Surviving, and a Small Gesture

My hair has always been abused – dyed, bleached, chopped, twisted, taken for granted. For the duration of my life it’s been disposable, never something I cared about. It was something trivial that sprouted from my skull, to be experimented with, something that would always come back.

But for all this mistreatment, I’ve never shaved my head. I held onto it in whatever form.

As long as I can remember, Tobie has had thick, wavy blond hair that reached the middle of her back. Hair can be loved, hair can be appreciated. It can be feminine and part of one’s identity.

When Tobie appeared in a recent photo, smiling, proud, beautiful – and bald – the hope and courage was so much more evident without all that hair to detract from her face. I couldn’t come up with a reason NOT to shed my own raggedy locks.

For Tobie, for every future cancer survivor (her words), for every family member by their side, for everyone left behind, for every woman who has suffered cancer – and the moments of wavering identity that come with change in the mirror. For women who worry about being women. Hair isn’t just hair most of the time when it comes to the female appearance, and there are far greater sacrifices that these amazing women have made, and far more to make – but the absence of hair is the most obvious clue to your trials, and one of the most basic connections to the person you recognize as yourself. Being comfortable as a new person is no small task.

My shaved head seems like such a small offering in wake of all this strength, but it’s all I know to give.

It’s just hair, ladies, and it’s been hiding your beautiful faces.

Good luck, Tobie. Your bravery is as obvious as your love.

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