I suppose I should point out a few things right off the bat: I’m not usually a very altruistic person. And I don’t really like children.
There, I said it. At the risk of sounding like Scrooge McScroogeypants, it can fairly be said that I am typically focused on my own survival, and that I find children to be strange, alien organisms who exist in a world that is beyond the scope of my understanding. That’s not to say that I won’t help a friend in need or that I wander the streets looking for children to terrorize, but I’m not usually big on things like contributing to fundraisers or, for instance, babysitting. (Woe betide the person who thinks I should look after their children. Seriously.) So it’s a bit out of character for me to be doing what I’m doing: participating in a fundraiser for childhood cancer research. By shaving my head.
As fundraisers go, shaving one’s head strikes me as particularly punk-rock, and since I occasionally experience a strong urge to shave my head anyway, it kind of seemed like the universe was sending me a message when I saw that my local Irish pub was holding a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser, and that they were looking for volunteers to have their heads shaved to raise money for charity. I dithered a bit, but the idea had snared me. My little niece has been in hospital getting a tumor removed and I’ve been waiting to hear whether she’s going to need chemotherapy, unable to really do anything to help from halfway across the country. At least this way I could do something to feel like I was contributing, like I was standing with my family and all of the people who have to deal with this. I consulted a few friends to make sure I hadn’t gone crazy, and then I signed up. On September 17th, I’ll be headed to The Irish Embassy Pub to have my hair shorn right off, and I’ll also be donating my hair to an organization that uses it to make real-hair wigs for those who need them.
Quite a few people have already told me I’m brave to do it. I don’t really see it that way, though I can see how it would be a big sacrifice for most people. (And I expect it really won’t help my odds with dating. :D) But I figure it will grow back, and I’ve never been all that attached to it. For most of my childhood and young adulthood, I had very short hair, to the point where when I told hairdressers how short I wanted it, they typically insisted on checking with my mum first to make sure I wasn’t going off the reservation. Long hair isn’t generally a good idea for me — it brings out my compulsive, hair-twisting, ends-chewing side — but I grew it out essentially so that people would stop calling me “sir” or asking me whether I was a girl or a boy. (I am not even kidding you right now. Apparently I’m super-butch. Maybe one of these days I’ll write a blog about my gender-related traumas.) I’ve never really known what to do with it — being a girl isn’t my strongest skill — and it’s never really felt like something that I did for myself.
I guess that’s what really appeals to me — aside from the obvious helping-kids-with-cancer part — about actually shaving it all off. I have grown attached to it, and consider it my best feature (it’s so luxurious and curly and curly and luxurious!), and when it all grows back again (we can rebuild it! Better! Stronger! Longer!), this time it will be entirely my idea. It will be because I want it back, not because I feel like I ought to grow it out to make my life easier. And while I’m working on that — and all my self-esteem issues, I imagine — I plan to indulge myself with sweet hats for the bald phase, and sweet new hair accessories for when it gets longer again.
I’ll post again with some photos of my bald cranium when the deed is done, and together we can point and laugh heartily, as I suspect I’m going to turn out to be one of those people who looks truly ridiculous when bald. Until then, if you’d like to make a contribution to help fight childhood cancer and you want to sponsor having me shorn like a recalcitrant sheep (this is an Irish-themed event, after all :D), please make a donation to help me reach my $1000 fundraising goal!