Four days to the day I shave and I can’t deny the tinge of fear— it’s not that I regret or that the motivations to my decision are wavering. Definitely not! It’s simply that the uncertainty in the idea of being bald brings me a sense of fear. I mean, I suppose it’s normal to feel terrified of the unknown.
And I’m writing about this tonight because I think a big part of why I want to be part of Hair for Hope 2014 is about advocacy. Beyond the fundraising efforts for now and the belief that will be strengthened more than ever, I would want to keep finding platforms to tell people about how I feel and what this experience is like. The idea is I think that the hype of this event can really be maximised as an avenue to voice thoughts and evoke interest in understanding the predicament of cancer patients (beyond their baldness) so that this issue on childhood cancer can be faced rather than chucked aside in the sidelines of reality into an ‘oblivion section’ we create for uncomfortable issues to comfortably reside. So here goes part one of my journey towards shaving for real:
Tonight I’m feeling afraid, of the judgement faced by the public with a bald girl on the streets and the stares from my peers as they figure out how much worse/better I look bald. And this I’m just getting started with this emotional rollercoaster this entire experience is going to bring me on. So I try to imagine myself bald to prepare myself mentally a little better, hopefully, but I can’t. And I think about how cancer patients don’t even have this choice to make or this mental preparation time, with being bald at the least of their concerns. With these thoughts, I consider replacing that fear with respect and inspiration.
Being bald is a very superficial aspect of what childhood cancer patients go through, I do agree with that– amidst the physical and emotional trauma from the experience, being bald is possibly the least of their concerns. But I do think that in light of the empathy and desire to understand the multiple facets of what the patients go through, the bravery to take that first step and begin from this superficial level could just be a start for me. Honestly, I think the difficulty in the decision is little compared to the difficulty of me holding my head up high in the pressure of public judgement and other social stigma. And that really is a start.
So thanks to all those who have shared my belief and seen value in this first step I’m taking this Friday. If you’d like to contribute to the Children’s Cancer Foundation’s work for these patients in whatever means and ways you’d like to, please do donate online at bit.ly/shermainehfh or find me physically to contribute through my pledge card! Also if you’d like to read more about my reasons you can find them on bit.ly/shermainehfh2014 or ask me personally, I do think we have to shift the focus of the event and our understanding of it towards the motivations that drive shavees!