Saturday, September 15, 2012

Armande's Voice

When I was younger and in college, I had a favorite pink angora sweater.  I loved this sweater.   It was the color of a ballerinas leotard and oh so soft.  I used to love to wear it with my ivory tweed pants and beige boots and belt.  A high school friend was in one of my afternoon classes and when I walked in and took my seat next to him he laughed and shaking his head said, "I knew it".  When I questioned him, Rob said every guy on campus has been talking about the girl in the pink sweater.  I liked to be looked at then. 

It's a different story now.  Before the chemo, you could not tell that I was sick.  But chemo, having made me lose my hair, has changed that.  I do not go out without a scarf or a head cover.  Now, as people stare, it is not a good feeling.  Being a mother of two girls who always asked a hundred different questions a day when they were little, I can understand when I walk past a child and hear her ask her mother, "what is on that ladies head?", or "it doesn't look like that lady has any hair".  But, I do not understand the unpleasant stares that I have received from others.  Some stares are obviously those of pity.  But, I do not want pity.  I want courtesy.  We teach our children not to stare, why do we, as adults, not listen to those same words.

 "Don't you dare pity me", is exclaimed by Judy Dench as she plays Armande in one of my favorite movies, Chocolat.  She spits it out angrily to Vianne when Vianne shows her pity when it is discovered she has diabetes.  Admittedly, I myself have wanted to say this to a few gawkers who have stopped, stared or given me a look of pity as I have passed them.  I   wanted to say something allot more graphic to one woman as I walked in to my local Trader Joe's the other day who not only stopped and stared but had a look of what I can only describe as disgust on her face.

I have not looked at this chapter in my life with pity, despair or sadness.  I have not had a pity party or really ever broke down and cried.  I do not have time for it.  I am fighting for my life and the life of my family.  I am a fighter.  I am a survivor.  I have a badge of courage that I wear proudly as it has shown me the strength I didn't know I had.  So, as Armande said, don't pity me.


Anonymous said...

You are one beautiful lady and don't let anyone who seems to be looking at you make you feel any different, that should be the least of it. As always, in our thoughs and prayers. G

Ali said...

Do you want me to track down the woman in Trader Joe's like I did in Target?

Andrea Lamacki said...

Ali, you are my knight in shining armour!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing! The strength you show in the face of this journey you are on is awe inspiring. Pity you? Never!

Anonymous said...

Always's THEIR problem, not yours. You are beautiful, whether you have hair or not!! People who count know that.