So finally the deed has been done, raising a little more than $3000, this experience has truly been a rollercoaster ride of thoughts, feelings and emotions altogether. I remember 2 years ago when I first considered this then crazy decision to be making, and 2 months ago when I found the conviction and belief (finally) to get my shit together and make my personal statement.
Basking in the company of others who have decided the same, though possibly for different reasons, only made me feel proud to be part of this movement. The way I see it, we’re all part of this movement that speaks out to people and says ‘It’s really OK to be bald’. I don’t think it’s until you get through the act of shaving that you see completely if you truly believe in that. And I truly look forward to the months to come in our school, championing my stand and sharing my feelings— the advocacy continues. Shaving, I suppose was only the beginning, to months’ long run of attention and judgement that hopefully leads to meaningful conversations and thoughtful questions. Because it’s only when we go deeper in this way, are we really looking within.
I expect less from the public: walking on the streets make me feel awkward as of now. I sense the stares and the million thoughts running through the minds of those who see me. I sense the trying hard not to look and the turning away so I wouldn’t feel like staring. The children give it away, they aren’t sensible enough to make those inferences nor try to ‘react normally’. They stare. I see them tugging at their parents trying to ask questions or sometimes, a fearful confusion why a girl in a skirt has the bald head of a guy. Sometimes the parents ignore, other times they whisper to their children while trying to avoid eye contact with me. I hope they whisper the right things. Because it’s what we teach the younger children that will decide the social stigma bald people face in the generations to come.
The stigma is real, and so is the attention.
But to me, attention and advocacy come hand in hand. Giving me attention or asking me questions out of curiosity is like handing me an imaginary mic into which I can say whatever I want as food for thought. And as uncomfortable as I am taking over the microphone, to share my deepest thoughts and feelings, if I am assured that they would be taken with an open mind for further consideration, I think I’d gladly use it.