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?
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.