Bald for Brenda

Hello everyone, I was thinking, hmmmm, what should I post?  What can I share?  What’s running through my mind?  Well to be brutally honest I have so much running through my mind currently.  I have just started Top’s Spot Life Coaching.  Learning  how to build websites, social network, get my writings published, set up speaking engagements, learn to webinar and of course scouting for clients to Coach and so much more has kept my mind flowing for the past 4 months.  I have loved every minute of it yet I think my mind is totally on “overload.”  I go to bed at night but there is this switch on the side of my head that as soon as it touches the pillow,  generates a million more thoughts.  Ideas, concepts, writings, people, places, and every other imaginable thing .  So while I was contemplating what to write, I asked myself, “what experiences have you had that were meaningful or taught you a lesson; share one of those!  Which brings me to this post

.  Have you ever stopped to think about your hair?  I mean really thought about it!  Have you thought about how your hair makes you feel,?  Your hair is a characteristic that people know you by. Hair can be like your own “branding” to the world.  I know sometimes if I am feeling lousy and just seem in a funk, if I go get my haircut and styled, I come out of that salon like a brand new ME.  And we have all experienced seeing the man that is balding trying desperately to cover that bald spot.

Why?  Because quite frankly, we are attached to our hair!  I never really thought much about it until I shaved my head bald.  What I learned through the xperience of shaving my head has literally changed my perspective on life. Brenda and I are cousins, but we actually felt more like sisters.  We grew up together, went to school together, got married around the same time, had our children close together.  I can barely think of my younger days without her being a part of it.  Well Brenda got cancer.  ( I know you probably were already reaching that conclusion)   Brenda had gorgeous hair!  She loved her long curly locks.  Most people hate when they have curly hair, but not Brenda, she rocked that hair!

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To go through a terminal illness with someone that you love is one of the most difficult things.  At first I struggled with my interactions with her.  Every time we spoke or were together, Cancer, was the pink elephant in the room.  ALL I could think about was her cancer.  I started not knowing what to say.  It felt mean to discuss future plans and events knowing she wouldn’t be here to see them.  Yet it wasn’t right not talking about regular life.  There would be intervals of silence on the phone while I would come up with something to say.  It took me awhile to just be natural.  You feel  the pain and the struggle all the while feeling so helpless.  Brenda was a remarkable person.  She never lost her sense of humor.  She was dying of cancer and joined Weight Watchers!  This was so funny.  She said, ” I think I am the only person in the world who is dying and I am on Weight Watchers!” Her strength and joy lasted up till her last hours with us.

The time came when she started losing her hair.  She called me up and said,” I am just going to shave it off…it will look better than chunks missing.”  I heard the bravado in her voice but sensed the great sorrow in her statement.  I couldn’t do anything for her.  She was in pain and suffering and I was not able to do a thing to help her.  So I decided to do the only thing I could.  I would shave my head bald and relate to her that way.  I live in Canada now and she was living in the US.  So I did some video/ pictures of my journey of Bald for Brenda!  I posted them and sent them to her.  Brenda was deeply moved by my gesture to identify with her.  We discussed it quite often.

6332_264923310610_3218104_n        Me, before shaving my head.

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The shaving process!

My family stood behind my decision and helped shave my head. They seemed pretty shocked at first but got on board as soon as they saw I was serious.  Everyone got into the process.

I did this to identify with Brenda, to share in her time of hardship yet what it did for me was incredible!  I don’t know how to put into words the transformation that occurred within me.  This was the most liberating experience I have ever had.  Suddenly I no longer had an “image” to hide behind.  I had no hair.  My true self had to be the beauty that became visible.

Going out in public with a bald head changes the way people react to you.  Silently, they question what”s wrong with you.  People view you differently.  I started to understand the depths of what others go through that have visible physical ailments.  I learned about prejudices in a fresh way.  The countless lessons I learned from this will go on with me throughout the remainder of my life.  Brenda and I would phone and talk about all these things.  It deepened our already strong bonds.  She told me how greatly affected she was by my gesture of going bald with her.  My only reply was that I could not do anything to help her or to take the pain away, however I could at least identify with some of what she was facing.

My husband and I had a big fancy wedding coming up and I was bald. I went out and got a wig for this event.  I dressed up and put that wig on and went to the church.  I felt extremely uncomfortable in this wig.  It was like I was playing some role in a stage play.  My friends didn’t even recognize me at first glance.  Between the wedding and the reception, I went home and changed and took that wig off. I went to this elegant reception totally bald.    I walked into that fancy place without anything to hide behind.  For the first time in my life I realized I was comfortable in my own skin.  I didn’t have to look a certain way, feel a certain way or dress a certain way, to be who I am. I had so much pleasure that evening at the wedding.  I later found out people had been asking about the bald lady “living it up” on the dance floor.  As the story spread, people were refreshed in my ability to be free.

The next “big” event I had was an interview for a job that I really wanted.  It took me almost 9 months to pin down this interview.  Once again, I was almost bald.  I did not allow this to intimidate me at all.  I knew that if I was my true authentic self I would give them every reason to hire me.  That was one of the best interviews I have ever had.  I can’t explain why, other than the fact that I was ME.  I didn’t have anything to camouflage.  I didn’t have a “social image” I was trying to attain.  I was, simply, me. and a very strong and vivacious me at that!  I got the job that I had wanted for so long.  It was exhilarating!

Originally, I did this for Brenda…but in turn it ended up being the best thing I ever could have done for myself.  I left my comfort zone.  I no longer needed to look, act or think like everyone else.  I discovered the strength of who I am.  I am not advocating that you all go out and shave your head bald; all I know is that it was a life changing event for me.  I miss Brenda daily, but she lives on in the things I do each day. She taught me so much about life and what really matters during her illness.  She motivated me to continue to step out of my comfort zone and to pursue the life that I wanted.  She made me promise that I would allow my life make a difference in this world.  I promised her that I would and each day that I live, I aim to make a difference in the circle of influence that I have.

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6 thoughts on “Bald for Brenda

  1. Lisa says:

    very inspiring meems

  2. Rosemary Carson-Rees says:

    well said Charlene

  3. rebecca says:

    very well put! i also have a friend who was going thru breast cancer and wanted to do the same for her, but with these bedgood ears it just wasnt possible

    • charlenetops says:

      thanks for the comment Rebecca! I am sure you are finding ways to relate with your friend. Not everyone can go bald 🙂 Being a good friend and being supportive is so important. I know you are a great person to have in her life.

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