Tag Archives: identity

An Altruistic Act Of Friendship

Attention, Attention, Attention!

It has finally happened.

I am not talking about me losing my hair, that was a week ago, but finally, after months of careful planning and fundraising, the dear sweet, Iana Peppiatt has finally shaved off his hair. His long, hippy like locks are no more. They have been deposited in a plastic bag in my kitchen bin. I believe what started out as the ramblings of a drunken man upset that his friend had been diagnosed with cancer, has ended with him losing his hair safety net and I believe he is far more attractive as a result. As one of the many spectators, privy to Wednesday night’s events commented, Ian is now going to get ‘so much fanny’. Not my words obviously, I would never be so crude.

So, the Big Head Shave was on Wednesday night. All the dignity I unexpectedly saved with how I did my deed was, rightly lost on Ian’s experience. Well, it was for charity after all. As noted, we had spectators, there was a live video feed, some awesome banter, alcohol and I made nibbles. I bloody love nibbles.

I hope Ian does not mind me saying this, but in the hour or so prior to the Big Head Shave, he was nervous. Probably the most nervous I have ever seen him, and I have known him for a good few years. At this time, I will admit, that I could have been nicer to him, but it was just too much fun winding him up…

He started the evening looking like this:

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And ended up looking like this:

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I was given the honours of firstly cutting the mane and then shaving it. I did not relish the prospect of doing this, but my when I started, my, did I enjoy myself. Housemate had to assist a little because I was probably being a little too delicate around the ears. Sure, I also got a little sweaty. The wool dress was probably a bad outfit choice for such a high pressure role involving a number of stray hairs, but I will remember that for the next time I am put in the position where I am responsible for removing one of my friend’s defining features. If you want to see just how much I enjoyed myself, take a peak at this…

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If you are tempted to see more, then the video footage is still available http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/30483575?utm_campaign=www.facebook.com&utm_source=30483575&utm_medium=social… One viewer commented that it was “The best TV ever”. Praise indeed. It is recommended viewing for anybody who thinks that shaving off your hair is not a big deal. It is. And the beauty of what happened on Wednesday, is that Ian did not need to do it. Ian did it to raise money, but also to make me feel better about what has happened to me. Way back when in October when we first started talking about it as I was losing those first few strands of hair and I was terrified, it gave me the strength to get on with it. Watching us reach our target on the Just Giving page, seemed somehow to make some sense of the madness that was happening around me, a madness that I had no control over. On Wednesday, when I watched Ian lose his hair, well, when I personally cut off that surprisingly soft ponytail, it did make me feel better. I do not know whether my feelings were selfish, but it did. Sod the charity, seeing somebody I know go through what I have had to go through, made me feel better and that includes being a witness to his fear beforehand. I found an inexplicably amount of comfort in his kindness and I will never be able to properly express to Ian what his sacrifice means to me. I do not think I would have been strong enough to do that for another person. I constantly think about a conversation I had with some friends in July, when my pain had started and I did not know why, and for some reason I said that I would never lose my hair for anything less than £20,000. How circumstances change.

Regardless of how it made me feel, it was for charity and Ian has smashed his target of £1000 and he is currently sitting on a total of £1345 all for Macmillan Cancer Support, who, I must say have supported me so wonderfully, as part of my Support Network during this hair raising experience. Even on Thursday, when I rocked up to the clinic in one of my wigs, their comments made me feel a little bit more confident in my synthetic hair. So, for the last time, even though our hair is gone, you can still donate. He shaved off his hair for goodness sake! http://www.justgiving.com/shavingmyhairwithEJBones And I do, truly thank those who have donated already. Your generosity has been the dogs bollocks.

I will finish this blog, again with a massive thank you to Ian. Ian who for so many years I have associated with his long hair. Defined sometimes. I have only known him with long hair, but the thing is, ten minutes after it happened, I felt like he had always had short hair. His altruistic good deed, showed me that hair is just hair and that his being and his personally remained in spite of him not having that moulting mane. I guess that this also applies to me, and boy, did that made me feel better. As big of a deal as it is for us personally, it, the hair, did not define us. And that is nice to know.

Ian Peppiatt, you are such a good egg. And for old time’s sake, here is a picture of us in our former glory.

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EJB x

P.S. Donate.

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Liberated?

The day has come. The day I always knew was going to come has come. The day I never wanted has come. I have shaved off my hair.

I should probably be clear and say that my head shaved looks better than what I have been sporting for the last ten days, and that is in public. One can only imagine what Housemate was greeted with every morning (yes, if I got up before he left for work) after I had slept on the balding mess. The pragmatic side of me knows I had to take this step, if only to save my kitchen floor from becoming a carpet. I am thankful to the person who did it, finally. I will no longer wonder what I will look like with a shaved head, because I have seen it. I will no longer wonder, at least not for the foreseeable future, how long my hair has left because it is gone.

I have prepared and prepared for this moment, and I have tried to put it off for as long as possible, but the sad truth was, that today, it was too far gone. The cyclophosphamide, that I did not need, had done its job, well at least some of it, and the only way for me to regain control was to shave it.

The act of doing it was fine. I was with Big Sister. I was brave and I knew it had to be done. I do not feel brave now. I do not want to be brave. I will deal with my new look because I have to, my circumstances and my dogged determination to make the best of My Myeloma dictate that. I do not want to look like this. I have listened to and been appreciative of other cancer patients tell me that the experience is not that bad and they have felt liberated by it, but I do not want to feel liberated. Sure, I am going to save some time in the morning and save a bit of cash on hair products, but I do not want to look like this. My name is Emma Jane Jones and I have luscious long locks, that is what I recognise. When they went, I had a bob and that was fine. I don’t recognise myself today in the mirror. I have tried to not look in the mirror. My thoughts and my mind are the same, but the packaging is different and today, I cannot reconcile the two. I don’t want to look like this.

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The evolution of my mane.

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What is left

I don’t want people to tell me that I look good or that I can pull it off, because I know that I would look better if I did not have a shaved head. I would also be upset if people did’t say these things by the way. There is no escaping that fact. If I am perfectly honest with myself, at certain angles, let’s say 80%, I have a double chin. Said double chin cannot be hidden when one has no hair. The hair itself is quite thin, so for extra vanity points, there are clear areas of scalp. Hmmmm, scalp. If I was a blondie, this would not be an issue, but alas, I am far from blonde. I also have masculine features. It’s a true story and unfortunately, they cannot be hidden without locks either. I fear I look like Haemo Dad, but he has more hair. I am going to need to be on the ball with my makeup; runny mascara and lipstick crud at the end of the day will no longer be permitted. I am angry with myself for thinking it, but I know for sure now that I will have to win any boy over with my wit and my wit alone and that evidently does not go far. I don’t want people to feel relief that they do not have to be seen with me on their arm. In my life, I have been fortunate to have run my hand through some very soft short hair before, and I expected my hair to feel like that. It doesn’t. It feels like a mass of ingrowing hairs. Maybe it needs to be longer. The icing on the cake was the family dog’s reaction to my new ‘do. She just kept licking my ears and the area behind my ears. I think a Bischon Frishe my have a limited IQ.

With no make up, no filter, after a dose of thalidomide, I look like this:

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I repeat that I know why I have a shaved head and I know that I had very little choice in the matter. I also know that it will get better. I know my reaction to it will get better. It’s just one of those cancer related things that sucks.

I am vain, and my feelings about my hair are influenced by how I want people to see me. Despite my double chin and my masculine features, I liked the way I looked. I will have to learn to like this and I dread to think just how obsessed I will be about finding my new comfort zone over the coming weeks. New clothes are bound to be involved. Jewellery too. Perhaps some make up. As with everything else, I will not let it defeat me and I will find a way. I will find a way because I have to, just like everything else. I am just giving myself a moment to dwell. Dwell on the things it has changed and the things about me I will miss. Everybody will know I have cancer now. Well, everybody outside the London Borough of Hackney. Maybe it will make it easier to get a seat on the bus.

Everything will make sense again, and it will get off to a good start this coming Wednesday when my good friend Iana, who likes his hair more than I liked mine will be shaving his hair off for Macmillan. We were supposed to do it together and this had been planned since October, but I was a wuss and kept putting it off until I could no longer put it off. So, in short, to support me, he has decided to Bic his head. I personally cannot wait. The link to his Just Giving page is below, please dig deep. He’s had long hair, cut by his Mum since he was 13. Do not think this is a token exercise just because he is a boy. It is his armour too. Neither of us are celebrities doing this for publicity. We found our own inspiration. I should add that all previous donations have already gone to Macmillan. I swear.

https://www.justgiving.com/shavingmyhairwithEJBones/

Oh, and if you are still in two minds about donating. He made a video about us. It will win you over. It won me over. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NtJ4RTVMPE

Apologies if I have previously posted this, I have tried and tried to remember whether I have, but I just cannot recall. Bloody drugs.

And finally, due to IT issues, I wrote this blog yesterday. I fear that the self loving through retail therapy will start today. I want to feel pampered.

EJB x

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