Helmet-Toque Negotiations and the Search for (the Last Remaining Shreds of) Dignity

My husband and I have an ongoing narrative/discussion/negotiation/argument regarding how often I should wear my helmet-toque, the headgear about which I’m sure I’ve written in a past post (that I won’t bother digging up for laziness reasons). His, probably correct, opinion: I should don it almost all the time. My fuelled-by-a-desire-to-preserve-the-last-shreds-of-dignity-in-a-life-currently-coloured-by-loss-of-control one: helmet-toque as protective measure is completely unnecessary.

This, despite having banged my noggin decently hard on several occasions over the last few weeks. This, despite being the owner of both a helmet that you could easily mistake for a simple toque if you didn’t look too closely and a head that, believe it or not, I’d like to do my best to safeguard.

Stubbornness isn’t my best quality.

The thing is, I strongly dislike my helmet-toque. I feel like I should be able to embrace it and what it does for me, like I should be able to reframe its role in my life in the same way I have other epilepsy-related reminders of my challenges: while it’s true that it represents “disability,” it also represents “less risk of a brain injury.” However, I’ve done my best, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Indeed, every time I (very reluctantly) put it on, an unmistakable sense of misplaced resentment washes over me.

But I realize how counterproductive this is, and I’m working on it. Besides, the toque (or “toboggan,” as my Southern husband would have called it at some point in his past) adds a certain something to my regular around-the-house outfit of sweatpants and a novelty t-shirt. Maybe what’s stood between me and fashion glory all these years was this cross between a beanie and a hard hat.

Take note: the epitome of fashion is a novelty t-shirt, sweatpants, and a helmet-toque. You’re welcome.

In all seriousness, though, I think that it’s important to acknowledge that it isn’t easy to be in a position, health-wise, that the helmet-toque is a necessity—because that, really, is at the core of what’s bothering me, not the helmet itself—while also doing my best to get over myself and just wear the damn thing since, when it comes down to it, I need to prioritize minimizing the possibility of more concussions over my lingering discomfort. Some day I’ll embrace my headgear. For now, I’ll tolerate it, occasionally complaining but operating with the understanding that annoyance and a sweaty forehead are a small price to pay for my and my husband’s peace of mind.





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