Teachings Learned From Wearing My Heads…


Teachings Learned From Wearing My Headscarf

May 23, 2018 | by Gabrielle Fecteau

I leaped today! I wore my headscarf for the first time in quite some time. I had not worn a headscarf since my hair started growing back after my chemotherapy treatments at the beginning of 2016. That occurred more than two years ago.


It is still a mystery why it has bothered me so much to wear my headscarves since I started growing my hair after chemotherapy treatments. I repeatedly expressed that I felt I had lost the right to wear such a symbol used by many cancer thrivers to reclaim a sense of beauty and power for themselves. I believe it was also an attempt on my part to avoid the judgment of others and of myself.


It was probably for that reason that even after having styled my scarf, I struggled to leave the apartment today. I was going for coffee with a friend. It was exciting. We were even trying a new coffee shop. But what if people stare? What if people think I am being disrespectful? Worse yet, what if I am being disrespectful?


It took me some time to finally leave for the coffee date I had set with a friend. But, once I was outside of my apartment, I felt better. I took a deep breath of fresh air. I still felt quite self-conscious but the outing proved safe so far, fun even.


I was really early at the coffee shop which gave me ample time to think about what I had been able to do. I pondered the teachings learned from wearing my headscarf post-treatment. Three thoughts came rushing…


First, being in my happy place gives me a perfect opportunity to wear my headscarves. The two-year gap between the last time I wore my headscarf and today was necessary. I had realized that I just wasn’t ready to wear my scarf in the survivorship phase of my cancer experience. That is, until now. Waiting until I was ready allowed me the opportunity to have a positive experience. It has allowed me to not sour my experience my previous experience with my headscarves.


Second, my headscarf has meaning for me, I must remember that. Beyond the fact that I find my headscarves stylish, I remembered all the happy feelings that I associate with wearing scarves. My headscarves do not represent the hospital or the chemotherapy or other hard moments in my cancer experience. Rather, I associated wearing my scarf with living life as a cancer thriver in treatment. I find courage, creativity and love for myself when I wear my headscarves. It has therefore proved powerful.  


Lastly, this symbol, my headscarf, represents part of my cancer experience. In all honesty, my scarf empowers me to own up to my cancer experience. When I put on my scarf, beyond feeling beautiful, acceptance overcomes me. I am reminded of feelings which I have suppressed for some time now. As they resurface, I accept them and let them be.


Today, I felt beautiful wearing my headscarf. It has allowed me to reconcile with a part of my experience that I was missing so very much. Nevertheless, waiting until now was a must. It has allowed me to follow up my experience with this piece. I encourage any of you wanting to bring back into your life the parts of difficult experiences that you put aside but that you long for.


Many smiles,


Soar Above Cancer Founder & Blogger

Gabrielle Fecteau

Soar Above Cancer

I am a young adult cancer thriver and have been for 2+ years in the various stages of cancer life. As I always say to cancer: "You gave me a reason." It is my message of positivity and undeniable strength of cancer survivors that I hope to share with you.