I've always found it fascinating, the amount of money and time that our culture devotes to telling us about how our hair can be softer, bouncier, lighter, carefree, sophisticated, playful....the list is as endless as the advertisements.
I've had hair down to my butt, and I've had hair an inch long, and now I have hair about 1/8" of an inch. It was starting to fall out just a few at a time, 10 here, another 10 or so there, so I went and had my head shaved.
My sponsor and I went wig shopping last week, and found a wig which looks very much the way my own hair does. Dark brown with a bit of grey through it. Wigs have come a long way in terms of looking natural, even when they are 100 acrylic. My sponsor and I had a great time in the wig shop, trying on Dolly Parton look-alikes, and all sorts of strange colors and styles, and laughing ourselves silly. We even got the saleslady into it after a while, she was picking out some hilarious styles for me to try and then the three of us would stagger around the shop in giggling fits, with the saleslady never getting past saying more than a gentle, "Oh dear, I think that's not you!" while my sponsor was more upfront, at one point making me howl by saying firmly, "That's hurting my eyes, you need to take that one off."
I went wig shopping with my sponsor because I knew it would be fun with her. I'm not terribly broken up by my hair loss, I don't love it, but I'd rather laugh than cry, since it's part and parcel of the chemo I'm getting. By shaving my head early into the process, I gained a little control, and that felt good.
Wig-shopping with my sponsor was a pleasure. I feel completely safe with her, I can relax completely, say exactly what I'm thinking, and get good honest loving feedback. And lots of laughs. Just thinking about her brings a smile to my face; she's great fun, and excellent company. My first sponsor down here was wonderful while we were in that relationship, and I feel a heartfelt gratitude for all of the help and support she gave to me, and now we are friends, and talk on the phone once in a while. We've talked about what happened, she's apologised, and I hold no grudge or bad feelings about it, but it did affect my ability to trust her, and it was time for a new sponsor. So it goes.
I was just incredibly lucky enough to know someone who I wanted to be my new sponsor, and she accepted. A good sponsor is a friend, a confidante, and for those of us who are long-time members of this program, a lovingly honest reality check. I can write her an email about exactly what's going through my head, and she will hear me, validate my feelings, then offer her ideas. And because I love and respect and admire her, I'm completely openminded to the way she sees it. Already, in the short time we've been sponsor-sponsee, she's been a comfort and a help in ways too many to enumerate.
A sponsor is a gift we give to ourselves in this marvellous program.