|Toni Staton Harris before|
The time came much quicker than anticipated.
Every once in a while, I'd cheat on my girl with another fabulous stylist around the way. My girl works Tuesday through Saturday, not on Friday and I can't always get into her packed schedule. If I need a quickie, I'll go to my back-up who is fabulous in her own right and happens to be my fellow choir member.
After diagnosed and first treatment, I called my back-up for one last hurrah. I wanted to take pictures before all of my hair fell into temporary oblivion. I text my back-up because she even works on a Monday and I was to see her that Monday. That Friday before Monday, every time I raked a wide toothed comb through what I could get through long clumps came rolling out. I didn't panic, well I did a little. So I texted and called my back up on Saturday night, slightly panicked. She didn't answer and texted back that she was at the movies, opening weekend for The Best Man Holiday. When she did phone, she instructed me not to come in on Monday but to go ahead and shave my head, not to torture myself any longer by prolonging it.
Now I knew it was coming but I wasn't prepared for it that soon. So I walked around with a giant lock in the middle of my head for a week. Afterwards, it was time. I couldn't take it any longer so I plopped in my stylist's chair and after a thorough shampooing--stylists hate when you say wash--and a strengthened lock heavy atop my head, Lisa went to cutting.
|Toni Staton Harris after cut|
Sabrina, a recent survivor, Lisa's bestie and co-worker held my hands and turned me away from the mirror as I cried and cried. Only one other of Lisa's patrons remained in the shop, who was getting finished. I didn't care. I cried and cried and cried. When Lisa finished, I was shocked. I had even less hair than I thought I would have and not enough for a cute short style seen walking out of the shop moments ago.
|Toni Staton Harris after cut|
I stood in the mirror and really took in my tears, the glass spots on my head and cried. I then remembered something. Jenifer Lewis one of my favorite Dramatic/Comedic Actors had been seen on You Tube dispensing advice. She instructed and I paraphrase noting that her delivery was as powerful as the message--You have to like yourself. And if you don't, you STAND in that mirror until you do! So I did. I stood in the mirror for fifteen minutes and cried and mourned and then I was done. And if you know anything about me, when I'm done, I'm really done or better yet complete.
Two weeks later, after I'd been hospitalized, for a week, for my first abscess Injeel would shave both his and my heads and we'd take a boat load of selfies.
|Injeel and Toni after Injeel shaved my head|
As for the lone patron left in Lisa's shop while I endured transformation, turns out she's an Oncology Nurse. She gave me some of the most valuable advice. 1) You're going to need a lot of hugs (she gave me one) 2) Assemble your core team (check) 3) the most important piece of advice, ask for what you need. If the person you are asking hesitates or says no, don't take it personally just move on to the next yes and repeat that over and over again. Number 3 has served me well to get through this journey and apply to life in general.
|That man loving me, always!|
So what did I learn? Hair grows back. I learned to value my higher self in spite of material abundance. And I learned, especially on those days when I don't like myself, to stand in the mirror until I do, over and over again.
|Toni Staton Harris Today, Empowered|