Monday, May 20, 2013

Putting your courage to the sticking place...

I confess - I didn't come up with the title of this blog. My friend Lauren did, only she didn't know it at the time.

I've been talking about it for awhile, and Friday was the day that I finally made good on my promise to shave my head if I raised $3,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I raised $3,726.38 with your help.

Leading up to the actual cut, I was freaking out. In some ways, it's not just hair - it's part of your identity. I was worried about how I would look. I had no idea what my head looked like - it could have been pointy for all I knew!

I cried on Friday. I had the thought that I shouldn't be crying - I chose to do this. But it's such a drastic change, and like any drastic change, it causes discomfort. Even as I told myself multiple times "it'll grow back".

Luckily, I had the right group of people there to keep me from losing it. Lauren took photos, Karen, Dawn, Laura and Carrie all cut ponytails, Michael and Jason were there for inappropriate humor, my coaches Bruce and Lynnae were there and Tori was awesome in getting my hair ready to cut and shave. Carrie also brought cupcakes.

This is shortly after I arrived at the salon. I think it was just after Michael walked in and said "You don't have to do this!" and his wife Lauren said "yes, you do".

Tori let me choose my smock, and since I have a zebra print scarf that I'm sure you'll see me in soon, I picked that one. She put my hair into about 12 ponytails.

Karen cut off a ponytail after trying to cut through it for a second or two.

Lauren asked me to take a picture when there were just a few ponytails left. The bottom two at my neck were completely shaved off, so we could get the most hair to donate. We've also determined I may or may not resemble Harley Quinn in this photo.

Coaches Bruce and Lynnae showed up and we took a photo to show off our Team in Training gear!

The bag contains a LOT of hair. It's about 9 inches worth, and I swear each ponytail could be that of a small child. I knew my hair was thick, but holy cow! I'll be sending it to Children with Hair Loss as a donation.

At the end of the day, I didn't have to worry that I had a conehead (I don't) and sometimes, it just feels like I have my hair pulled back and it's wet. But the good news is, it takes a lot less time to air dry now!

So far, I've gone out in public with and without a scarf (mostly without). Part of my fear was how people would look at me without hair. But so far, I haven't noticed much of a difference. I had also worried about how some cancer survivors I know would respond to the gesture, but those fears have also been unfounded.

Granted, I'm sure there are people I know that think I'm nuts. And that's fine. Maybe I am. But I didn't do this for them, I did it to bring awareness to a cause that I care about. I did it despite my fear of being different. 

I turn the page to the next chapter, where I will raise $1,500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and run the Grand Rapids Half Marathon in October. Check out my fundraising page here:

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon

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