How to Interact With a Bald Person

August 18, 2016

Trip (Katherine) Griffith is a participant of Writing the Journey, an online writing workshop for women affected by breast cancer led by experienced facilitator, author, poetry therapist and breast cancer survivor, Alysa Cummings.The poem below was written for the workshop. Read the first poem we published by Trip, "Normal Has No Place".

Trip Griffith Photo 2_v2.jpg

Meet my gaze, look me in the eye
No lashes makes me blink and cry
But my eyes are still windows to my soul
I’m still me, still here inside this altered body, peering out at you
No lashes to hide behind, no raised eyebrows to ask,
Can you see me? Do you want to?

Don’t look down, don’t turn away
I don’t need your pity
Your gloomy cancer death stories
I’d appreciate a smile, a nod
A warm hello, some normalcy
Why can’t you meet my eyes with your own?
Why can’t you sense the compassion I feel for you?

If I make you sad, remind you of someone dead and gone
Please don’t tell me. It is not helpful.
I am still a promise, still a possibility, still standing
If you really saw me I think we might share a real moment.
A look of understanding only fellow travelers on this road possess
You would see the funny reactions to my hairless face

Those who call me sir before they see my pink sneakers
The back pedaling, the tap dance, the stammers
The shock in their eyes when they realize their mistake
My wish is for our eyes meeting, truly seeing each other
I’d rather share our tears and our laughter.


Trip (Katie) Griffith is a stay-at-home mom to three teenagers and enjoys writing, painting, gardening, kayaking and just being outside. She was diagnosed with stage IIB ER/PR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer in 2013. After surgery, chemo and radiation, she is currently dancing with N.E.D. (no evidence of disease). Her online connections to other people with breast cancer, including those through the LBBC writing course, Writing the Journey, have been an essential part of her support system since the day she heard the words “you have breast cancer.” 

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