As this girl walked through the city centre last Friday evening, people moved out of her way, their subtle glances and slightly negative body language reacting to her presence in a way just perceptibly different than she had experienced before.
This girl is my fifteen year old daughter, who just a few hours prior to her city centre experience, had a head of magnificent long hair almost to her waist. Nothing about her was different except the lack of hair. The clothes she was wearing were her usual casual style; she was with her sister and a small group of close friends who all had their hair. Nothing out of the ordinary. They were coming home from supporting a friend in a stand-up comedy audition.
On this day, my caring, altruistic and gutsy fifteen year old daughter had shaved off her hair in support of the Leukaemia Foundation’s Be Brave and Shave fund raiser. She has raised over $1000 in sponsorship, and will sell her stunning, long locks to a wig maker and donate the proceeds of that also.
On her walk through the city that evening, she felt the difference in people around her. She came home and told us about it, with a bit of a laugh. She didn’t make a fuss, but I think it may have stung a little. It certainly stung me a bit. I’m so proud of her that I could burst.
It’s a pity that the passers by could only see what was on the surface. A tag that goes with the hairstyle – a preconception of aggression maybe? Are we programmed to think the worst? Should attitudes be so appearance-based? It’s a bit sad I suppose. Maybe I would have reacted similarly. She has things in perspective – “It’s only hair, Mum. It’ll grow back.” If only they had been able to see beneath their first impression they would have seen her shining light.