Hello! My name is Kathleen, and I’ve been an HTP follower for a few years. I was especially intrigued by Caitlin’s The Naked Face Project (when she gave up makeup, shaving, and all forms of primping for sixty days). I keep it very basic in my own routine; I wear a ponytail most of the time and hardly ever put on make up. Looking nice is important to me, but as a busy college student, I’m finding that my time is put to better use when I exercise, study, or catch a quick nap instead of doing hair or make up.
I’ve learned a lot about my self-confidence since I was in high school. I found that getting involved in service projects encouraged me to think of others. I became more involved in my parish’s high school youth group and also volunteered at a local hospital delivering flowers to patients’ rooms. At the time, I didn’t actually search these projects out in order to increase my self-confidence, but in hindsight, it was perfect timing. Connecting with other teens in the youth group gave me the true friends I needed at the time, and delivering flowers to sick patients pushed me to think about others and their battles. Overall, these experiences connected me with people who increased my awareness of others’ situations.
Bringing this to the present, I am now a senior in college and at a happy place with myself.
As a personal project, I decided to participate in an event for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. As a ‘shavee,’ I raised money for childhood cancer research – more than $4,000 – and then I shaved my head at an event on March 9th.
While I have no personal connections with childhood cancer, I am part of my school’s chapter of Relay for Life, a key fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, so I am quickly gaining a greater understanding of the impact cancer has in people’s lives.
This event supports a great cause, but this is just one of several reasons I chose to participate. Personally, I am considering this event to be my own The Naked Face Project. Though happy with my body, there are always those moments of self-consciousness and insecurity. By choosing to shave my head for a good cause, my baldness will act as a daily reminder to completely be myself. I hope that this challenge to myself will be a moment to grow in my respect for my body and its health. Similar to my experience volunteering at the hospital, it is an event that encourages me to look beyond myself and consider others’ situations. It lasts longer than just having an ah-ha moment for one day, and then letting it fall to the wayside.
Additionally, I recently applied to several occupational therapy programs for graduate school. In my future career, I will meet people working to adapt to a new lifestyle due to disease, disability, and injury. If they should be frustrated by their situation, I want to at least begin to understand their perspective of missing something that is important to them and overcoming that hurdle. Willingly shaving my head is, of course, very different than losing my hair due to illness, but the experience has helped me gain some perspective. Already I am surprised by how people treat me differently because of my new appearance, but each time is a learning experience for how I want to interact with patients. By participating in a St. Baldrick’s event, I hope to learn how to be strong and patient, just like the kids I’m supporting, and to carry this lesson on to my future profession.
CaitlinHTP here – I just think Kathleen’s perspective is great, and I love her commitment to pushing her boundaries to discover herself while helping others. Even though Kathleen’s head is already shaved, you can still donate to the St. Baldrick’s foundation in her honor. St. Baldrick is the same organization supported by the lovely Headbands of Hope – they do great things!