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[personal profile] greg_r

So... I've got no hair.

Last Friday I went ahead with plan "let's stop myself from aging quite as disgracefully and raise some money for charity in the process." I've got to admit that I like how it looks a LOT more than I was expecting to. I had a real fear that where I'm skinny and white I would look like a thug or a neo-nazi with a shaved head and face, which I'm incredibly thankful to say is not the case.

It's kind of a big deal for me where my hair and beard have defined how I look for the last ten years of my life combined with the fact that I started growing out my hair when I made some big changes to my life as a teenager to break the cycle of bullying that I'd been living with and to say "yeah, I'm different. I embrace that." So there area a lot of fairly complex emotions wrapped into that, plus my ongoing self-image doubts that having long hair and facial hair allowed me to hide myself to some extent. In my mind people would look there rather than at the me I was scared about them seeing. So that layer of hiding has gone now and I'm actually ok about it. I did this from me, I decided it and I'm ok with it. Good with it even.

See, I could have gone "I'm starting to go bald" and done several things. I could have paid out for hair products that counter male-pattern balding, and I was sorely tempted by that, my hair was my identity and I would have, on many levels, liked to have kept it. But, to me, that felt a bit vain and certainly like an unnecessary expense. I could have embraced my inner Bill Bailey, genetics say that I am going to get rather bald rather quickly and that's certainly a look. I think that would have made me feel even more self-conscious though. Finally I could have just gone for a "normal" hair cut and blended into the crowd, using anonymity as a mask for my fears, and yeah. There was a temptation to go with that. As long as I've had long hair I've been singled out for it, one of the few reasons I can fist-fight is that I've been required to do so by arse-holes that think it's cool to accost strangers who look different to themselves. The thing is, I don't want to hide, I want to be confident and being "different" is a way that I can do that. While it's slightly more common (as is long hair on men), being bald at my age is uncommon.

So, partially using charity as a reason to beyond "I want this", which is still a little scary to say, and partly because if I'm doing it anyway I might as well raise some money for a good cause I went ahead and did it. And I'm amazed. The number of times that I looked at the total in the last couple of weeks and been simply lost for words I can't count. I set an arbitrary target, which I think was the default target, of £500, with no expectation that I would get to that. I thought that if I raised £100 it would be incredible and expected to raise about £50. I love that people care enough to support me in this, where it's something that I care about, and I love that I've been able to raise some money for a good cause.

Seeing as my LJ is friend locked I can be a bit more candid here. One of my good friends from LT, Will, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the end of last year after about 6 months of being told "nope, we don't know what you have, but it ain't cancer." That kind of sucked. So just before Christmas he had his left testicle removed, which improved how he felt slightly, before surgical complications made it a lot worse again. He's now on the up hill again in terms of how he's doing which is wonderful and the charity Check 'em Lads has helped him a lot in giving a support network that he can reach out to that understands what it's like deciding if you're going to have a prosthetic testicle or how to process thoughts and feelings when you're doctor decides you need to start chemo immediately. It's been a real life-line for him and I feel really good being able to help out these wonderful people who have helped a friend of mine so much.

So yeah, I think that's about it. I've got no hair. I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing about that long-term. I'm tempted by the shaved head look, although a little worried about how my scalp, which is very sensitive, will respond to being shaved. I'm going to stick with no beard for a few months as well to see if it's something I can do where the skin on my face is so sensitive and it/I despise shaving so intensely.
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