Taking Off The Hair Suit

Have you ever heard of “wearing the hair suit”?  Supposedly, a long-long-long time ago wearing a suit made of hair was a form of punishment because it was so itchy & uncomfortable.  That’s what I remember about the phrase but I can’t find reference to it anywhere.

In some ways, I feel like I have been wearing one for years.  I hesitate to write this because I will surely hurt someone’s feelings or make them cry by doing so.  But, I’ve decided that nothing I do is going to make other people happy and either they will cry or not and I’m worn out with walking on eggshells.  I have to accept that I can not make their world perfect and I can no longer be responsible for trying.

For someone like me who worries about everything and analyzes everything to the “nth” degree…that’s not an easy thing to do.

I no longer attend certain get-together’s because of feeling uncomfortable.  I don’t need the drama in my life.

When I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, I only told Don.  We didn’t tell anyone for weeks….not even our son.  We talked to Chris after a few weeks.  Then I finally decided to tell my Mother and sisters and I called some of Don’s family to tell them.  I told a few friends.  This was my business and I wanted to be in charge of who was told, what they were told, and when they were told.  I did not tell everyone in the family or all my friends.  This was my decision to make.  I’m confused as to why this was wrong.  No one had the right to this information except those who I chose to tell.  This was about me and what was right for me at the time.  Sometimes, things are not about someone else.

I told Don that I only wanted him and our son Chris to be with me the morning of surgery.  I asked the ones I had told to please let us do this together and they could come visit later….even that day would be ok….but after surgery please.

Don & Chris are the two most important people in my life and they are the ones who love me without reservation and love me for who I am….not for who they think I should be.  It was important to me that we do this thing together as our little family unit and most people respected my wish and understood.  I am not going to apologize to anyone  about this.  As they say down here “Ain’t happenin’.

If you’re thinking…man, Sheryl is really on a rant today….I’m really not.  I’m very calm but I’ve decided it’s time to move on.  So….bear with me while I shed myself of this.  I really, really need this catharsis.

I’m through with walking on eggshells lest I hurt feelings unintentionally.  (I’m not a mean person….really.  And if I hurt feelings, it is absolutely accidental).

I no longer care if someone else takes offense at every thing I do or say.   I can’t make other people happy.  They are the only one in charge of their personal happiness.

I have given myself permission to take the hair suit off and to throw it away.  It’s past time.

Love ya!

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43 Comments

  1. Jo Anne Field

     /  June 1, 2011

    Amen!!!!

    Reply
  2. Bonnie S Taylor

     /  June 1, 2011

    Good for you. I don’t ever comment on blogs I just enjoy reading them but this touched me and I wanted to tell you what an inspiration you.

    God Bless you. You are in my prayers

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 1, 2011

      Thanks for the nice note Bonnie. Keep praying!

      Reply
  3. Good for you. Now that you’ve thrown that hair suit off… sit up straight, push your shoulders back, breathe in deeply… and smile, smile, smile!

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 1, 2011

      Thanks Angie. I *am* smiling. Today and every day are a gift from God. I am so grateful.

      Reply
  4. billiemick

     /  June 1, 2011

    So that’s what I’ve been wearing………..grin.

    You sound as if you live in my family. It doesn’t matter which way you go, there are some people you can’t please and they only see you in one light. My DH has instructions the next time I have to go to the hospital not to tell anyone….maybe my kids if their life is in a calm place.

    You go girl! Shake off the hair suit!

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 1, 2011

      They’re uncomfortable aren’t they? 🙂 Life is good and I can only hope others will choose to see rainbows in theirs.

      Reply
      • billiemick

         /  June 2, 2011

        Hey! I’m looking for my Rainbow. It will be here any minute…LOL. I must tell you that your post was very timely for me and helped me get out of my suit as well.

        Have a rainbow day.

  5. pam duxbury

     /  June 1, 2011

    You go girl if you can not make yourself happy or at least content no one can. I understand completely. Keep doing what you have to do to get through. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 1, 2011

      Thanks Pam. I have felt the prayers through all of this. The really strange thing is that I have never really cried about it. I just had this peace that everything would be ok.

      Reply
  6. Linda

     /  June 1, 2011

    Good for you, Sheryl! Hairsuits do no good for anyone. The world would be a much better place if everyone would follow your lead…….and allow us all to make our own choices freely and without fear of criticism.

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      Thanks Linda. Life is too sweet to get caught up in garbage. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Been there. Done that. Don’t let it surprise you if you have to do this several times over. Change is difficult. When you change, it forces others to change too. Most of the time they don’t like it, and they will resist mightily. Stay firm in your resolve. It will get easier with each passing day. It sounds as if you’ve used this health crisis to your best advantage. Kudos to you.

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      I’m not someone who adapts to change very well so I really understand how hard it is. I just know that for me, I have to move on from this and let the chips fall where they may.

      Reply
  8. What a healthy, healthy mental state, Sheryl. No apologies needed. I did not cry as I read your note, I smiled. Several years back in my life my DH and I had a very large ‘bump’ in our marriage. We went to couple counseling, which helped, but I also went for counseling just for me. I had a lot of growing up to do. I stunned DH one evening by coming home from counseling and announcing, “I don’t NEED you!” It took a lot of conversation and a bit of time for him to finally ‘get it’! But when he did, he agreed- he didn’t need me either. As in, I am the only one that can be in charge of my feelings and emotions. I can’t make someone else responsible for making me happy. I am not able to ‘make’ someone else happy. That’s between me and God, and them and God. What a relief! :?} You are doing well, Lady! Proud of you!

    Reply
  9. Oh, and I think the phrase is hair shirt. A religious sect felt the way to Heaven was to suffer as Jesus did, so would flog themselves bloody, wear hair shirts, etc. Too gross!

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      You’re right. I looked it up. I’m not into blood & guts. Lol. That’s why I never worked in surgery or ER.

      Reply
  10. Cathy

     /  June 1, 2011

    I think with a difficult diagnosis one feels a lack of control in her sphere of life. Letting certain people know keeps those who you know will be there for you regardless, from the negative, unthinking or non-supportive. It might be just a small control issue, but it allows you to determine who will be closest with you at at a difficult time.Certainly those will be the most positive people who can help you smile through the hard times. This is a time for others to walk on eggshells around you, not the other way around. Be well and mend, creative spirit!

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      I’ve always been so independent and accustomed to being the caregiver instead of the patient so this was hard for me. It’s all coming together now and I’m looking forward to every day spent with friends and family. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Robin Moody

     /  June 1, 2011

    You go girl!
    Robin in TX

    Reply
  12. I totally agree with everything you said. What you do is nothing to do with anyone but you and your husband and son Do what you want with whom you choose.
    Nobody knows how you feel but you. From someone who does know because they have been their, and still wonders at their survival. Chin up, think positive and the very best of luck to you and your’s. If you believe, God be with you. My thoughts are with you all

    Love Sue

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      Thanks for writing Sue. It’s nice to hear from other cancer survivors.

      Reply
  13. Katherine Hawkes

     /  June 2, 2011

    Boy, how I can relate to your post and perfectly support everything you’ve said. There are few things we can control, other people’s feelings is not one of them. We have to own what we do and say. I try to always be kind, courteous and forgiving but I have the right to live my life as I choose and answer to God alone for my decisions. Bravo to you for taking a stand!!

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      You’ve got a great attitude Katherine. I’ve always told people that each of us always needs to strive to be the “better person” in a time of conflict. I’ve shed several friendships in the last few years that turned out to not be good for me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still care about those people and I will never be rude or mean to them….we just won’t be “friends” any longer. Sometimes, cleaning the slate is good. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

      Reply
  14. Edwina Finet

     /  June 2, 2011

    Dear Sheryl,
    Since I’m clearly not one of those whose feelings might be hurt, I’ll just say that your comments clarified some of my personal dilemmas. So thanks for being so frank and forthright. And I hope it will be received in the spirit in which you wrote it. Good Luck. Edwina

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      Thanks Edwina. I’m glad my post was helpful.

      Reply
  15. Joyce

     /  June 2, 2011

    God bless you, give you strength and good health. You are appreciated.

    Reply
  16. Marcia

     /  June 2, 2011

    What an inspiration you are, whether you know it or not. You are fighting one hell of a battle, and from the sound of this post you are handling it with grace, fortitude and determination. Bravo to a very brave lady. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you face this difficult time, and may God grant you the time to spend with whomever you choose and ignore the rest. I am betting on you dear lady. HUGS XXX

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      Thanks Joyce and Marcia.

      Marcia, your comment means a lot to me.

      Reply
  17. rhona hodgson

     /  June 2, 2011

    Good for u. I’ve been through breast cancer and my husband is now going through prostate cancer. The last thing we all need going through something like this is to worry about other peoples feelings. Got ur 2nd post and i’m really happy it is all good news. Good luck for the future. Rhona in Australia

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      Thanks Rhona. Congrats on coming through your cancer and best wishes for your DH. Prayers for both of you.

      Reply
  18. Marty A

     /  June 2, 2011

    Sheryl, I feel the same way. I did this when I had my car accident, that I’m going to hurt from now on with. That is why I’m not to fast on doing my quilting becuase I swell every day no matter what I do. Some days I hurt more than others. I don’t let many people know what kind of medicine my pain management doctor has me on. I really don’t think that is everybody’s business. I felt releived when I told people the same thing you just did. You will feel great and truly find out who your friends really are and aren’t.

    Reply
    • Quilting Tizzy

       /  June 2, 2011

      Oh, Marty….I’m so sorry you’re having to live with pain. Use your pain medication as you need it and according to your doc’s instructions and it’s no one else’s business.

      Reply
  19. faye

     /  June 2, 2011

    Well done, I think it is a lot healthier to take care of ourselves first especially in these circumstances. Nothing you did was done to be hurtful. People need to ” get over it “. I am so pleased for you at the results of your surgery.
    Hugs

    Reply
  20. Danielle

     /  June 2, 2011

    That truly sounds wonderful! Good for you!

    Reply
  21. I agree, besides the more you try to accommodate those people the more they misconstrue

    Reply
  22. Barb in MI/FL

     /  June 3, 2011

    Way to go, Sheryl! Sending a gentle hug.

    Reply
  23. Jackie

     /  June 3, 2011

    I completely understand where you are coming from as I’m going through a very similar thing only it’s my Mom and she only wants my Dad and I know to know her diagnosis at this time. It’s stressful for me at times as I’m sure my brothers will be upset when told but my priority is to support my Mom and Dad at this time and respect her wishes.

    Reply
  24. Anita

     /  June 6, 2011

    You go girl! & continue to take care of yourself. big hugs

    Reply
  25. patchkat

     /  June 9, 2011

    can we hear a loud AMEN here???? We should never have to feel guilty over our personal decisions…and we owe no one but God an explaination for why we did things. I’m proud of you girl and love ya for the Sister I wished I’d had.

    Reply

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