Let me be clear from the start: I did not shave my head for attention or because I am "so brave." To me, being brave had nothing to do with it. I wanted to do something for the good of helping someone other than myself and being a part of that good is what the St. Baldrick's Foundation offered. I would also like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated to me, was at the event, and helped make a child's life better with me. Also, thank you to the person who supported me from day one and really encouraged me to shave my head. My boyfriend. He really gave me the courage to shave my head and I hope maybe one day someone will give you, yes you, the same courage or you will be the one giving it.
Previously, I had watched a couple guys and girls get their heads shaved for St. Baldrick's at my high school. I was inspired by them and I hope I have inspired others in the way they did for me. When I was younger I never thought I would ever shave my head. I always got mad at my mom when she told me to get a haircut and if someone told me to shave my head I probably would have threw a tantrum. My dad had always told me to do St. Baldrick's, but I could never come across a good enough reason to shave my head. I realize now how selfish I was being and how some kids do not have a choice. Sure, I donated my hair to help make wigs for children who lost their hair a few times, but shaving my head really showed me the struggles some people have to go through. The only difference is my hair grew and is growing back. I have so much respect for everyone who goes through the struggle of wanting hair but cannot get it.
March 19, 2017 was the big day. Honestly, I walked into the St. Balderick's event a little flustered. It was held in a small restaurant in Indiana. I was running late and my friend Casey, who also shaved her head along with me, texted me to let me know we were "on deck" to get our head shaved. I was still about 10 minutes away and knew I could not miss the experience I worked hard to raise money (and confidence) to do. I finally arrived with 2 minutes to spare before Casey and I were supposed to do something we had never thought we would do, only to realize my dad was not there yet. Both my parents were supposed to come and my mom was there but not my dad. I needed him to be there, after all he did always want me to do it. I called him and he told me he was 5 minutes away. There was a lady calling names on a microphone and I told her that I needed to wait for my dad to get there. She let me wait. Meanwhile, Casey sat in a chair at the front of the restaurant and "braved the shave." About a week before the event, her and I had made an agreement that both of us would donate our hair to Children with Hair Loss so she had her hair in a ponytail. Before she got her hair fully shaved off, the lady who was shaving her head cut her ponytail off and I placed it in an envelope because she told me she would cry if she touched it after it was already gone. Then, my dad finally showed up as Casey's cutting and shaving continued. I smiled as I watched her and two young boys beside her have their own grown physical feature shaved off. I was proud of her because it was my idea to shave my head and I recruited her into the craziness. My smile slowly turned into curiosity though because I knew I was next.
I looked around the restaurant. The place was packed with people that had either a look of fear (the ones getting their head shaved) or a look of amazement (the spectators). Before I knew it my name was called and I was the one sitting in the chair getting a respectful fist bump from a guy who was surprised a girl was shaving her head. I smiled at my best friend Kaylie, who was by my side through the entire day and recorded the shave "Live" on Facebook, told me I was going to cry. So, I kept a smile on my face the entire time and did not shed a single tear. The lady who shaved my head first cut my ponytail, and the rest of my hair that was not included in the ponytail fell to my cheeks. My mom said it looked cute that way and I should just keep it like that, but I was there for something more. As I heard the buzz of the razor start and felt the pressure of it on my head, my mom started crying and I heard a woman in the crowd say, "Wow, she is beautiful."
From the minute I head the buzz stop I knew it was going to be different. By "it" I mean my social and physical life. In no way did I emotionally or mentally feel different about myself. I was and am still Ellie. I walked outside and felt my whole head chill from the light breeze. I also felt like my hair was in a permanent ponytail, even though I had no hair.
The next day at school I wore a hat because I was a little self-conscious at first, but on the second day I put on a headband and decided to just "rock the bald." I pulled it off quite nicely if I do say so myself. The days continued and I continued to be myself while others sometimes gave me confused stares. It is interesting to experience first hand how people just assume things about you by your physical appearance and are too afraid to ask questions. I have learned to appreciate the warmth of the fur inside of hoods when the weather is cold and windy because I could feel the fur of the hood on my head for the first time. The first week I wanted my long hair back to flip around and put in my face to hide a flaw like a pimple, but I knew I had a while until it will grow back. I felt a sense of relief when I thought about it growing back, but also some guilt because others do not get that chance.
So far, I have gotten hit on by a lesbian, have gotten called a boy multiple times (I do not get offended though, I think it is funny when they hear my high voice and realize I am a girl), and have gotten a huge confidence boost. Many people at different events I go to say how good my hair looks and how some girls can rock it and others can't, but I am one of the girls that can. I think anyone can truly rock it if it is for the right reasons. Going bald was one of the best decisions of my life so far. I encourage everyone to go bald at least once in their life. It really makes you a better person and you are helping others along the way. Like I said, I hope I inspired and gave courage to someone out there from my experience because that is all someone needs sometimes. Just a little inspiration, courage, and a good heart.