22 September, 2015, Toronto. I bought a hat. It was only $4. I finally felt okay with it.
I’ve always loved hats. I’ve had top hats, cowboy hats, baseball caps, straw hats, in fact I recall as a toddler running around the front yard wearing nothing but a hat and a smile.
It’s not an amazing hat, it’s a bit unkempt, like me, it’s made in China, made of paper.
“What happens if it rains?”
“It will melt”, she quickly shot back, then flashed a little smile.
I looked out at the dark clouds gathering.
“I guess I’ll be back tomorrow.”
Wearing a hat is an expression of my rediscovered lightness of being. Finally, there’s no one to make fun of me, or put me down except myself. There are some strangely symbolic turning points in one’s life. That I let myself do this crazy act symbolizes a renewed confidence, a sense of frivolity. I’d been making headway on the job front, earning money, enough to pay rent and to treat my boys to something.
After 15 months of fighting the urge to treat myself, I finally felt I deserved it. Wearing a hat just felt too fun for my heavy heart during the dark days. I wouldn’t allow myself to go to a movie or enjoy myself in other ways. Daily life was a combination of rehab meetings, long walks, long hours at the public library, or the university library, as part of my goal of reading myself back to mental and physical health.
I had denied myself that one simple pleasure for years while with Kraljevo Girl, but finally, no one to make fun of me, put me down except myself, tell me what I should think and do, I was free to discover my lost self. Being exiled to London was a double-edged sword. The upside was that she could not make me feel worthless. It was a chance to get to know myself again, to discover the good side of myself, to heal. I had been defined by her bullying ways for decades. In the process, I’d stopped thinking, stopped expressing how I felt, stopped expressing my innermost feelings and fears.
I’ve bought more hats since then, and now wear one daily.