Monday, March 7, 2011

Would you shave your head for something you believed in?

Crazy question! But I’m serious. Help me figure this out.

When I first read Lisa Shannon’s book, I was struck by the ways I could help – listed in the ACT section of the “A Thousand Sister’s” website. One way listed was to support a woman (or more) through Women for Women International. Check that off – done! Another way is to sponsor a run with “Run for Congo Women”. Eek! I’m not a runner, but the thought has now crossed my mind – I’ll come back to that.

Another way was to purchase the video “The Greatest Silence” and host informational screenings. The purpose here is to increase awareness. If after seeing the video, someone is moved to sponsoring their own sister – Great! If they can just donate to the cause or join with someone else to share a sister – Fantastic! If they just walk away, knowing more about the struggles of African women and their heart is just a little bit changed – Super! Every little bit of support & awareness goes a long way here. The silence is just too much; I really just want to help people know what’s up.

In honesty, I’ve prolonged the purchase of the video. It was in the back of my brain “Okay, $29.95, I MUST purchase that!!” But in reality, I’ve been a bit chicken. Putting myself out there besides for a (sort of) anonymous blog, doing something real – is scary. I don’t want to offend people, I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, but I do want people to know the realities of what is going on in Africa. I believe most, like me, have some idea, but no real comprehension of the scope of what is going on – nor the avenues that exist to help.

As I mentioned earlier, I have connected with a fellow here who was born in Nigeria and is now committed to helping African women get a hand up. My conversation with him was inspiring and I shared with him how I came to be interested in this humanitarian effort. He was not familiar with Lisa Shannon and as I explained to him what HER role has been, he said “Hey, let’s get her up here!” I thought FANTASTIC! And I proceeded to investigate what that would all entail.

So, I finally hooked up this morning with the agency that sets up Lisa’s speaking engagements. Phew! She does not come cheap!!! Now, in her defense, the cost likely;
A) Weeds out less than serious inquiries
B) Pays the salary of herself & other employees with her organization (Humanitarian efforts don’t pay the dividend that someone has the heart to give)

The fellow I chatted with said we’d also need to cover her travel expenses, but then he did add that she travels economy fare. I think I like this lady! She keeps it real.

The guy also said that this would be Lisa’s first Canadian speaking engagement and that Canada definitely is quieter on the African humanitarian front. That Canadians just don’t seem to have the interest in getting involved that our southern neighbours do. Hmmm. In defense of Canadians, it made me wonder how much many of them really KNOW about the issues. I am CERTAIN that if more knowledge was out there, the apathy he suggested exists would not be such a reality.

I figured, okay, enough is enough. Time to get off my BUTT and order that video and spread the word. I had ideas of contacting churches, colleges, anyone that would allow me to screen the video and do a short presentation. The word WOULD get out.

So, I went to the website to order my copy of the video this morning and wouldn’t you know. The video itself is $29.95, but shipping to Canada is $40. AND if I have any intention of showing it in a venue larger than a home, I need to purchase the $295 version. Sigh.

That felt defeating. Back to the drawing board. *Think * think* think*

In comes my hair.

I am what you would call low maintenance. Really, I just can’t be bothered, and really, who can afford to dress all nifty all the time anyways? But I did do a little splurge in early Feb. I got my hair all chopped off (I think the lady took off about 14 inches!) and I got some schmancy highlights. I gulped at the cost, but my hubby and I had discussed it. We had also discussed maintenance costs. Naturally, I’m going a bit grey – the tradeoff for having such dark hair – grey shows up earlier than on my blondie, older sister!!

But now I’m thinking, if I didn’t have my hair, there’s nothing to maintain!! Extreme? Perhaps, but the cost of maintaining my highlights for a few months covers the cost of the pricey video package.

I balk though b/c as I’ve said; this blog can go a little bit under the radar. I don’t tell everyone I’m doing it (although my fb friends will see the occasional link whenever I put up a new post). A baldy head is a little more difficult to hide. Will likely start a few conversations (likely me reassuring people I do not have cancer). But maybe new conversations would be a good thing?

I’m never sure how people will react when I say I’m interested in supporting the African Humanitarian efforts. Lots of people get a very blank look on their face and opt to change the subject. So, do I risk making such a bold statement? I’m still thinking on it. Innately, I am a bit of a chicken. I kid you not. Class 1 wimp here!!!

So, if you’ve been reading, I DO want your comments to this post. Am I being a little ridiculous?? What would you do?


After receiving some feedback in my inbox, I'm editing this post to add that I think I communicated somewhat poorly (to a point) in my post. The shaving head thing is more about making a conscientious decision to prioritize what I feel is important. $300 extra did not find it's way into our account this week, and things are tight, yet somehow I can justify getting my hair done. My brain is working to hash this out.

I don't want to do it to start conversations, more to symbolically (for me) take it out of the equation. But I do know walking around with a bald (then extremely short hair) head for a time would garner some attention I'm not sure I am ready for.


  1. ok, i'll bite.

    so are you saying that shaving your head would open the opportunity to talk to people about the cause, or are you saying that shaving your head would mean the money you DON'T spend on hair related upkeep could go toward the cost of the video? if it's the latter, the other option is to let your hair go - or grow - isn't it?

    on the other hand, if this is something you really feel called to do, you'll probably look fantastic as it will showcase your beautiful eyes!

    don't think i could do it.

  2. I have cut my hair off many many times and don't see it as a big deal. If you feel this is something that will help you to be able to afford the video then go for it!

  3. Hi Kim,
    I work with Gary at The Mustard Seed and he passed along your blog to read. I've enjoyed reading about your thoughts on what you as one person can do to make a difference in how things are and how things ought to be.
    This blog post on hair reminds me of Wes' (who works with Gary too) mother-in-law shaving her head for clean water. Her thought was that the $30 (or $60 or $200) we spend on getting our hair cuts could provide clean water to a family in Haiti or the DR for a year. I'll try to find the video to pass it along.
    Grace & peace,