The Humility of Ego

The HeadWhat is beauty?  I found myself asking this question over the weekend.  Is it being a size zero?  Is it being polished to the point that you appear untouchable in your perfection?  Is it, in fact, even visible?  Perhaps beauty is a vibration, a radiance, an acceptance and celebration of this marvelous world we inhabit.

All of us at one time or another have sat in absolute awe of a sunset, a storm or a super moon hanging in the night sky. And we will get up at 2:00 AM to watch meteor showers dance across an August sky.

There is a magic to these visual treats that we never seem to question.  We simply stand in awe and appreciation for the majesty that unfolds before us.

Yet when we look in the mirror seldom are we in awe of the visage that gazes back at us.  In fact, typically we are far too critical of self.  It stands to reason, however, as we’ve been spoon fed from birth what the ideal woman or man should look like.  That ideal has continually shifted and changed.  Think of some of the artistic masterpieces such as Boticelli’s ‘Venus’ and Rembrandt’s ‘Bathsheba’.  The women depicted in the paintings are soft, lush and full bodied.

That was, for a very long time I believe, the epitome of female beauty.  Yet as we entered the 20th century and the role we played in this world began to evolve certain images were attached to each metamorphosis.  And here we are now being told that beauty is this vision of an emaciated woman with no fat on her, boobs the size of a beach ball and botox injections to quell any expressions that may cause the skin to crease.

We are now being told that age is a disease and surgery can ‘fix’ this.  It has unfortunately become a multi-billion dollar industry.  Our obsessive quest to look like the airbrushed model on a magazine cover has that, we are told, is what true beauty is.

I don’t buy it.

Yesterday I went for a swim in the morning.  I got in somewhere between 40-50 laps.  Yes, my waistline has expanded over the past few months, but that’s okay.  I’ll get back into shape soon enough.  It was also my first time at being in a public place without any hair on my head.  I had some little kids stare at me.  I smiled at them and they smiled back. It is an odd thing to see a woman with no hair, yet we see men with shaved heads all the time.

I’d had requests to post a photo of myself without hair and yesterday I obliged and put the same image that is above on my Facebook page.  I received accolades from friends for my ‘bravery’.

I thought about this.  Is this really bravery?  I simply put a picture of myself up as I currently look.  It is part of the collateral damage that comes with chemotherapy.  I don’t feel as though I’ve done something that warrants such praise and yet, in some manner I have displayed my vulnerability and I truly appreciate the warmth of my friends’ comments.

Whether someone is horrified by my appearance, saddened or finds it comical…that’s cool.

Personally I’ve taken one step closer to finding my enoughness.  Oh, I want my hair to grow back.  Make no mistake.  I don’t know that getting rid of ego in its entirety is advisable or for that matter, doable.  What I am learning through this process is how I value myself.  Having a bald head at the moment does not define who I am nor does carrying excess weight.

I have been told that my response to chemotherapy has been really quite remarkable in that I have had minimal side effects. It has not been nearly as bad as I anticipated.  Why this is I can’t say but I have accepted the need and reconciled this with every part of my being.

On Saturday I was one of the course marshal’s for the inaugural Vancouver Eastside 10KM.  Olympian Dylan Wykes won the race handily with a time of 29:42.  I was just past the 4KM mark when he came through and I don’t believe he’d broken a sweat at that point.  I marveled at the beauty of his strides and the commitment he has made to this sport.

I cheered on and high-fived many runners.  I thanked them for coming out in support of the programs that exist and need assistance in what has unfortunately become known as the poorest area in North America.  And I was thanked in turn for being there.  Some were concerned that it would be dangerous to be in that neighborhood.  I have never felt a threat in this neighborhood.  Yes, you have a lot of people with serious issues such as mental health, addictions and typically both.

As we walked back along the course to be picked up by our bus we passed several soup kitchens.  Isabella and I both greeted everyone warmly.  We were asked about the race and we told them.  They were genuinely moved that a race had been put together to raise awareness and funds for their area.

I hope it will become an annual event.  I know I want to run it next year.

If it is brave to show your face to the world, to show your true self then so be it.  This experience has been humbling and my ego has certainly been grounded and centered as a result.  Indeed, the lessons being offered up through this experience are welcomed and embraced.

Time to get back to the grind.  Enjoy your day everyone.



7 thoughts on “The Humility of Ego

      • Thanks to you Nancy, and as I wrote on Twiiter and LinkedIn, when I shared your blog, I like most this type of blogs that come from the soul, but unfortunately there are very few of them ….


      • I love writing and hope that I can devote my life to it at some point…not that I’m not already…but actually be able to have it sustain me and do it fulltime. I really appreciate your comments and thank you for joining my journey. I know there are people who manage to have 20,000 hits per month and who blog for business. I don’t know how to do that and this was never my motivation when I began this.

        Always I endevour to become better at this craft.




      • Nancy, I understand you completely, because I’m here fort the same reason. I ‘m looking for humans, not money, although I’m fighting for the survival of my family, at my country, but
        “in every darkness, you can find a star, and in every sadness – glimmer of happines” (in my translation about Yin&Yang by Feng Shui)…


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