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Scarves and crying wolf about our illnesses


I’ve taken to wearing scarves on the back half of my head, wrapped around my neck.  Strangers have complimented me but I expect after a couple more times family and friends are going to get inquisitive.  Scarves and bold fashion aren’t too common in the great state of New Hampshire, and they’ll probably be worried that I joined some kind of New Age religion over the internet without telling them.

Now I’m one to prepare a defense beforehand and I hate to admit it, but I have considered crying wolf about my illness.  “It hurts my arms so much to blow dry my hair,” I could say helplessly.  Which is true.  It does hurt my arms to blow dry, and even shampoo my hair.  But that’s maybe 1/6 of the reason I’m covering my head and to claim illness as the sole cause would in fact be crying wolf.  See this article about “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” if you’re under 22 years old and therefore unfamiliar with this fable.  Kids these days.

Crying wolf about our illness is easy to do even unconsciously, and let’s all admit that we’ve done it at least once.  Housework, schoolwork, jobs, social events, and errands could be a few circumstances where we excuse ourselves by exaggerating, just a little, that our illness is the main reason we’re gonna cut and run.  Chronic illness so througohly permeates all aspects of our lives that it is almost always there lurking during decision-making time.  However, claiming it as the main reason when it isn’t makes you the little boy and your illness the wolf.  And we all know why that’s a bad thing – after a while people start to distrust you and then when you really need them to believe you – well, you get eaten by a wolf.

In addition to losing the trust of people, I also believe you can lose a little of your personality as well.  We’re still people with dislikes, laziness, and preferences.  Maybe you hate the fact that your in-laws only serve olives at their get togethers.  Or you need a day off from studying for the SATs.  Or you just really want to take a personal day to go shopping.  These were aspects of you before the illness, so speak the truth now, and help preserve the greater body of your personality.

So my non-wolf reasons for this phase of head scarves?

  1. I think scarves are pretty and I feel pretty in them.
  2. I like doing something different here in little NH.
  3. I have a peculiar little theory that I get to keep more of me the days I wear a head scarf.  Like my strengths are more safely contained inside, as opposed to evaporating away.  I suspect the psychological base of this theory is that when my head is uncovered I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking in reflective surfaces and/or worrying about how my hair looks, and wearing a scarf is training me to not look as often, which frees up time in my head to think about more creative pursuits as well as being more engaged with my interactions with people.
  4. It does hurt to blow dry my hair and the scarf helps to mitigate some of that.

Here’s me as well as a fashionable lady pictures found over at and, as well as the 3 new scarves I just splurged on at Old Navy where, at 40% off this week, each scarf was about $8.


5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I think you look great! And your point is well taken. I’ve been one to use my illness as my reason for not doing something when it was just part Lupus and part sheer laziness!



  2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, “I like scarves” as your reason for wearing them. No need to claim illness (it hurts my shoulders right now to do anything with my arms too). And you look great in that scarf! Wear away!

    I do understand your point though.



    • Aw thanks! My family’s not big on doing anything they consider splashy. They worry I’m trying to make a statement about something. Like me blogging, it just might kill them 🙂



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