Home > Charity, Health, Love, Personal > Choosing baldness. Choosing hope.

Choosing baldness. Choosing hope.

* Read the follow-up to this post here.

I’ll be bald in eleven days.

There was a time I swore I’d never have hair shorter than chin length again. At 18, I’d made the unfortunate mistake of dozing off at the hands of a new stylist, who thought I’d look just fabulous with one-inch hair.

How wrong you were, stylist. How wrong you were.

Despite my old vow, I choose baldness now.

I do this to stand in solidarity with children who do not choose baldness, or cancer, but face these things determinedly nevertheless.  On March 24, 2012, I’ll join my friends Chris and Karin in having my head shaved for St. Baldrick’s children’s cancer charity.

I love my hair. Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to miss it while it’s gone. But there’s a heckuva lot I love even more in this world.

As I learned at 18, hair grows back. People do not, so I feel honored to do this one small thing I can to help some young people battling cancer stay here in this world, and illuminate it longer with their own unique and beautiful gifts.

If you’re able to donate, please do so here or via team Blissfully Bald. If you’re donating or wish you could donate in someone’s honor or memory, please tell me a little bit about them in comment here so I may share your words in a future blog entry. I believe it is a blessing to the living to remember our departed beloved.

If you are inspired to share this blog, please know now that I am deeply grateful.

Am I a little nervous about my impending months without much hair? Sure. But right now, my hair will do much better off my head than on it. I live in Los Angeles, for Pete’s sake! I don’t need hair to keep my head warm here. Not even in March.

And if I do end up needing a little help heating my head? It just so happens I’ve got a hot pink wig lined up for the occasion.

I’ll be happy without the wig, though. ‘Cause you know what? Beautiful is beautiful, with or without hair. Seeing my mom without her hair taught me that.

Beautiful with or without hair

Gorgeous, spirited Donna Quirke Hornik, subject of the series that inspired me to make this choice, helped me see it more clearly still.

I’m gonna be bald. And, man, am I gonna be bald in great company. Present in person, and ever-present in our hearts.

© 2012 Deborah Bryan. All rights reserved.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.

  1. March 13, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Dear Deborah,

    You scared me there, girl. Good writing. Even better post. May I please reblog it?

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • March 13, 2012 at 12:50 am

      Thank you, Doug! I would be both delighted and grateful if you reblogged it. I’d be even more of both of those things if you could also send my insomnia packing in addition, but that’s probably pushing it, eh? ;)

  2. March 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Dear Deborah,

    I have to figure out reblogging and am on the summit now so please be patient. You will be reblogged.

    As to insomnia? I have the opposite right now (and I’m supposed to stay awajke…) Let’s trade.

    Aloha,

    doug

    • March 13, 2012 at 1:01 am

      I would be delighted to trade, if the mechanics of that could be discerned! As is, it might be time to bust out Scrubs. There’s little that soothes me to sleep the way that can! I wish you much luck in all the endeavors remaining you this evening, and beyond. Truly. :)

  3. March 13, 2012 at 5:19 am

    that is a wonderful sacrifice and demonstration of empathy. i wonder sometimes if i will go thru it, you never know. and pink will look great on you!

    • March 13, 2012 at 5:30 am

      Ba.D. was a little unimpressed by (although understanding of!) the fact I was already trying out the pink wig extensively last night. I figure it’s good to get Li’l D acquainted with them for fun now.

      It’s so true that you never know. Thinking about the possibility (now actuality) of losing my hair here makes me wonder what’s in store for me and for those I love. There will undoubtedly be more of us who don’t choose it.

  4. March 13, 2012 at 5:33 am

    You can have real hair your whole life—why not go a few months with a pink wig.

    This is a good thing you’re doing—way to make the sacrifice.

    • March 13, 2012 at 5:35 am

      I’m pretty darn excited. I can’t even quite explain why, yet, but it’s such a small loss for such a greater gain in understanding–the external world, and my own internal one.

  5. March 13, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Deb, thank you so much for your part in all of this, and for this post. I’m honored to be counted in present company with you and your ever-present-in-your-heart mother. It’s another of the already stacked high blessings this commitment has brought into my life.

    I’ll say this again: thank you for being a part of my “joy creation.”

    • March 13, 2012 at 5:51 am

      Thank you so very much for the same. I really feel like last night’s insomnia (since I could, in fact, breathe again thanks to an inhaler) was due to the excitement and joy of having embraced this fully. If I was excited before, I’m a hundred times more excited now. Also a little trepidatious, true, but 19 parts excited. And so, so very grateful for all the blessings in my life and heart.

  6. March 13, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Deb,

    This brought tears to my eyes this morning. As a woman who has also watched as someone walked through the dark valley of cancer, I commend you.
    My quote: Cancer is ugly. God’s grace is beautiful. ~ VSK
    What an awesome sacrifice you are making. The end of this year I will be doing something similar. You just validated my desire to do so in this post.
    This blog/video is incredibly touching. I think you will also agree. http://www.lilblueboo.com/2012/01/a-rite-of-passage-a-video.html

    Hugs to you.

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

      I look forward both to watching that video later and learning more about your something similar at the end of the year! Much, much love, my friend. (P.S. Your book should be here any day now. :)

  7. March 13, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Wonderful post, Deb. I am so looking forward to the big day. We’re gonna make bald look hot. XoXo

  8. March 13, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Wow! That is so amazing of you. Why stop with a pink wig? I’ve always been fond of purple.

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Definitely not stopping at pink! I also bought a blue one, although that looks a whole lot more Seussian. This was just the start, but I suspect I’ll end up embracing the rainbow before long. :)

  9. Melissa Kivi
    March 13, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I shaved for Donna on March 6 with team Brookfield Jaycees! Sheila even came to speak at our meeting! I am proud of the money I raised! I’ll be coming to the event on the 24th too!

  10. March 13, 2012 at 6:54 am

    The first time I cut my hair off, my oldest son shaved it to 2 inches. I was frustrated after having been shot in a carjacking. I couldn’t lift my arms and my sons were having to comb and braid my waist length hair every day for me. So we snipped off the braid and donated it, then proceeded to shaving! I think it was the first time we had laughed in two months.

    Since then I have grown and cut off my hair three times. I love that you are doing this! Take pictures of the process, you will enjoy them later when you have the fuzzies.

    • March 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      I love how much story–and how much emotion!–you manage to fit into a few sentences. You’ve made me all the more excited to do this, and to anticipate the onset of the fuzzies. I know my hands have been irresistibly drawn toward the fuzzy heads of my own recently bald friends. Now they’ll just get to be drawn to my own head!

  11. March 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I shaved my head for charity not long before my 21st Birthday, and I never regretted it, I even kept it shaved for 6 months because I liked it so much! I never saw that coming!
    Growing it, now that had its moments!
    I wish you all the luck and hope you can raise lots of money. I’d love to donate but am not in the position financially, to do so at the moment.

    • March 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      I so regret that I didn’t make this decision earlier, so that I could do some proper fundraising! I’m excited, though, to see that my friends have already donated $400. I don’t know what that translates to in terms of benefit to the patients, but it has to have some practical impact, and that is heartening indeed.

      Your words are a great donation of goodness, FWIW. I’m grateful. ♥

  12. March 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I really, really love that you are doing this, Deb. This show of solidarity means a lot!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • March 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks, Kathy! I’m really glad Chris emailed me to point out that it was realllly easy to join a team. It felt so right to join this, and continues to feel so right to step toward it. With such support, and in such good company!

  13. March 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

    This is truly an act of love and I thank you for doing. On a lighter note, I look forward to a photo of you in the aforementioned pink wig.

    Seeing my dear friend bald while she struggled with breast cancer reminded me that she was beautiful in so many ways and they had nothing to do with hair.

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Speaking of “beautiful,” that last sentence absolutely fits the bill.

      I can’t really picture how I’m going to look. I kinda have a sense of how I’m going to feel, though, and it’s magnificent.

  14. March 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Love this…supporting you all the way. I can’t wait to see how you do make it happen and how you rock it.

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      Thank you so much, Shannon! I’m so grateful for your support, today, earlier on and every day. You’ve got some of mine coming your way imminently. ♥

      • March 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

        Of course, beauty comes from within and with or without hair or with whatever color hair you choose you will shine. Thank you:) I made my donation to you in memory of Miss Faith from Medford, so you are representing for her too from her little seat in heaven. xoxo

      • March 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

        I remember your writing about her a few months back. I wrote her name down on my piece of paper to make sure I remember her then, too. ♥

  15. March 13, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I just made a donation in my mother’s memory. She had, breast cancer at the age of 36 and had a radical masectomy and aggressive chemo. I was in the 8th grade and terrified of losing my mother. During the time when my peers were focused on hair and looks, my mother was going bald from chemo. That really put superficiality into perspective for me.

    I’m sure you’ll look adorable bald and in your pink wig! My oldest daughter shaved her head a few of times in high school and college. She always had fun experimenting with various hair colors as it grew out. I can’t wait to see the pictures. You’re doing a good thing! Big HUGS to you! :)

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you, Sprinkles!

      Even though the particular memory you share is a rough one, it makes me so happy to imagine these little pieces of your mom and your younger self. I think that’s in part because it reminds me of how amazing it is that our paths somehow crossed from such faraway places.

      I must confess on the wig front to having also bought a blue one. It’s more of a Dr. Seuss style wig, so I can’t really imagine where I’ll wear it, but there’ll definitely be a little color experimenting going on! I can’t stop at just pink.

      I sure would love a Sprinkles hug right now. :)

  16. March 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Thank you for sharing. I too got teary eyed reading this post and I am awed by your braveness to do this. You are truly inspiring.

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you so much, Vanessa! I don’t feel very brave, FWIW. A little nervous and a lot excited, as well as so blessed by the support in my life, but not brave.

      I can’t wait to report back what I feel like afterward!

  17. March 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    You have your priorities in life spot on. Another inspirational post Deb, I really hope this helps raise some awareness and money for this worthy cause. *toddles off to tweet link*

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you, Molly, for your words here and for sharing this on Twitter. Also the words you used to share it on Twitter. Thank you for that.

  18. March 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Way to go, Deb! I commend you, really. Lots of hugs!♥♥♥

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Kasey! It’s my hope I’ll be able to spend part of my (still very hairy) first day in Chicago writing up my guest post for you. :D

      • March 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

        Totally awesome. So…this is the trip you were speaking of back in a former post about having some mommy guilt? I think it such a heartfelt gesture, Deb, to accompany Chris, his wife, and others doing this…all the way in Chicago-WOW!

      • March 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

        Same trip, but it has many purposes. One of my very dearest friends in the world lives not too far from Chicago. I meant to never go much more than a year without seeing her, but it’s been 1.5 years and I miss her like mad. I wasn’t 100% sure I’d get to see her that weekend, but I decided to take the gamble. And it looks like it was a good one. So happy on so many counts here. :)

  19. March 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Once my husband shaved my head. Yea…I’ll never let him do that again. But I learned that I have a lot of vanity in my hair. It was incredibly freeing to have a shaved head!

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      “Freeing” is exactly the feeling I imagine when I think of this! Seeing you use that word was an “aha” moment for me, because I hadn’t yet landed on articulating the feeling. I’m so excited to see how what I imagine and what I feel compare. I don’t have to wait too long at all, eh?

  20. March 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I have to say I was not the slightest bit surprised when I read on Chris’s blog that you would be joining them! I was actually thinking about it on the whole drive to work this morning. I would NEVER be able to do it. You’re amazing! And I can’t wait to see that pink wig (it’ll go great with a certain wrist accessory… ;)!

    I made a donation, ‘o course, and while it is mostly in support of you and the cause, I suppose I could say it’s in memory of my former boss, Carol, who died in Nov 2010 from lymphoma.

    Just want to say it again: You’re amazing!

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      I had very, very excellent inspiration here. Sometimes it seems so amazing to me how all these tiny little pieces come together just right for these bigger things to happen. Every tiny little piece of it counts. I feel like I’m on such an amazing adventure, and 99% of what makes it so amazing are the people I’m so freakin’ lucky to share it with, up close or from a distance. (And doesn’t that just make a gal want to sing?!)

      Thank you, Jules. I’ll be thinking of you and Carol that day, and of course lots of times beforehand.

  21. SSS other Deb
    March 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I ♥ U

  22. March 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Such a wonderful gesture. If you could keep in mind my father and my friend Anne who cancer claimed and my friend Rhoda who won her battle against breast cancer I would be honoured. I am sorry, I have already made a donation to St Baldwins and to the Cancer Council here in Oz so I cannot afford to give any more money. Love and respect I can give, and they are wending across cyberspace to you now.

    • March 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      I will absolutely keep your father, Anne and Rhoda in mind! Love and respect are the best gifts you could send me, and I’m grateful for them. Thank you.

  23. curedipg4hope
    March 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    From one Deborah (Deb) to another thank you for choosing Hope. My Hope died on March 10, 2010 after a short but oh so brave with DIPG. She was 12 and she believed she’d beat it. Her one request was don’t let it take my hair Momma. So we made sure she kept as much as she could and I chose to be bald. I shaved with the 46 Mommas on 9/21/11 in Washington, D.C. Thank you for taking a stand for the lovely Donna and for choosing Hope.

    Always with Hope in my heart,
    DEB

    • March 14, 2012 at 6:06 am

      Deb, I am so grateful not only that you found this post, but that you commented and shared your Hope. She’ll be in my heart as I have my hair shaved, and you will be, too. Thank you for enabling that to be. ♥

  24. Sharon Holland
    March 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I lost my son, Zachary, when he was 9 years old to cancer (brain tumor). He fought this ugly disease for 2 1/2 years. When he lost his hair the first time, he left me trails of his hair around the house~he thought it was funny! When he finally grew his hair back, they found the tumor had returned, he was a little older not as understanding when he lost his hair again. But he embraced it and continued his battle. After he died, I found a book that the hospital had given to him that was about a little girl with cancer. As I was looking through the book, there in the middle of it, was some of his hair. I did not put it there, he did, without any of us knowing. It still makes me cry when I think of the gift he left us.
    My daughter, Kelsey, shaved her hair when she was a freshman in high school, in memory of her brother.
    This July, it will be 10 years since he passed away. He is always in my heart. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.
    Thank you Deborah and Team for supporting St. Baldrick’s! BALD IS BEAUTIFUL!

    • March 14, 2012 at 6:26 am

      Thank you so much, Sharon, for allowing me to experience this tiny piece of your son. I will be thinking of him as my hair is shaved, and very likely crying at the thought of the gift he left you.

      I am so grateful for your support, and more excited by the minute to ditch my hair and honor–in so doing–some very beautiful people, both remembered and remembering.

    • March 14, 2012 at 6:33 am

      This is such a sad yet sweet story, Sharon. I’m sorry for your loss. We all feel blessed to have the choice to be a part of this fundraising event. I’m in good amazing company.

  25. Dora Gutierrez
    March 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    WOW you are truly an inspiration to everyone and this really hit home for me. My son’s best friend is battling cancer at this moment and we have promised to shave our heads along with him when he loses his hair. It has started to fall out due to the Chemo and he is devastated. His name is Dalton Ray Summers and he just turned 13 a few weeks ago. He found out about a month ago that he has cancer. The cancer has now spread to both of his lungs and he is currently undergoing Chemotherapy treatments in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. If you could keep him in mind on that day I would greatly appreciate that. It breaks my heart to talk to him cause he is so tired of this battle and it has just begun for him!!

    • March 14, 2012 at 6:36 am

      I will definitely be keeping Dalton in mind that day, and all the days around it, too! And speaking of inspiration? It’s inspiring that you will be shaving your hair in support.

  26. March 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Very cool. I shaved all of my hair off two years ago. It was very liberating. Good luck to you.

  27. March 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    So much <3 for you, srsly. I just threw in my donation… in memory of Linus Pauling, who died of cancer at the ripe old age of 93. You should look him up on Wikipedia… I think you'd love his life story. :)

    • March 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      I remember a tiny bit about him from my years with my Linux-loving first boyfriend, but now I feel the need to revisit Linus as an adult! Thank you, auntie Mack. (You should know your bald picture from last night’s post totally transfixes the little guy, who breathes “auntie Mack” like he’s saying “the best and most splendiferous ice cream in the entire universe.” Hee.)

  28. March 14, 2012 at 4:59 am

    I inadvertently shaved my head (except for the bangs) in 11th grade. Growing it out was hellish for this curly girlie.

    But.

    You are brave and have a cause behind you.

    And a pink wig to look forward to.

    If it helps to raise awareness for cancer, good for you. I will just keep on quietly making my donations, if you don’t mind. I’ve lost too many to name. Too many.

    • March 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      I wasn’t counting on signing up. I was just looking forward to visiting a few friends in Chicago when I read just the right words to inspire me. After this, I’ll go back to donating quietly, but I’m excited for the symbolism of this act. It’ll be a good and powerful thing to do once.

      Also, I’m looking forward to picking up a green wig. And sometimes not wearing a wig at all, so I can see what it’s like to be without that added layer in between me and the rest of the world.

  29. March 14, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Deb, Great post. As mother to a medically complex (but thoroughlyhealthy at this point, thank goodness) kid and a philanthropist for the Chicago hospital that saved her life, I applaud your solidarity with children suffering from cancer and with the parents and people who love them. You’ll look thoroughly gorgeous, I’m sure.

    In memory of my father, in honor of my cousin Kathi who beat cancer at 33 and her daughter Lindsay, 19, who is battling it (and will win!) right now.

    • March 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      I’ve written these names on the list I’ll carry with me in six days. Thank you so much for reading, for sharing, and for your words of encouragement! It feels strange to be so excited to do something that feels so small in so many ways, but it’s the antidote to the sense of helplessness I felt in my mom’s last days.

      A very dear friend I’ll be seeing right after my head is shaved (YEAH!) reminded me that I don’t have to do anything. It’s good to be reminded of that, and yet to proceed this way nevertheless because it feels right.

  30. March 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    You continue to amaze and inspire me. My thanks to you is simple, but heartfelt and filled with gratitude for the two healthy girls I’ve been blessed with and prayers for the children whose courage surpasses expectations. ♥

    • March 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      That feeling is mutual, TM. I do a miserable job of keeping up on the blogs I love these days, but I always rejoice quietly when I see you’ve posted anew. There’s always something beautiful and inspiring to take away from your posts, which stick with me long after I’ve read them. Thank you so much for your compassionate, supportive words, here and always. They mean the world to me.

  31. March 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    This is awesome, Deb!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for giving so much of yourself for others. St. Baldricks is a charity we support – though not folliclely . HA!
    I am excited for you, because what you are doing will mean so much to so many. And you will walk away with a grin on your face! Awesome!!

    • March 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      I think you’re absolutely right that I’ll walk away with a grin on my face! When I imagine it, I imagine getting very weepy during the process, because of how I connect things symbolically . . . but then walking away so much lighter not only of hair but of heart. Just six days now until I know for certain, and not much longer after that before I report back! ♥

  32. March 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    What a beautiful, thoughtful act… I will add this to my facebook page. Keep us posted. ;-)

  33. March 17, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Deb, there are a few people in my life that inspire me to be a better person. You are one of them.

  34. March 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    You continue to impress. Thanks for taking on this challenge that allows us to make a donation to help a little bit! Good luck.

    • March 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you so much for your donation, and for your words of encouragement here. A little bit of nervousness is starting to return, so that these are both a light to me. ♥

  35. beccajean73
    March 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    You are a saint my dear! It takes a lot of heart and soul to take a stand like this. I am so thankful that there are still caring and selfless people in the world like you. I will never forget the first time I saw my brother completely bald after he began his chemo treatments. I won’t ever forget the fact that he never quit smiling either. He may have lost his battle to leukemia but with the love and help of people like you one day there will be a cure. Cancer sucks!

    • September 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Oh, I am far short of a saint, although I am thankful for your kind words! :)

      I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your comment, but it touched me then and it touches me now. Thank you so much for your love, support and for sharing this sweet memory of your brother with me.

  36. Donnell Jeansonne
    April 8, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I re-blogged this. Thank you for helping raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research.

  37. Donnell Jeansonne
    April 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Reblogged this on A Wordsmith's Brainworks and commented:
    Pease note there is a follow-up post to this post. Thank you Deborah the Closet Monster and everyone who is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. I hope one day my Doodles will also be well enough to thank you, too.

  1. March 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm
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