Like many people in cancer treatment, T couldn’t help but notice that she wasn’t looking her best. She’d never been obsessed with her appearance but still… losing her hair and feeling tired all the time had her feeling bedraggled and out of step with the rest of the world.
While she was grateful for her family’s visits, she winced each time her sisters showed up dressed to the nines. She knew they didn’t mean anything by that, but the contrast with her own appearance was disheartening. They’d also tell her how good she looked, when she knew she looked anything but. She’d smile and take that in, but the tension between their words and the truth was hard to keep bottled inside.
There was one person, though, whose presence she always found comforting. When that friend came to take her to chemo, she came in sweat pants, with no makeup. She seemed to just “get” that by showing up unadorned, she’d avoid stirring up a source of stress for her friend. T could relax and just be herself when this friend was around.
There’s a lot of advice out there for how we can support people with cancer. Some of it is about what to say (and not say!) Some is about what we can do for them. But we rarely hear about how to show up.
Occasionally we hear about a partner or friend who shaved their own head in solidarity with a chemo patient. That’s beautiful, but it’s not the only way to show solidarity and support.
What’s important is to show up in a way that says “I love and value you just the way you are.” Dressing simply and forgoing makeup is a simple and beautiful way of saying “I left my distractions at home today. I’m showing up as just plain me, so I can be with just plain you. And that’s more than enough.”
To your beautiful “enough-ness”,
Talk with Dr. Shani
It’s my joy to offer you a personal, complimentary Clarity Conversation of up to 45 minutes. You’ll come away clearer about what you’ve been struggling with, what you’d love your life to look like, and the best next steps to get you there.