IN YOUR SKIN

Sue Williamson

As a painter, writer, and creative, Sue Williamson is an unstoppable multi-hyphenate. Sue shares her personal journey on battling breast cancer and how her diagnosis empowered her to tap into her creative intuition and to live more intentionally.

Have you ever dealt with insecurity around a personal attribute? If so, what emotions or memories did this evoke?

So many over the years, but the obvious one right now must be my hair. I’ve had long blonde hair for most of my life and lost it last year during cancer treatment. Losing my eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair felt like a very tangible, visual representation of everything else cancer took from me. I felt vulnerable and put it on display because even with wigs, I couldn’t quite hide it. Strangers would stare at me with pity or come talk to me about cancer and that felt invasive because it was such a personal journey.

How did battling breast cancer provoke a shift in your perspective?

Realizing that it was about more than hair was a big shift for me. There’s a stigma in our society that anything having to do with appearance is “vain,” especially when it comes to women. But in reality, there’s nothing vain or trivial about taking initiative in how you confidently show up in the world. Once I realized that, I was finally able to process my feelings about my changing appearance and finally be at peace with it.

How has this attribute strengthened the person you are today?

Now, I am able to see my hair as a sign of resilience and a daily reminder that everything is truly temporary. Most days, I love it and I love playing with it. Am I obsessed with it and plan to keep it short forever? Not quite, because at the end of the day, it’s not something I chose or would’ve chosen for myself. On those days I just can’t shake it off, my secret weapon is my creativity. I stop looking in the mirror, turn off my zoom camera, and paint or draw. There are so many more worthwhile things to do in this life than be unkind to ourselves.

Is there anything else around your personal journey that has served as inspiration?

Looking back to cool chicks with short hair from the ‘90s always sparks my imagination and gets me excited to have short hair for a while. The internet can be a magical place, I definitely recommend seeking out images that represent you how you are now, not how you want to be or wish you could be.

What qualities empower you as a woman?

I’m a big believer in a woman’s intuition. I feel empowered knowing that anything I need I can find within myself.

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