Costumes at Ren Fests are almost a must. You see everything from queens, kings and highlanders to wenches, fairies and stormtroopers. Everyone likes dressing up and I am no different. I loved dressing up and pretending to be the fairy princess when I was little. Even my brother used to dress in one of our mother’s old bridesmaids dresses and say he was the Pope. I always thought that costuming was pretending to be a different person for a little while. Two years ago I realized that costumes were more than about pretending.
In May of 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Primary Ovarian Large Diffused B-Cell Lymphoma. Sounds scary doesn’t it? Well it sorta was. This is a rare (0.5% of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas) and aggressive (Hello! Stage IV!) cancer that if not caught when it was I probably wouldn’t have lasted through the autumn of that year. On the plus side, it is a very treatable and survivable (90% survival rate) cancer. Surgery and six rounds of chemo and I’m cured. (I won’t be considered a survivor until after 5 years remission.) This was and still is a life changing experience that I’m still trying to digest.
Before starting chemo, I had to go through a “chemo class.” Basically someone sat down and talked about all the good and bad (mostly bad) things that would and could happen. At this time I was advised to go ahead and get my wig just in case my hair fell out. It’s more than just a vanity thing. Watching your hair fall out can have a bad psychological effect on patients. So I went to my best friend who is an instructor at a cosmetology school and we looked at wigs. I found the one that I would order if necessary. Well, being frugal and being the type of person I am I started thinking, “Why do I want a wig that I won’t wear again after my hair grows back in?” So I started looking online. This purple bob-cut wig called out to me. It was what I was looking for! This is who I am!
Everyone loved that wig, even my boss! I don’t wear it as much since my hair has grown out, but thinking about it and my time being a baldy is somewhat of a revelation about costumes: We don’t dress up to be different; we dress up to show who we are.