Shay’s Brave Shave
What Made you Choose to Access a Brave Shave with T. Teal?
For me, shaving my head was a way of taking charge, and embracing the challenge life has put before me (A fight with Breast Cancer). I felt like seeing my hair fall out in strands or in handfuls at a time things were already stressful would be far more emotional. Feeling defeated is not an option for me. I don’t want to look in the mirror and think, “look what cancer has done to me”. I want to look in the mirror and scream, “LOOK WHAT I’VE DONE IN SPITE OF CANCER!!!”
What were your expectations for the Brave Shave?
Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. How long would it last? Didn’t know. How many would show? Didn’t know. What was the mood of something like this?? I wasn’t sure of that either. What I did know was I was determined to make it a night full of smiles! Beginning with my own. I picked a Hot Pink cocktail dress that I’d never worn. I wore my highest heels, and I even donned my tiara! There would definitely be smiles. Though I started the evening without really knowing what my expectations were, I knew that when we all left Raylyn Taylor’s salon hours later, they had definitely been met. All of the staff were amazing! There was so much positive energy bouncing off the walls that it was impossible not to get swept up in it.
What was your favorite part of the evening?
My favorite part of the evening was seeing and feeling what enormous amount of support was there just for me. It was overwhelming! Friends… Family… all around me. I was amazed at the number of people that shaved with me. I knew my Granny and a dear friend Andrea would be shaving their heads with me. That alone was huge! My Granny is 78, and for her to volunteer to join this journey with me was deeply touching, but when several others said “me next” I was truly overflowing with gratitude. In all I was joined by seven others that either shaved some or all of their hair with me that day. SEVEN! Wow!
Absolutely! It’s empowering. I knew nothing of Tenaciously Teal, Inc. I didn’t know that a celebration of this nature was even an option. I knew that I had finally found an amazing stylist, Desiree Lyndsey Ward, only a few months ago, so when I learned that I had Breast Cancer and my hair would likely fall out I reached out to Desiree for one last cut…my shave. It was Desiree and her team at the salon that shared Tenaciously Teal with me and offered to put me in touch with this outstanding organization that reaches out and offers hope in so many different forms to those fighting cancer.
What words of advice or encouragement could you give to other women who are concerned about their hair loss?
It’s hard. Everyone at least has a touch of vanity. Will people stare? Yes, but far more often than not they are staring with eye full of compassion? Will I look ok bald? For me, I had planned to wear wigs. In fact I purchased 7, one for each day of the week. Again I was determined to make this journey as fun as possible. I bought one of my wigs to the Brave Shave, but in the end I carried it out with my flowers and other party treats. I put my tiara back on my freshly shaved head and that was that. I did put my wig back on Monday morning when I went to work. I was a director in a hospital, I felt like I would have to maintain a certain appearance. However, after about an hour I saw a Facebook post from my friend, Andrea, who also had a freshly shaved head. “Bald is beautiful” she wrote as she displayed her bare head. Inspired, I put my phone down, took of my wig, and stored it in my purse. I attended my next meeting with my bald head held high and I looked everyone in the eye with a smile as if nothing changed! Is it hard? Yes, but you will find kindness and support all around you to hold on to. Cancer has touched so many lives, and your bravery will touch those who’ve been in the fight. Survivors will reach out to you with kind words of encouragement or a hug, and those acts of kindness let you know you are not alone.