Fitting In or Standing Out

I now not acknowledged myself within the mirror. I’m a 52-year-old lady, and I’m utterly bald. Cancer remedy does that. I needed to learn to use scarves and hats when going out in public, in hopes of becoming in and never eliciting uncomfortable stares. On the day of my first outpatient chemo remedy, I bear in mind considering, “What does one wear to a chemo appointment?” Assuming sooner or later within the day I might be getting sick on myself, I went for a darkish T-shirt. Why trouble with make-up or earrings? The final thing I wished was for anybody to note me.

As I entered the ready room, I actually couldn’t inform if the others there have been sufferers or caregivers, however I used to be positive everybody may inform which one I used to be. I ought to have gone for a wig as a substitute of scarves! Just as I used to be known as again to the blood lab, a girl most likely 20 years youthful than I used to be popping out. She was rocking an off-the-shoulder summer time outfit proper out of Vogue with completely matching heeled sandals and purse, earrings, necklace, and bracelets. Her eyes have been radiant with simply sufficient make-up to make them noticeable, and he or she walked with an air of complete confidence. She was stunningly lovely and utterly bald. I used to be shocked. Here was one other lady in my scenario, who not solely didn’t fear about becoming in however clearly sought to face out! She gave me a reassuring smile as she held the door for me to go in. Her magnificence and confidence no matter having no hair made such an impression on me I discovered myself nonetheless pondering it in my prayer that night time. My want to slot in relatively than stand out turned fodder for some private discernment.

St. Ignatius, Humble and Countercultural

There have been instances St. Ignatius went to nice lengths to slot in. He gave up his fancy garments and way of life to slot in with the poor. Even after he had written the preliminary drafts of the Spiritual Exercises based mostly on his personal conversion expertise, he went again to high school to satisfy the Church’s necessities for preaching. He initially refused the decision of the unique companions to be the chief of their group. Even because the founder and chief of the Jesuits, he lived merely, dressed modestly, and deferred to the expectations of the pope. Ignatius was all about humility earlier than God, his companions, and people he served.

And but Ignatius was one of the crucial countercultural individuals of his day. He stood out a lot in battle that the military that defeated him at Pamplona honored him. Under his management, the Society of Jesus was distinctive amongst non secular orders, embedding themselves within the every day lifetime of the town relatively than withdrawing to a monastery, prioritizing their works of service, and, after all, discovering God in locations past the church constructing. He challenged the expectations of his day proper to the sting of being tolerated. In reality, he confronted the Inquisition, and plenty of thought him a heretic, although he was cleared of all fees. In some ways, Ignatius was a insurgent who didn’t fear about becoming in in any respect.

For Ignatius, the underside line for any discernment was the First Principle and Foundation: select solely that which is extra conducive for the top for which we have been created, that’s, to reward, reverence, and serve God. For me, that interprets into being trustworthy about my motivations and recognizing when I’m appearing out of my fears or ego relatively than out of belief in my distinctive presents, capacities, and belovedness. It means there can be instances once I want to slot in, step again in humility, and belief the presents of others to indicate the best way ahead. It additionally means there can be instances I would like to face out, problem unhealthy cultural norms and my very own ego and fears, and face actuality absolutely, whatever the value.

If I Stand Out

I discerned that I’ve by no means been known as to make a trend assertion the best way that fellow affected person may. But in standing out and never shying away from her baldness, she confirmed me that I needn’t imagine my lack of hair has modified my id. I could not look the identical within the mirror, however my capability to reward, reverence, and serve God in different methods has not modified. I stay a spouse, mom, pal, author, scholar, advocate for the marginalized, protector of the surroundings, and caregiver of my physique and soul.

Now properly into my chemo remedies, I are inclined to sport a baseball cap most days to guard my head from sunburn. I’ll take a couple of minutes to placed on some make-up and earrings, however I don’t assume a lot about getting uncomfortable stares. When I do get them, I simply smile again reassuringly like that stunning lady did to me, understanding I nonetheless match on this Ignatian world simply fantastic. If I stand out for something, let or not it’s for that!

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels.

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