Today I had a biometrics appointment at the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services as part of the naturalization process. That means fingerprinting and photo, again. When I got to the USCIS office I pointed out that I’d just been there in March to get the very same for my green card renewal, and was told “Oh, that’s a completely different department!” (Same place, same few people, same equipment, I swear it was in fact the very same machine!)
Then the (very nice) technician asked me to take off my scarf.
I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it coming.
I asked to keep it but no, no head coverings of any sort on USCIS photos. And I started crying.
I couldn’t stop, I just kept weeping through the entire process. They had a hell of a time with my fingerprints too, because the skin of my hands has peeled off entirely and the new skin is very smooth. (The skin of my soles peeled too, by the way. All of it.) And all throughout, I’m bald and tearing up.
The personnel was very nice (they must be contractors? When the agency was INS, the personnel was awful.) It’s not their fault, there are the requirements, plain in black and white. I was embarrassed I’d made them uncomfortable. And I don’t know why I wasn’t braced for this. Maybe because I’m getting weaker through the chemotherapy process; this time, I was very tired all throughout, even now when I am at top recovery. Low red blood cell and platelet counts, you see.
Since I walked out of there I have been feeling embarrassed, ashamed on the street and at the store when we stopped on the way back for some grocery. I felt I should be hiding.
I really hadn’t seen this coming.