OyChicago blog

Dear Nonsense, I missed you.

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07/06/2011

Jenna Benn photo 

Last night I gathered up the courage to go on a date. It wasn't my first date, but maybe my third or fourth.

Dating before Cancer was tough. Dating after Cancer is a whole new obstacle course. I'm new at this— really new at this.

Can someone pass me the rule book?

At what point do you share that you had Cancer? At what point do you admit you’re bald? At what point do you admit you could have died?

Is this first, second or third date talk?

What about those who already know? If you Google me, you will see me bald— put the pieces together and realize that I used to be sick.

Anonymity isn't really an option and I am ok with that.

I have been front and center about my disease from the beginning, and I believe it has given me a tremendous amount of strength in the process. I don't regret for a heartbeat that I have been open and honest about my hopes and dreams, fears and frustrations— it's who I am.

But getting ready for a date is different. Sure I stress (briefly) about what to wear, where to go, what to do, but what is the main focus of my anxiety is my wig.

Is he going to be "weirded out" by what is on the top of my head? Can he see past this $20 banging number or is he hung up on the color, the length, and the fact that it’s fake?

Cancer survivors don't choose to get Cancer, and we certainly don't choose to go bald. But this is our lot and we must deal with it.

If I don't wear a wig, and choose to go bald, will I scare my date? Baldness for many represents sickness, weakness, and defeat as opposed to victory, strength, and resilience. The way I view my baldness today is still constantly changing and evolving.

So where do I fit and how do I navigate this new world of dating?

Last night, my date couldn't get past what was on my head, and failed to see what was in my heart. I was admittedly upset about it, but here is the great thing about Cancer, it leaves you with no room for bullshit. Before Cancer I would have gotten upset about the disparaging comment and replayed the scenario over and over in my head. Now, I realize that the comment was not only insensitive, but it's just nonsense.

Stressing about dating, as opposed to death, is what a 29-year-old single girl should be worrying about.

So here's to nonsense, here's to bullshit, here's to life— I missed you.

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