Last night I was a red head

The thing about baldness is that you have a blank palette from which to begin to create new looks. I’ve never been much bothered with new looks – I wore straight brown hair parted down the middle forever – but now that I’ve been led here by chemo-induced baldness I’m quite enjoying it. I went to a friend’s place for dinner last night in a cloche hat and curly red hair and a big green vintage coat. I watched as a very close friend’s eyes skated over me without recognition. I was invisible; someone new; someone else. A fly on the wall; an occupier of liminal space. But then she did recognise me and everything jolted back to normal. We resumed our long-running discussions about art, illness and crochet.

Then I hobbled home in the dark. My left knee has been giving me hell. I think the chemo is eating away at my cartilage, or I have fluid retention, or something. And so I return to Dr Google, typing in search terms like “sore knee chemo” to see what others have to say on the subject. What they say is that chemo often causes sore knees. Besides the knee, I’m in a bit of a dip all round. Everything is an effort, today. I’m in slow motion. Next Wednesday, I’ll be having another CT scan to see what the three rounds of chemo have done to my tumours. I’m alternating between confidence and apprehension.

Last Tuesday, after a wild weekend with my relatives (enjoyable wildness involving two small boys, possum hunting and a dramatically crashing and splintering glass object in a shop that had to be paid for), I took my Waste to Art entry up to the Flannery Centre for the exhibition that opens tomorrow. As a work of art it’s lumpy and unresolved (aka ugly) but as a project it has been enormously satisfying. And through it, I’ve discovered pen and ink! The kind you have to keep dipping into an ink well. Oh fun! Oh beautiful scratchings! Here it is:

10 thoughts on “Last night I was a red head

  1. Deb

    My anxiety is rising as the greater the momentum toward the opening of your greater omentum… Auntie Joyce rang this morning. Becky is having the first of her surgeries in September. Hope next Wednesday reveals that the chemo has done a Joey on your tumours xx

  2. Helen Bergen

    momentum to your omentum is momentous.

    I’ve not seen your red hair but your pink hair was fantastic.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your cloche hat.

    Currently trying to get a Senate Inquiry report on TAFE done. Want to see you tho. Shall I touch base on Saturday and see how you’re travelling?

  3. Tracey

    I raise my hat and hair to your writing.
    It’s wonderful!
    Poor knee (heat pack any help?)

  4. Linda Fogg

    I love the way you write Tracy. You really are blessed with such an amazing talent. Keep up the good work and keep your optimism high.

  5. Julia Manning

    I’m with Steph on this one. Is it voyeuristic to want to see those “amorphous new personas”? I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for red heads. My first 2 boyfriends were readheads (back in the days when Australia was essentially Anglo-Saxon) and then I married one.
    Fingers crossed for Wednesday, Tracy

  6. karen woodhall

    Wow, Tracy… didn’t need an “Imagination door”, you are way creative enough already! Wonderful work! (ugly and unresolved??? nah, it’s perfect)

  7. Enid Woodhall

    Glad you make fun of your chemo.
    I admire you. Keep up the squawkin galah
    Thinking of you and wishing you well.
    Mum W

  8. Dawn Nusa

    Wow. Love it! I’m expecting you’ll conduct an ‘overture to omentum’ for the SSO next! Dawn xx

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