Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I shaved my head

Yesterday I received a copy of a book I had been long anticipating.  My favorite blogger, Kelle Hampton, had her first ever book released yesterday.  I've been following her for a little over two years and have read her beautifully written words of the journey she's been on since her daughter, Nella, has been born.   The day she discovered she has Down Syndrome.  I discovered her blog through another author I like, Donald Miller, who somehow ran across her blog shortly after Nella was born and shared the post describing Nella's birth and the days after on his own blog.  It moved me.  It brought me to tears and made me want to cheer this family on.  I wanted to hug her and be a close friend to this blogger I've never met.  I've been reading her words ever since.

That blog post catapulted her into popularity as word of that infamous post spread.  Her raw honesty and emotion were to be admired and I'm sure fellow bloggers felt like I did.  My heart ached for her and at the same time cheered for her on this journey.  From that, she wrote this book, Bloom.

After receiving my copy in the mail yesterday, I felt a sense of pride for this friend I've never met. I feel like I've been able to follow her on this journey all along and glean from the lessons and wisdom she herself was gaining all along the way.  And her photography... don't get me started!  (She's been a major inspiration for me since the day I found her.)

A blurry phone pic I posted to Instagram when I got her book in the mail.
Anyway, last night I was reading and found myself underlining and underlining and both crying and laughing along the way.  Her courage and attitude and ability to see beauty in the people and world around her are truly inspiring.  And then I read this:

"It's taken me awhile to grasp it all, but I have finally arrived at the grown-up place of life-is-what-you-make-it and there are lots of things in life we go through that aren't comfortable or ideal, but they could be so incredibly worse, and a simple life of comfort does nothing to change us, mold us, make us into better, stronger more beautiful versions or ourselves...
I have been reminded so much these past couple weeks of just how wonderfully blessed we are, and the older I get, the more I embrace change as an opportunity to learn just what I'm capable of.

And I am capable of so much."


And later, her sister Carin told her, "So many  people fear hard times,"  she said, "they go through their life solely seeking comfort and avoiding personal growth at all costs because it hurts.  But I promise you, Kelle.  I promise - if you can find a part of you to believe me and trust what I'm saying - you will be happier than you've ever been....  Because life is all about how you look at it."

It was like she plucked all of my thoughts and experiences right out of my brain and wrote this for me.  For me.

You see, I've been hanging on so tightly to this worldly version of beauty.  I've been trying to hold on to every last strand of hair that was hanging on for life itself.  Every day - every single day - after I step out of the shower, I go through the process of "fixing" my hair - what  hair I had left.  I'd blow dry it, use my straightener on it and comb through it again - just before plopping my hat on my head or fitting my wig so it sat just right.

And last night I wondered why.  Why am I holding onto this hair that is flat out failing me?  And I couldn't answer beyond the simple fact that it was because it's what the "world" is telling me to do.  It was because I was valuing the wrong kind of beauty.  And I decided it was time.

This morning I got ready, shuffled my kids out the door, dropped them off at school and sat in the parking lot and thought for only a second before I texted my friend and said, "I think I'm going to shave my head."  And like the good friend she is, she didn't even question why, she answered, "Want me to come do it for you?"  And before she took the scizzors and eventually the razor to my head, she asked for my permission, "Ok, are you ready?"

Yep.  I'm ready.

Ready to be me.  Ready to not conform to the world's standards of who I should be, or what I should be ashamed of.  I'm ready to whole-heartedly embrace the excitement I felt as my hair was falling to the floor because I knew, I just knew, that God is using me.  That I get to go through this because "a simple life of comfort does nothing to change us, mold us, make us into better, stronger more beautiful versions or ourselves."  I get to search for and discover a deeper beauty that I wouldn't have had the chance to find had I never experienced this.

I'm ready.

Before.





Face-timing Jon while Shelly was shaving

That's not to say you probably won't see me with my wig on when I'm out and about (I've found my head gets cold quite quickly!), but you can know that underneath that fake hair is my plain bald head.  The shiny, bald, smooth head that represents a new sense of freedom.



This is me!



P.S.  If you'd like to see a follow up post, click here.  

88 comments:

Stephanie said...

You are radiant! I'm so so so proud of you! I cannot tell you how absolutely beautiful that bottom picture is...LOVE IT! Love you and so encouraged that God is moving you along this journey! It reminds me of Hosea...

Margie Simineo said...

You are such an inspiration to me. I love your new look! You can never know the lives you have touched. May God wrap you in His awesome comfort today!

The Burgess family said...

Wow! I love it!!

Megan said...

You're beautiful. You LOOK free!

genderist said...

Love it. You have a great head.

Sandy said...

You are beautiful! Having just gone through chemo, I know a little bit about what you're going through. Shaving my head was the most empowering thing I have ever done!
I've recently stopped wearing my wig in public and I feel so free!

Good for you!

Jamie Thompson said...

Oh my goodness you are goergous! Without hair! Life truly is all about perception and I find the more I rely on that the less I care what the world has to say! Bravo to you for doing what feels right and true to you! Kelle is a HUGE inspiration to all of us! I love her blog and have like you followed since just before she had Nella. She has taught me so much in these 2 years...and now I will be following you!
:-)

Kylie said...

Truly, truly stunning.

jodi said...

so SO beautiful!! I'm so glad I came across your blog!

Sarah p said...

Sandra beautiful as always.... Strange how the worlds beauty misses that beauty that I see in you! Amazing and inspiring you are. Love you

Anonymous said...

Good for you. You look beautiful with your new do!

Kimberly said...

I found your blog because Kelle Hampton retweeted your husband's tweet. I will definitely be following! I love how real you are, and that you also love Jesus!!

Adriana Iris La Dulce Vida said...

You are so beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Very inspiring Sandra, I love reading your blog!

Angie Hensley said...

Beautiful.

Nicole said...

wow girl. you have stunningly gorgeous eyes.

xo

Nicole said...

PS. I was trying to find your email address on your blog but couldn't. There is something I wanted to share with you, do you mind emailing me?
nicole.neesby@gmail.com

Thanks dear

ErinG said...

Sandra, you are so beautiful! I have been following you on instagram for a few months now. I had no idea what you were going through. When I saw your post, and your blog, I had to check things out. I am also a follower of ETST. She is so inspiring and I love strong women! I love people that can move people. I came across her blog shortly after losing my 4th baby. She had a way of pushing me to not feel sorry for myself, but to embrace my difficult circumstances and to own them. I love seeing you own yours. You are truly inspiring!

Kylee Selby Brandt said...

You are truly one of the most beautiful people I've ever met - and I knew it from the moment we became friends way back in elementary school. I'm so proud of all you've done in life. I'm so happy for you and your own happiness!
God's continued blessings,
Kylee J

Chelsey said...

Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Beautiful.
You did all three! Don't ever doubt any of those things - you got 'em right there ... they were just hidden in your pocket, waiting 'til you found them. Congratulations on such a major step in your life! You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

This is such a sweet and intimate post -- thank you for sharing it! You look beautiful, by the way. Your eyes are just GORGEOUS! You don't know me, I've only just found your blog, and we'll probably never meet, but I wanted you to know I am praying for you and I am SO proud of you!

-Abby

Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog through a link Kelle posted on Facebook, I have to say Brava! For being so brave.. and may I say your eyes look even more beautiful and sparklier (is that a word?) without the hair to distract you from them.

-Cindi

Anonymous said...

you are pure beauty...i just started to follow you are am inspired

Lindsay said...

You look so beautiful! I just came across your blog through Kelle and I am so glad I did.

Mommara said...

You are so beautiful. What an amazing and inspiring post!

Olivia : I am still learning said...

Can I just say the "after" photos... you look amazing! And your words are just as beautiful.

figwittage said...

You are beautiful! Your eyes stand out in the last few photos, gorgeous! & shame on this world trying to tell us what is beautiful and what is not. Kelle is my favourite blogger too, wow... her words can move, can't they? xx

Renee said...

This my first time reading your blog. I read because Kelle posted it and I love it. I'm also reading Bloom. It's wonderful to know that other people are connecting with the book the same way I am. You are gorgeous! Good for you for freeing yourself.

Ali said...

Brave, beautiful and radiant! Your smiles warms my heart! Keep it up sister!

Sandi said...

Beautiful woman, beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, beautiful person

Rebekah said...

Kelle's book is changing my life too. Rock that head girl! You look drop-dead beautiful.

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

Obviously hair does not make a woman beautiful! Just look at you!

Tricia said...

You look beautiful. Wear bald proud!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Beautiful. I'm in tears.

Steph

H DePratt Photo said...

God Bless You! You are beautiful. I wish you strength <3

Roy (Drew F's daddy seen on Kelle's blog today) said...

I'll be honest, I didn't look closely enough at all the previous commenters to see whether I am the first dude to chime in. Shaved heads are awesome. Liberating. Beautiful. Well-shaped shaved heads...even better. You fit that last category! I shave my head during summer but "grow it out" in fall/winter. When the "peninsula" on the front finally breaks off and becomes its own island, separate from the continent on top...I will shave full time. ;)

Kimberly said...

WOW you are gorgeous! Rock on girl! BEAUTIFUL!

Linda said...

Visiting from Enjoying the Small Things. Thank you for sharing your story; you look gorgeous! I had a friend shave my head a few weeks ago as mine started to fall out from chemo; it was so "freeing" for me, and by the smile on your face, I'd say you felt the same way :) Your story is inspirational for sure.

Ashley said...

You are soooo beautiful and radiant! Thank you for sharing with all of us! I look forward for reading more of your blog and following!

Love, Ashley

Evelyn Louise said...

Love it. Bald women represent strength beyond what we can even imagine.

Praying for you!

(and I, too, linked to you from Kelle)

Cherie Dee said...

(Linked from Kelle's page)
You are BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL! You friggin' rock that bald head with every fiber of your being!!! Great job for being so brave! :)

kimfairchild said...

i love it!!
looks great!

First and Second Act said...

You are absolutely stunning. You look so radiant and so free.

RJ said...

I know this isn't about me but I needed this today. This is proof that GOD is SO amazing. He is using this story to touch heart. To touch my heart. Thank you.

Tracy said...

I came across your story through Kelle Hampton's blog. When I was 12 years old, I lost most of my hair. No one could tell me why. My mother, who was way more upset about it then I allowed myself to be, took me to doctor after doctor. We tried every possible remedy she could find. I remember choking down yeast pills and crying because they tasted so bad. I knew she was upset about it so I pretended like it didn't matter to me. I don't have many pictures of myself from those times, we don't talk about it very much in my family. I'm 38 now and I hate talking about it. One doctor said it was stress. I had just gotten back from a difficult visit to see my estranged grandfather and my family chose to place the blame on him. To this day, they still hold the opinion that it was his fault, while I believe that it was something genetic (my maternal grandmother had alopecia her entire life). My hair grew back in after several years. I wish that I had a role model like you, who today showed the world that we are all beautiful just the way we are. Thank you for that and for sharing your story.

Molly said...

I came to your blog through Kelle's. I agree with all of the previous posters who used the word "radiant." You are absolutely stunning. Thanks for this beautiful post.

idiosyncraticeye said...

You look absolutely stunning. Find yourself a gorgeous handknit hat in your favourite funky colour and live it up. :)

(travelled through from Kelle's blog)

Craftysquirrel said...

Visiting via enjoying the small things - you go girl! And don't you look fantastic - with or without hair - enjoy the freedom.

Wendy said...

You Ma'am are BEAUTIFUL!!

Julie said...

GORGEOUS! Your face absolutely shines!!

Katrina said...

TOP TEN PERKS to having a shaved head:

#10 - no more hair in your lipstick on windy days!
#9 - less time needed for getting ready in the mornings!
#8 - impossible to have bad hair days!
#7 - having that wake-up "bedhead" is a thing of the past!
#6 - cleaner shower drains - woo-hoo!
#5- saves you money on salon visits - more money to buy clothes!
#4 - no chance of catching head lice!
#3 - you can be G.I. Jane for Halloween! (remember that Demi Moore film?)
#2 - no one will pull your hair in a fight!
and the #1 perk to having a shaved head...
you'll always look YOUNG because you won't get GRAY like the rest of us old ladies!!

So go on with your bald self! You look fabulously free and absolutely stunning :)

Sarah Tormey said...

I also came across your blog via Kelle Hampton, and I too have alopecia. The first episode came to me when I was 13 years old just after my dad passed away. I was completely bald and lost my eyebrows too...BUT I had complete regrowth within a year and had no loss again until last May. I blammed it on my hormonal changes after pregnancy (my 2nd). I've been going through a year of new spots, and loss, and regrowth...now its getting bad again as I have a huge tennis ball spot in the back of my head. Your post really means a lot to me...You are beautiful, and if the time comes that I have to shave my head again, you bet I will be reading this beforehand!
Sarah Tormey

Shelley said...

You are beautiful!! And I suspect that you are just as pretty inside.

My niece was just 15 when she was diagnosed with a rare form of sinus cancer. She quickly lost her hair to the necessary treament that saved her life. She is now 20 and of course her hair has grown back. Thankfully she is happy and healthy. She was the most beautiful bald young woman that I had ever seen.

Thanks for reminding me that there are many beautiful women who's hair is just that, hair. The beauty comes from the inside.

The onion Farmers Wife said...

Your Beautiful!!!!!!! Hang in there Sister! I love Kelle too. I laughed so hard at the naked swimming part!

Kate said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story and thanks to Kelle Hampton for also sharing it. I am a 29 year old mother to a 2 year old little girl and just one month ago was diagnosed with an extremely rare type of cancer. I am awaiting surgery where I will lose the left side of my scalp and then undergo chemotherapy and eventually lose my hair. And the truth is, finding out I have cancer wasn't the hard part. Finding out that I would lose my hair was the hardest because, like you said, it's all about how society expects you to look.
You are extremely brave and have been an inspiration to me. I wish nothing but the best for you and your family.
-Kate

Ashlee :) said...

I just came to your post from Kelle's blog. I too am an avid reader of Kelle. I feel very close to your story as I have a best friend who also has alopecia. You are very beautiful, hair or no hair. Your hair should never define who you are as a person. I'm so excited to follow along your journey and to tell my best friend about your blog. Thanks for being such a brave, beautiful person :)

tara. said...

Followed the link here from Kelle's blog.
You're beautiful!!

Kalen - Kentucky Cupcake said...

In the last picture, your eyes almost don't even look real - wow! They stand out so much. And your cute smile... you're an absolute doll and what an awesome, uplifting thing you've done.

MsellWrites said...

God. Bless. You. He sees your heart, how genuine you are, and He loves you.

Elle said...

you are gorgeous. such an inspiration. God bless you.

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful thing you've done! And you look beautiful!

Anonymous said...

You are beautiful! Good for you for doing exactly what works for you. I had a neighbor who had alapechia (spelling?) and I saw her go through the same steps of acceptance. just love yourself, girlie! ~ Bethany

Sue (Lee Life and Lessons) said...

Sandra, thank you for sharing your story. Like the others have said, you are just beautiful. I share your faith in the Lord and I just know that He is going to continue to use the difficulties in your life in amazing ways!

Jacomijn said...

Looking very good indeed !!! Many greetings from Holland !!!

LouBoo said...

Oh my goodness...I cam here from Kelle's blog and had the same reaction as when I first read her 'Nella' post. Raw emotion and admiration! As they say in England 'bloody well done!'...I know you may feel I am paying lip service, but you really do look beautiful. And happy. Never ever been to your blog before...but it looks like a great place to be. Lou x

Whitebite said...

One word: amazing!

you go girl!

Lauren said...

You are SO beautiful! Love your courage and pictures, thank you.

Someone In Mind said...

You totally made me start bawling. There is SO much to say for freedom. Today at the gym I was suppose to do a few set of jump squats. They are ugly. I make loud noises. I make gross faces. And people stare. I had to stop and remind myself that I have places to be and goals to reach.

There is such freedom in staying on your own course, despite what others seem to say...or do.

Heather said...

Radiant, amazing, courageous ... OMGoodness I could go on and on with words that truly describe you. Are you ready for the outpouring of love you are going to receive? Let your journey begin! I, too, have been following Kelle's blog since just after Nella's birth. I came upon it with a recommendation from a group of aspiring photographers and I have been hooked ever since ... thank you for sharing your story and allowing Kelle to share it as well. Prayers, hugs and love to you, yes, YOU!!! from a friend you didn't know you have and one you will probably never meet but is amazed by your strength and courage. Good luck my friend ... from a friend you didn't know you had in Michigan :)

Jennifer said...

You look amazing! So radiant and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story of strength.

rachieannie said...

Beautiful. Just breathtaking.

(also here via Kelle!)

Anonymous said...

You are inspiring. I can't stomach the narcissistic Kelle Hampton but am glad to have read your blog.

Dziki lokator said...

Hi there from Poland!!!
First of all, I must tell You, You look absolutely beautiful and so... sexy!;)
I want to sing You (with Joe Cocker) :'You are so beautiful to me!'.
And I do hope You are singing: 'I am so beautiful to me!' all the time!
I don't know if You've seen the film 'Happy, thank you, more please' (lovely!), one of the protagonists was in a similar situation and found beauty in the unexpected (finally exposing her lovely bald head). I do recommend this great movie!
Lots of love from Poland You Pretty Woman!
You look gorgeous and I can't stop looking at the pictures of the New (Real) You'!!!
And, by the way, Your Friend's a great girl! No comments, just help, support and acceptance!
All the best! :)))))))
Ewelina
It was a pleasure and an honour to have met You!

Jordan said...

This is a wonderfully written post. I commend you on the courage it took to let go of your hair and the inspiration you have created by writing about it.

Susie Q said...

YOU GO GIRL!! Found you through Kelle, as I, too, am a long-time follower! LOVE LOVE LOVE your shaved head - you have such a beautiful face that it's magnified and you look absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I am being totally, 100% honest! I LOVE IT!! (you have a nice shape head - which not everyone does!). Glad you are to the point of doing what YOU want and not caring or trying to conform to what others/society expect. Isn't it a GREAT feeling??!!! BE PROUD! BE STRONG! BE GREAT! BE BEAUTIFUL!

S.

Anonymous said...

You are gorgeous!

Cheryl M. said...

You Are Beautiful! Bravo for your bravery!! :)

Cat said...

Thank you for sharing. You are a rock star!!! I just loved reading this you are beautiful!!

Kellee said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration!

jill said...

yep. alopecia. me, too. shaved head, yep. me, too. WAY. TO. GO. i never had any idea how FREE i'd be, not having to hide anymore. & i hope you find it to be true; i've never felt so beautiful inside my own skin.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely beautiful. God bless.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

My husband has alopecia and it started the year after we got married. For a few years he didn't have a hair on his body and now it is starting to come back in small patches- which he shaves.
We always believe that if all it is is hair loss then we can handle that- He also gets cold in the winter and wears a hat.
He is a physician and as a result of his alopecia there have been patients or parents of patients that come to see him- He has always given the same advice, no medical treatment, just to embrace it.
I think you look beautiful.

Twinkletoes said...

Beyond gorgeous! BEYOND!

krayzid0rk said...

You look beautiful! Props to you for taking that step. I think it was a wonderful idea. With no hair you can only notice how happy, truly happy you look.

Lisa said...

I was sent here from Kelle Hampton's blog...just wanted to say I'm proud of you. :) What a beautiful lesson to teach your friends and family.

Anonymous said...

You are gorgeous!! Kelly from Perth Australia

Anonymous said...

Your bravery is inspiring....your example to your children is beautiful....and your hair...well it just doesnt matter! With or without it you shine. MMP

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