I Am Going Bald: Ann’s Story
I'm shaving my head to benefit St. Baldrick's Foundation on March 16. This series will document why I'm doing such a thing. Despite these italics, it's not that serious.
Ann, my International Safety mate from Bermuda, was a St. Baldrick’s shavee in 2011. This is her story:
“I had so many reasons for shaving my head for St. Baldricks but I think all the reasons can sort of be split in to two categories.
1. To help others and practise being selfless
I remember Benjamin was a newborn and I was listening to someone talk about St. Baldricks on the radio. I just had this aha moment. I went from being one of the ones saying “I could never do that” to “I WILL do that”. I remember thinking, why should I wait for tragedy to strike close to home before lending a helping hand to a good cause? Leading up to the event I was being interviewed by a newspaper and one of the things they mentioned was that they had been struck by the fact that I hadn’t had anyone close to me die of cancer and I was still doing it. But, really, it’s quite sad that it has to come to that for people to do something to help others. Besides, by doing something now, you are making it that much less likely that it will happen to you or someone you love.
Benjamin and Ann
I liked that shaving my head was something that felt like an actual sacrifice and had some connection with the actual cause you are supporting. It makes you, in a very, very small way, have to walk in the shoes of someone with cancer. You will get those pitying looks when someone assumes that bald=cancer, and you will feel an immense gratitude that you don’t have to bear those looks as well as the effects of a horrible disease.
2. A lesson in not being vain
So, while I have said I wanted to be selfless, one of the big plusses about doing this was what it did for my self-esteem.
There was this whole other side to doing this which had a lot to do with forcing myself to not give a damn about what people think of me when I walk around on the street looking different, especially as a woman with no hair. I did a lot of thinking about women’s relationship to their hair, and how it holds us back in so many ways. As a man, if you shave your head, it’s totally cool and if you do it for charity, even better. As a woman, frankly, a lot of people were horrified and, before I made it official, some where trying to talk me out of it. It’s hair, it grows out again. The more I thought about it, the more the idea of vanity>charity just seemed to fly in the face of everything I believe in.
I have never felt more empowered and confident than when I was bald. There were a couple of wobbles in the first few days. But I knew I had done something real, something to feel good about and, lo and behold, every day turns out to be just the same as before you were bald. Your life does not become sadder or worse in any way. My kids loved me just as fiercely, my husband found me just as sexy, my friends enjoyed my company just as much as before and I theirs.”
Thankfully, masterfully, Ann says it better than I ever could. Your reasons are also my own, in addition to digging myself out of a rut and regaining a piece of my identity. Thank you my friend for sharing such an important piece of your identity.
As my bedhead becomes more impressive and with the biggest photoshoot of my life just two days away, Vanity begs the question:
“What are you doing?!? IDIOT.”
Five weeks to go, Vanity. Why don’t you move down to Florida until it’s over?
Coming soon: More St. Baldrick’s women who inspire.
If you would like to donate to St. Baldrick's to help fund childhood cancer research, please click here.