30 Days of Shaving Your Head

Lucinda after shaving her head!

Name: Lucinda Harper

Occupation: Physiotherapist

How we met: Lucinda and I went to primary school together. We used to get up to all kinds of mischief, a lot of which we reminisced about recently when we caught up for the first time in SEVENTEEN years! It was a long time between drinks but boy did we giggle. All these years she’d kept letters I used to write to her about boys we liked and who was kissing who at which party. She brought them along to our catch up and it was hilarious.  

Meet Lucinda:


“What on Earth have you done to your hair?!” the stout, elderly Hungarian lady gasps in horror as I walk through the door and into her bedroom. I’m here on my regular Friday morning home visit to provide physiotherapy to this predominantly bed-bound, but cognitively vivacious woman. I have been seeing her every week since I shaved my head, but today is the first day she is seeing me without my head scarf.

“I shaved my head to raise money for charity.”

I tried to keep it simple, but she looked so perplexed I decided I need to elaborate:

“People paid money to charity to see me shave my head. I raised over $3000,” I said proudly.

She quickly shot me down. “Well, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of!”

I stared at her in shock, frozen as she continued her rant:

“I don’t understand. You did not have to shave your head. That is just plain stupid! Why couldn’t all those people just give their money to the charity? You should not have to shave your head! Ridiculous, I say!”

Well, point taken, I guess. Maybe we can all learn something from this vivacious yet frail Hungarian lady. I quickly changed the topic to that at hand – her physiotherapy – all the while thinking to myself: “Oh, dear, sweet lady, if only you knew the journey this head-shaving has taken me on.”

Feb 20, 2012

It’s my birthday. I’m 32. Who am I? What have I achieved? What have I contributed to the rest of the world?

I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend. I love my two jobs: physiotherapist and an Arbonne consultant, both helping people in different ways. But who is Lucinda? Somewhere during the last five years I had lost myself.

Birthdays always seem to be a time of reflection. This year for me even more so. The years prior had been filled with so many challenging times, too many to write in one blog: some personal, some business, some physical, some financial, some emotional.

I sat there the morning of my birthday, attempting to rub the special ‘tattoo’ cream into my latest ink addition on my right shoulder blade: A superwoman symbol (well, a superman symbol that is black and filled with hot pink). No, it’s not because I think I’m Superwoman; Quite the opposite in fact. The Alicia Keys song Superwoman had been my mantra for the last year. If ever I had a day where I just felt like I couldn’t find my inner strength, I would play that song and it would pick me up:

Even when I’m a mess I still put on my vest, with an ‘S’ on my chest.

My new ink was my daily reminder that no matter how tough things got, I could put on my big girl panties, my imaginary combat boots, a smile and just deal with it.

So I made a conscious decision that day to start ticking off all the things on my ‘mental’ bucket list – all the things I had kept saying I was going to do but somehow life just kept on letting me come up with excuses. You know the ones:

I’ll do it next year.

I’ll be able to focus on that when the kids start school.

I don’t have enough time.

I don’t have enough money.

Participating in the Leukaemia Foundation’s Shave for a Cure was definitely on my bucket list.

My mum always said I was born trying to save the world. I think that’s a slight embellishment, but I do love to contribute where I can. I had been considering ‘the shave’ and chickening out for a few years. My best excuse was that I really wanted to raise lots of money and I didn’t have time to do the fundraising justice.

I jumped online and began to register, then of course rang my Mum, hoping she would help me find a reason to chicken out. We discussed the pros & cons:

Well, I am doing that locum physio job at the moment…. I’m not too sure if they would appreciate having a bald physio….

Well, I am applying for that position at the Health Clinic for the Homeless in the city…what if this affects my chances there?

When is Callie (my sister) getting married? If it’s this year, maybe I should leave ‘the shave’ till next year…

The shave needs to occur between 17-19 March. We are going on a family holiday to the Gold Coast three days later…I don’t want a sun burnt head!

The excuses kept rolling out, and the more I thought about it, the more I decided all these reasons were an even better reason for people to donate more money.

I quickly signed up before I could think it through any more. Then I posted it all over my email lists and Facebook so I didn’t have the chance to back out.

I set my goal – If anyone donated money to the cause, I would do a number 4 with the clippers, and if I got to my goal of $2000 I would go a number 1. Eek!

Feb 24, 2012

Holy crap! The reality sets in. I really am committed to this now. I am excited, and horrified at the same time, to discover a very generous contribution from one of the companies I work for has already tipped me past my $2000 goal! I shed a few tears, moved by their generosity, terror sweeping through me in the same breath.

I speak to my hairdresser: “I’ve already reached my goal and I don‘t shave until March 18… what can I do to keep fundraising?”

“You can always set a new goal to shave to a zero?” she suggested excitedly.

I gulp, gripped with more fear. Oh shit, I hadn’t planned on going completely bald.

It’s only hair, I tell myself, it will grow back. But as I try to convince myself that all will be okay, I start to picture myself without my hair, and my inner demons start to surface…

March 13, 2012

Following some irrelevant banter via Facebook with an old friend and colleague from many years ago, he inboxed me, saying we were long overdue for a catch up.

“Sure I’ll let you know when I’m free,” I wrote back, leaving it at that. We had had this conversation before.

“I reckon brunch on a Sunday sounds lovely, is this weekend too soon?” All of a sudden I am gripped with fear! How do I get out of this one?  I realised it had actually been over eight years since I’d caught up with my friend, despite my ongoing promises. On the spot, and with the sudden ‘bald’ issue pending, I could see clearly for the first time what I had been doing. I’d spent the last seven and a half years of my life prioritizing everything and everyone else before myself.

As a consequence, I have become extremely unhappy with myself and the way I look. I didn’t want my old friend to see me like this, but I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to let this one go…. I had a choice: to let him see me like this with hair or without. So I agreed to meet him and another friend for brunch the morning that I was due to shave my head.

That week leading up to ‘the shave’, I don’t know what made me feel sicker: the thought that someone who once knew me at my best was going to see me at my worst, or that the shedding of my hair on the same day would allow the rest of the world to see me like this.

You’re going to be fat and bald! I kept hissing at myself in complete disgust.

Feeling nauseated and battling my inner demons, I continued to receive accolades and compliments leading up to my shave.

“You’re so brave!” many would say.

I tried to give a positive but honest answer to best describe the turmoil I was feeling “No I’m not. I’m petrified. I feel sick to my stomach. But I’m going to do it anyway.”

There it was: The point of this entire journey. It’s okay to feel scared. Just don’t let that fear stop you from doing what you need to do!

March 19: Shave Day

An overwhelming sense of calm came over me on the day of the shave. I felt like I had already confronted all my demons. My ‘forced’ brunch just hours before the shave had led me to accept and acknowledge all the things that I didn’t like about myself. I suddenly felt a sense of relief. Now that I had finally confronted my inner ‘demons‘, I now could move forward and change these things. All the physical and emotional scars that the past few years of my life had left were going to start fading into my distant memory, I could feel it.

And they did. I kept my head down, watching my hair fall to the floor, lifting my head and smiling for the obligatory photographs of course. As I watched my hair fall, so did all my fears. I felt naked, vulnerable and indescribably hideous. But I also felt a lot more like myself than I had for a very long time.

The aftermath:

On the surface this sounds like a very indulgent journey of self-discovery. Everyday I look in the mirror at my short spiky hair as it slowly and painfully grows back, I remind myself just how lucky I am to have gone through this amazing journey by choice. I’m so grateful for this experience and the world of inner strength it has given me. But it also reminds me that so many people that we love and care about have this horrifying experience thrown at them without choice. They lose their hair. They are inflicted with the cruel, sickening and painful side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They are confronted with the inevitability of death.

I feel so blessed that I had this opportunity to acknowledge and confront my fears, in order to continue to grow and progress into my true self. Others who lose their hair are not so lucky.

I’m sure there is some truth in the thought that when you are finally coming to the end of your  life, and someone asks you what you most regret about your life,  that it will more likely be the ‘things you never got to do, or say’ rather than the things that you did!

Dream Big. Be Grateful. Give Love. Laugh Lots.

Strive always for progress, not perfection.

  1. Lucinda says:

    Also a huge THANKYOU to Steffi from Gecko Hair and Shelley from Michelle Harkness Photography!!! Go to my liked pages on my facebook page to find their businesses!!! 😉

  2. Brie says:

    I am going to shave my head this march for the World’s Greatest Shave! I am only 13 years old and even though I still have about a month to wait, I am totally freaking out. I know I must do it, but my question is, do you think that I will be teased or put down for having a bald head? (im not doing compltely bold im doing on blade 2 or 3)
    And do you think I will raise enough money since im so much younger than alot of the people who do it?
    I am advertising on facebook, twitter, infront of my whole school, in the streets & in my family. Is that enough?
    So many questions, sorry! But its such a big thing. Its like getting rid of a body part. :S

    Oh and my last question, can you tell me a good type of hat/head scarf I can buy because even though I will be showing off my new hair I need something for when im in the sun or a special occasion.

    Thanks!! 😀

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