Friday, 9 April 2010

I am Natalie Portman

This may be the most radical of all my firsts (although the first first was pretty extreme, even given my...semi-nekkid history).

Are you ready?

Remember this?

Well, now it's this:

That's right, I shaved my head for charity!!!!!!

The astute of you may have noticed that yes, my hair used to be this:

I dyed it black (!!!!) - another first, my hair had been a natural brunette all its life before then - at the start of the year, when I was in a Priscilla Presley lookalike competition. Whole other story.

Last Thursday, along with 3 other girls and two guys in college, I did the World's Greatest Shave. The World’s Greatest Shave is a fundraiser by the Leukaemia Foundation; if you volunteer to shave or colour your hair, you can raise money by asking people to sponsor you.

It’s a decision I spent weeks turning over in my head. At first, I decided I would do it, but my brother was less than encouraging, telling me on no uncertain terms that “a chick can not pull off that look.” I chickened out, and decided to dye my hair pink instead (maybe next year?) On talking with more friends, I decided that cutting it short instead would be extreme enough. But then I thought, if I’m going to cut it short, I might as well go the whole hog! I really have to thank Gemini for being so supportive; she was the one who really made me believe I could do it and pull it off.

It's something we used to do at school, and I always admired the people brave enough to do it, who were brave enough to say “to hell with my hair. I don’t need it, and I’m willing to sacrifice my looks for a greater cause.” I never thought I could be that girl; I’m the first to admit my hair is my biggest vanity. Let’s face it, I LOVE my hair, it was (and will be!) beautiful. It was one of my best features, and basically defined how I felt about myself; whether I thought I looked good or not. I decided to go for the chop – and then some – for several reasons. The first was as a challenge to myself; I felt that if I could cut off my hair, I could do anything. I’ve recently become a big believe that if you fear something, all the more reason to do it. Fear is just an emotion; don’t make it a barrier. Secondly, I thought that it would be good for my vanity, and I’ve always wanted to see what my hair would look like growing out from boy-short, since it’s never been shorter than shoulder-length, and that was only two years ago. Finally, as I have such nice hair, and I have many friends who admire it, I hoped that I would be able to raise a lot of money for the Leukaemia Foundation (some of my friends – even my parents – offered to pay me NOT to!). And I did!! I’ve raised about $800 so far!! I was so overwhelmed by my friends’ support; one friend even donated $100!! In college alone I raised $250, and the rest from friends at uni and from school. We did it in college, and this year the event was huge: 3 other girls shaved their heads (!!!) plus two guys (one who shaved his eyebrows as well!) and two guys who agreed to have their legs shaved, with most amusing, loud, screaming results. Last year it was only 2 guys and a girl.

These are some of the reactions I received:
“You’re a human toothbrush.”
“It feels like a felt-tip pen.”
“You look like a lesbian/feminist/cancer patient.”

Life without hair is now amazingly simple. It dries before I even step out of the shower (the time for which is now halved!); I don’t have to crush or comb it, bed head is no longer an issue, I don’t have to tie it up for sport or parties; life is so low-maintenance it’s ridiculous. I don’t know why I kept my hair long for so many years!

And you know what? It actually doesn’t look ALL that horrendous, despite what my parents said (I believe my mother’s exact words were “we still love you, but it’s ugly”). I’ve drawn comparisons to Sinead Connor (4 times!) and Natalie Portman (who looked GORGEOUS with and without hair.) It turns out I actually have quite a nicely shaped head! It’s actually very liberating – now that there’s nothing I can do about my hair, I don’t care about what people think of it.

It also lends credence to the idea that if you can’t change something about yourself, you stop wanting to change it. This is an argument I’ve been hearing quite a lot, what with adjudicating several D grade debates on the topic “that cosmetic surgery should be banned.” The contention is that if people can’t change their bodies through cosmetic surgery, then they’ll stop wishing they could/feeling dissatisfied with what they have. I’ve been intrigued by this idea; a negative team raised the point that people didn’t resort to extreme measures BEFORE cosmetic surgery, e.g. in the 18th and 19th centuries, did they (or did they?) And I have to say, I’ve found that it’s true, at least for me. Now I can’t worry about my hair, it doesn’t determine whether I feel pretty, or witty, or gay. I now focus on other features, like my eyes and my smile. Plus it’s a great excuse to wear super cute hats I couldn’t pull off before. Sure, it’s going to be a bit nippy in the winter, but that’s what beanies are for!

This whole week of firsts – of Undies Monday, of shaving my head – has been about challenging myself, about living out my newfound philosophy that the things you regret most are the things you didn’t do, not the things you did. You only live once, so what the heck?

After all, not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious.



Ryan said...

I LOVE this portman look!

Sara Louise said...

I have just stumbled across your blog and am so glad that I did! You are amazing!! What you did is fantastic, brave, and inspiring! Reading your post has given me a much needed pep and kick up my ass.
Thank you and happy Friday :-)
Bonne Chance!

Arielle said...

That's awesome! My roommate just shaved her head, although for entirely selfish reasons (she claimed she had a mid-life crisis at 20). I feel like if you have a nicely shaped head, it looks fine. Also, it's really fun to pet.
You go girl!

Sunday said...

Great post JAG.

Waed S. said...


I don't think I can do such a thing AND I am a Hijabi chick lol

Greetings from Jordan ,


Drop a tear in my wineglass said...

I ADORE YOU. Beautiful, Brave, Fantastic, Honest, Lovely. I just....I adore you! If we were uni-mates in Melbourne, I would be the one who you'd call and tell and I'd take three train and a bus to get to you and go: OH MY GOD I LOVE IT! Or, I'd runt ups and down millions of stairs and through tens of quads to knock on your door and go: OH MY GOD YOU FANTASTIC WOMAN YOU! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IT'S FRICKIN AWESOME!!!

Oh, and tip: earrings must be your new best friends!? haha. And I swear, you are gorgeous either way! <3 loads of love /Diana

Celise said...

Jag, good on you for shaving your head. I wouldn't have had the nerve to do it. Although, my hair would grow back pretty fast. And probably thicker than before. LOL. I think you look great (even though I can't see your face) and I think Natalie rocked it, too. Even Demi looked good! Are you going to grow your hair back long again? If so, how long will it take?

Tina said...

You are one awesome girl!

Just a girl said...

Aw, thank you so much everyone! I'm overwhelmed by the love, support and compliments :) I have to say, it's a better look from the front, it's too bad I can't show you. You are all so lovely, I can't thank you enough.

Diana, you are so sweet!! :) *hugs* and don't worry, I'm all set in the earrings department ;) all I need now are some warm hats!

Celise, I'm LOVING having short hair that is no fuss, so I'm not sure...I want to experiment with short styles, because I've always had long hair. It would probably take about two years to grow it back to the length it was (at a guess). I'm really excited to see what I look like with a bob!


Ted Michael Morgan said...

Gee, where were you when I was a youngest? Good for you. You look great. Keep doing what you want to do. Good luck.