When my hair first started to grow back in May last year after finishing chemo, I started to have dreams where my blonde hair had already grown down to my shoulders. I was distressed in my dreams as I wasn’t ready for my hair to grow back. I didn’t want to blend into the crowd just yet and I still wanted to keep my bald identity.
Intrigued with my new hair growth but still not wanting to leave go of my baldness, I grew it into a mohawk from July onwards with the sides shaved as a compromise. I just loved that shaved feeling too much to leave it go. Come September I was pining for my bald head. It was calling me like a little lost child wanting to be loved so while giving my #Chemospiration speech on stage at Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival, I got an audience member to come up and shave my head. Looking in the handheld mirror, I was ecstatic. I was Totes Amazebald again. I couldn’t wait to have more fun with my Chemo Queen look and I had missed the feeling of running my hand over my head.
My brother Niall had kindly gifted me his Remington shaving clippers so I had the freedom and independence to shave my head whenever I wanted. I absolutely adored the sound of the clippers as I mowed all over my head with precision and ease. I would shave it myself to 0.5 blade every third or fourth day as by then it was already too long for me! I loved the super tight and sharp look so much as I felt it changed the shape of my face for the better. It elongated my forehead, heightened my cheekbones and made my eyes look bigger. With my eyebrows and eyelashes back, my shaved head gave my face an edgy doll-like look. It’s probably strange to hear that a Chemo Queen had chosen to keep her head shaved even when her hair had grown back, but I loved the inner strength my shaved look gave me. I felt powerful. I felt proud. Whenever I walked into a room or down the street, my head commanded respect. I felt that my true identity had been hidden by my hair all these years and it had been set free.
As the months passed, there were only a few downsides to being bald. If I ever went jogging or to the gym, my topless visor looked really odd on a bald head so I had to wear a full cap instead. A natural make-up look just didn’t look right with a shaved head so it had to be either strong eyes or lips, or both. The one thing that did start to annoy me a little bit was having to always contour my face and bronze my temples. With no hair to faff about with, my extra time would be spent on doing my make-up instead. All very minor issues indeed.
Heading towards December 2015, I could hear my husband begin to gently plead in the background: “Can you start growing your hair back now? You’ve had your fun now, but come on, it’s time”. I ignored his pleas for a while, thinking to myself “It’s my head, I can do what I want with it” but I limited my shaving to once every two weeks to keep him happy, though I didn’t like the extra centimetre length on me. The minute he left to go back home to Sicily for Christmas holidays, I shaved my head again every few days with delirious delight.
At the beginning of January 2016 I started to have dreams where I was whooshing my long hair around my shoulders with pride and flicking my hair. I would wake up in the morning confused thinking “that’s weird, I love my bald head!”. But that’s the thing with dreams. It’s your sub-consciousness’ way of communicating a feeling to you that your consciousness hasn’t realised yet. Like a bubble rising to the surface, slowly over the coming weeks I gradually realised that I was indeed ready to grow my hair again and I could sense those around me wanted me to grow it back too. My head was first shaved on 14 January 2015 while undergoing chemo and my last shave was 25 January 2016, meaning I had a bald head more or less for a year. Perhaps my husband was right after all. I had my fun with it and it was time for me to grow it back. It was time to become a Blade Runner, and to run away from the blade.
Trivia: The Blade Runner movie, released in 1982, is set in the futuristic time of 2019….only three years away!