Meet Mirasol – A New Line of Head Wraps Created From My Own Breast Cancer Experience
Quitting my day job was scary, but it helped me embrace freedom over fear. It also provided the chance to work on my mental and physical health. I was happy to do things that only gave me pure joy in life. During this time, I started reflecting more on what was really important. Sadly, a lot of my reflections were focused on the gaps in the healthcare system and in the resources available for young women post-cancer. I also started to think about the small things that would improve the overall well-being and mood of women who were going through treatment.
Having gone through this life-changing diagnosis myself, I knew I wanted to give back. I was already part of the Rethink community and knew I was helping others by sharing my experiences. But I wanted to go further and do more. I was already very open about my journey on social media. I knew that giving back made my heart so full and I wanted to continue to make an impact in the community, continuously. So, I thought about the specific things I found difficult during treatment that bothered me. I started drawing the dots and connecting them to figure out my life’s new purpose.
Rewind back to my treatment days, when I was preparing to lose my hair from chemo I looked for anything (caps, beanies, wraps, wigs, scarves) that I could find. I wanted to be prepared for the baldness that was coming my way. Winter was coming and I did not just want to rock a toque. I mean, toques are cute and all when you have long hair peeking out, but they just didn’t make me feel feminine enough. Plus, indoors I knew I would be sweating underneath since the fabric is usually thick.
I was a young woman of colour and I wanted something that looked dope and didn’t make me look sick. Even though I was sick, I didn’t want to look it, too. They always say, if you look good you’ll feel good, right?. And if I found something that was remotely what I wanted style-wise (as in not Amish-inspired or fit for a senior citizen), it was way too expensive. So, I resorted to cheaper wraps that were either too thick in texture or neck scarves that were slightly too small for my head. I liked the idea of pashminas, but they were a bit too long, thick and hiding the tassels was too annoying.
That’s when I discovered the power of a bold head wrap. I wanted something fun, expressive to my personality, and loud (because the rest of me couldn’t be.) When you lose your hair (in my case 2.5 feet’ worth) it really forces you to find other ways to be feminine. I wore bigger earrings, drew on my eyebrows (because those were also gone as well) and played with cute colours and prints on head wraps. It gave me a purpose for going to appointments and getting together for low-key hangs with friends. It made me feel better about my shitty situation and the awful side effects of chemo. I wasn’t about to throw my looks away and give up on myself because being bald was temporary. I knew I was going to get through treatment.
As a woman who was trying to lift herself up from within, instead of relying on others to do it for me, I was able to reinvent myself and boost my confidence in owning my cancer through wearing head wraps that expressed my individual style. Eventually, I even got to the point where I owned the bald baddie look so hard and wholeheartedly.
While my girlfriends and I were having conversations (before I was diagnosed and throughout treatment) about the meaning behind the word ‘season’, we talked about there being a season for everything that takes place in your life. We spoke about seeing the subtle signs from the universe about when it would be your turn. If it isn’t meant to be right now, then it just isn’t your season yet.
That’s when I decided to give that same gift of self-expression, fun, confidence and style that I did to myself to conquer my cancer, to other women currently faced with treatment. I would create a new line of brightly-coloured and vibrantly-printed head wraps to help lift others who were facing an incredibly dark time like I was.
They say sunflowers stand tall on the darkest days, bending themselves to face towards the sunlight. When I connected all those dots, Mirasol, which means Sunflower in Tagalog, was born. I want Mirasol to be YOUR SUNFLOWER SEASON. – Alanna Gatchalian