body fat accumulating around my waistline ! Oh and I gave up alcohol for lent (reason: accumulation of catholic guilt!).

From my inner hag to yours, you can declare war on any f'in word you like - then we'll drink to it !

Love this blog and your courage.
Nic XX

Paula said...

Inner Hags Unite!!!!!! ..... we all have a haggish day...some more frequently than others... better to not let them accumulate....

Keep rockin it!!!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've got the world in your control. Keep getting those spa treatments and tell James to get his own sandwich!



bg said...

Ugh! Boom batter my pocket's gettin' fatter!

KJ - u no hag. That's crazy talk (credit - Celine).

Bean Down Under said...

KJ - Glad you got to enjoy your day of beauty! I am jealous! I was saying to co-workers yesterday that I used to look forward to March as a kid because it was more Spring like but now, not so much. There, that was my inner hag thought for the day.


Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion. Go out and buy yourself some new make up...maybe some lipstick or some fun new sunglasses. It will help keep the inner hag at bay.

lpd said...

"Exfoliate, don't accumulate..." Sounds like a 2009 remix from INXS

Looking forward to Hag Season coming to a close. Amen

Rebecca said...

I never thought to have a spa day when I was bald... sort of wish I had!

JenG said...

I thought I was just pms'ing and crabby today, but now I know - it's my INNER HAG. Thanks, Kate! You inspire me and strengthen me. Keep up your humor and courage. Hugs!
aside: my word verification made me giggle "spatfa". That's a great curse word to use in front of my kids!

BJ said...

You should be getting a kick-back from iTunes because I have purchased at least one song from every one of the Seven Songs lists you have posted!

Your post also inspired me to change my profile pict, as the image popped into my mind as soon as I read "inner hag".

Paula said...

I am thinking a Fuck Cancer 2009 Tour CD is in order...


Roving Lemon said...

Trust me, it's not just winter that brings out the inner hag--I've spent the past week beating mine back as well. But at least now I know what to call her, thanks to KJ!

Thinking of you and hoping you're having a fun weekend to launch you into Round 3.


Nic said...

Good night last nigh. We kept those inner hags at bay !

KT said...

This weather is NOT good for the inner hag. In like a lion... my ass. Frickin March. So here's my positive reframe: Kate, at least you're going through this shite in late winter so you can sleep all week through the crappy weather and not feel like you're missing anything! In fact, I think I'll join you and just not get outta bed this week. All in!

P.S. My verification word is "ouneu" as in "Ouneu, another snowstorm!".