6 reasons I shaved my head

Many years ago, I was watching Oprah in my school holidays (stay with me here people…) and she interviewed some ladies who shaved their heads.  I was inspired.  It helped that these women were really positive about what they’d done – even if the audience seemed a little shocked.  Then and there, I made a silent pledge that if I ever knew someone with cancer, who’d be losing their hair to chemotherapy, then I would ‘lose’ my hair in support.

My grandmother got cancer in 2001, but I don’t think I’d seen the Oprah episode (or remembered it then), so it wasn’t until mid last year, when a Facebook message alerted me that a friend had breast cancer at the age of 31.  Her and a close (male) friend had only started dating in the last year, so the cancer diagnosis really accelerated their life’s plan! There were eggs to be frozen, and an engagement and then a wedding to plan – all around chemo and radio therapy sessions!

I was a little worried about broaching the ‘I’ll shave too’ idea – I’m not sure if I thought they (the couple) would think it was a funny idea, or lame, or just… I’m not sure – stupid/dramatic/overthetop?  So I figured I’d start with the boyfriend – whom I’ve known longer.  When he didn’t scoff at my suggestion, I thought I’d let him relay it back to ‘cancer girl’ and we’d see what happened.  Well… she was delighted! I’d started something!  In mid November, we had a ‘shave day’ – ‘cancer girl’ (who was two cycles in, and starting to lose hair by the clump), her BF, me, another two guys, and two girls.  A further female friend also lopped off her hair – to donate to a wig charity.  Sadly my ‘before’ hair wasn’t long enough to be donated.

Whilst it may seem altruistic, what I did, I thought I’d share all the reasons I was willing to do it (and whether all those reasons turned out as I’d planned)

Shave Day :x
Shave Day 😡

1. To make my friend feel less like ‘the only bald girl‘: seeing we live a few blocks from each other, I hoped the check out staff and other people in our neighbourhood would just think the fashions were changing.  Entirely possible in our esoteric area!

2. To assist in fighting my psoriasis: whilst it’s easier to see (therefore I’m more self conscious about aggravating it), I don’t think it’s miraculously been improved by the increased vitamin D exposure 🙁

3. To save time in the mornings: now I can get away with a much quicker wash.  And no conditioner (and I was fighting to find a good, zero waste conditioner – the bulk one just wasn’t cutting it and neither was the solid bar from Lush).  For almost three months, I didn’t blow dry it either – I just towel dried to the Bart Simpson look! About a month ago, I decided to get it styled (cause… there’s a limit to the length of sideburns even on someone as gorgeous (jokes) like me), and now I blow dry it to style it, so I look more Anne Hathaway than Spike!

4. Making cleaning easier: Oh yes! It is SO much easier.  And I really realised after a house guest (with long hair) had been in my place for a few days – there was so much more hair everywhere!

5. To make sport easier: I play water polo and since November, I’ve not had to wear a silicon swimming cap at all (I still have to wear the funny ear protector playing caps though).  Even my running/gym sessions – I can do without my head band that I used to use to keep the hair out of my face.

6. Personal growth: I think this was the most important reason I wanted to try shaving my head.  I thought it would help with vanity and ideas of beauty and femininity. And somehow, once I’d decided to shave, I picked up a lovely BF.  Perhaps ‘hey, I’m going to Europe for three weeks and when I get back I’m shaving my head’ isn’t necessarily a normal second date conversation – but it is a good way to see if you have a keeper!

One week on exactly
One week on exactly

I was sure I was going to burst into tears when I saw my bald head – but I didn’t.  I felt weird – experiencing wind in my ‘stubble’.  And not having anything to ‘play with’ – you know, put up, restyle, brush…  I’ve had a lot of moments where I’ve looked in the mirror and gone ‘that’s not me’!  But I’ve worked through it.  I’ve had a wig, for when I’ve wanted to feel normal (it was retired about a month ago, when I got my hair styled – even though I’m not 100% in love with the current natural style, I’m 100% over sweaty wig wearing!).  I’ve certainly spent more than usual on earrings.  And worn a lot more make up, to make myself feel pretty on the outside.

Overall, I prefer the benefits of short hair to my longer hair (which I always always wore up!).  And, I was overwhelmed by generosity of others – mainly colleagues  who donated so much to support me in my head shave (either that, or they took me literally when I said they couldn’t pay me out unless they’d paid out!)  I was so pleased to raise almost $5k towards the research centre that my friend is continuing her radio therapy treatment now.  ‘Cancer girl’ in now enjoying fuzz, and she has a posse of male and female friends to guide her through the next few years of hair style trials and tribulations!

So, am I vain? Well I don’t think so, but I sat down and worked out how much it would cost should I do everything I think I should do, with my post The Cost of Being Vain

19 Replies to “6 reasons I shaved my head”

  1. Wow!! That is such an amazing thing to do for a friend…!! Aside from all the good things involved…'the look' really does look lovely – it accentuates your eyes. It's always so nice to see the "face behind the blog", too 🙂

    1. Thanks for the compliment and the commenting! It did take some courage, but once it was done, there was no going back! I think if you're hair is short, you're not getting many more benefits that I did with shaving it – but I'm not sure I would have gone this short without a big show of shaving it first.

      1. I've worn my hair short like Jamie Lee Curtis does for the past 3 years. I'm tired of it and currently in the growing out process which drives me nuts. Either long or short is fine,it's that in between that I can't stand.

        1. Ah! I hear you! I have (for the first time really) employed a hair dresser – who has also grown out a shaved head. I can't stand the 'shaggy' growing out look, so I'm trusting she will assist me to look somewhat redeemable at all stages!

  2. I like this post! How awesome that you raised so much money and visibly showed your support. And I feel that I have just "met" you now that I know what you look like! (PS – you look cool!)

    1. tehehehe cool huh? What a compliment, thank you! You always have your image out and about on blogs, so I figured I could share my (now a little dated) photos!

  3. way to get out of your comfort zone, congratulations! It does look good. I used to always wear head bands or hair up as well and went for pretty short hair last summer, much more convenient to take care of. Amazing gesture for your friend.

    1. Hey Pauline – I'm sure it's much easier in Guatamala to have the shorter hair – not just with the weather, but with all the renovations. I'm not sure if I'll leave it short, or grow it back – time will tell I suppose!

  4. Wow! what an inspiring story. While I hope no one close to me ever gets cancer, I could see doing this in show of support. I have donated my hair to locks of love in the past. Oh, and my dad had cancer, but he had surgery ended up not needed chemo.
    Thank you for sharing this story!

    1. Thanks Katie, I'm somewhat glad I got to stretch my comfort zone and try this – and I was surprised about how easily people adapted to it (save for little kids!) I'm glad your Dad's cancer journey came without the nastiness of chemo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.