Today marks my birthday, well not really but sounds a lot nicer for this story.
My actual birthday is in a few weeks, August 16th 2019. I’m currently alone in the subway going home from work, it wasn’t a good day. I’m not a very nostalgic person but today I find myself thinking about previous birthdays. I don’t celebrate them any more, the idea of gathering people to celebrate my life always felt weird. I always felt that there wasn’t much there to be happy for.
I don’t see myself as the materialistic kind. I treat objects, clothes, vehicles, anything the way they were intended to be used. I give them as little “care” as I can and here I am, thinking about the best gift I ever received. I remember very few gifts I’ve received on my birthdays. I’ve enjoyed many at the time but most meant nothing in the long run. They are objects gathering dust by now or worst, pilling up in the dum.
Pictured above, you can see me with a duck-like shower cap that I received on my birthday in 2017. For you it means nothing, for me is love, humour, stupidity, provocation, tears of fear and joy. I remember clearly opening it, my sister offered it to me — I love her.
So, what makes a stupid shower cap special? Let me give you some proper context.
2017 was a rough year, I was sick the whole time and I’ve battled to understand what was wrong with my health & body. I spent more time at hospitals that year than my whole life before. I’ve done tons of medical exams and finally was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, stage 3B. The final diagnose came pretty close to my birthday, this would also be a nice gift 😂.
My sister and I are very close, we are also pretty bad with schedules. Add on top of that living in different countries and you get a delayed birthday gift. I received my shower cap September 1st, 2017 — sixteen days after my birthday. There wouldn’t be a better day for it to be delivered.
That day was my first chemotherapy treatment. I was very scared and felt relieved to go back home after almost 7h at the hospital, I had a package waiting for me. If you know me, you probably don’t, but people identify my humour as dark. That package was a provocation in its purest form, its poking fear with a sharp stick and saying bring it on.
Opening the box was wonderful, it clicked in seconds, the irony, the timing, the boldness, holy shit! I ended up wishing I was the master behind offering this to someone. My fucking hair was going to fall off and my lovely sister offered me a shower cap to keep it dry — genius.
I’ve questioned her intent, and to be honest, I’m still not sure if was intentional or not — I hope so. For me it felt like holding my father’s hand in the dark when I was a kid. You will fear different things in life, fear will grow and become your personal battle. Share it with loved ones, they will be there for you to help you win the war. The shower cap was a tailored reminder of that.
To my sister, I can only take my cap off — no pun intended.