Sunday, March 6, 2011

Beauty is More Than Skin (or Hair!!) Deep...

In my last post, I mentioned that I have been overwhelmed with how much I have to be thankful for in life. One thing that I am especially thankful for is the opportunity to meet new people, work with brave and interesting people, and spend time with fun and loving people-- all of whom inspire me infinitely. This week, I received an email from a friend, Sara Rose Roman, who is extremely passionate about volunteering and helping others, and who launched a young adult volunteer organization in Raleigh called Change the Triangle. (As an aside- you should totally check out her website by following the link above or by clicking here to find out how to get involved in participating in a monthly volunteer event, coupled with a social event as well- it's a great group!) Anyways, Sara introduced me via email- gotta love social networking!- to Stacey Alexander and Morgan Siem, two women who are doing some incredible things. You may have read about them in the News and Observer (here) but these girls are teaming up to raise $100,000 for kid's cancer research. Amazing, right?!

So how exactly are they planning to raise all of this money? By participating in St. Baldricks... and shaving their heads on April 7th!! They are going totally bald!! So, what is St. Baldricks?? "The St. Baldricks Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives." I am really inspired by the commitment that these ladies have made in order to raise funds and awareness for something that they feel so passionate about!! We could all learn a few things from their determination and courage!! 


If you read my blog, you know that I usually write about topics related to body image, beauty, the media and eating disorders. While I have been so impressed by both Stacey and Morgan's commitment to help raise money for cancer research, I have been equally impressed by their boldness in doing something unconventional (shaving their heads!!) for the sake of others. I often urge people to consider what true beauty looks like- and these girls are a great example!! I want to be clear too that they aren't examples of true beauty simply because they are shaving their heads. Going without makeup, shaving your head, not shaving your legs, etc... doing these things just to be unconventional isn't what true beauty is about either. Stacey and Morgan are not being bound by conventional standards of beauty in their goal to help others, and in so doing, are showing character that is soo beautiful! I wanted to share their story, and I also wanted to ask them about their decision to shave their heads.. and how they feel about going bald for charity. I will be doing a follow-up post in April after they shave their heads- so be on the lookout for that! If you have any questions or comments for the girls, please feel free to leave them below in the 'comments' section!


Below is part I of my Q&A- due to the length, I will post just the first part and then will follow up with the conclusion of the interview in another day or two. The second part will address beauty, how you can support these lovely ladies, and an exciting announcement. Check back soon. 


Me: How did you two to decide to do this?! 

Stacey: It’s actually a pretty funny story. The guys of our office participated in St. Baldrick’s last year, and were all planning on doing it again this year. And a couple of weeks ago, we were in our staff meeting and talking about St. Baldrick’s coming up. And one of our co-workers, Phil, told everyone I was doing it (although I had no intention of doing it at the time). Then everyone was jokingly telling me how awesome it was. The next day, I was considering it—because I so want to be that girl that will shave her head for children’s cancer research—but was completely terrified by the idea. That’s when Phil  told me Morgan was doing it, to which she replied, “Yeah I’ll go right after Stacey.” She had no idea I was seriously considering it. That night we each stayed up trying to figure out how to convince the other to do it!


Morgan: For me, this decision came as part of a rebranding of myself. I think that for so long I’ve played small. I’ve made choices for myself based on fear of what others might think, or how others will view me or what’s “normal.” I always thought of myself as fairly brave and independent, but I realized how false that was when I listened to what my inner voice was saying in response to the ‘joke’ that I was going to shave my head. My inner voice said, “You can’t do that. That’s crazy. What will people think? You’ll look ugly. Your clients won’t take you seriously. Guys won’t find it attractive… and so on and so forth.” Then, I caught myself listening to that inner voice and thought, “Shut it! I’m throwing that kind of ‘small’ thinking out the window right this instant. I’m going to make decisions based on what I believe is the right thing to do, not based on what I think others’ reactions will be.” The only reason I had the courage to change my thinking was that I saw something in Stacey’s face that said, “I might actually be serious about this…” It was one of the bravest things I could imagine and it struck a chord in me. I realized that we really were standing at an intersection where we had an enormous opportunity to make a real difference in the world. I knew that I had the option to either ignore the opportunity, and continue to live small and be ‘normal’ and fit in OR, I could test the limits of my own bravery to really make an impact in the world – one that is connected to a cause that is incredibly important to me.

Me: This is such a courageous thing that you all are doing! Do you have any fear about it? 

Stacey: I found this great quote, “Your decisions are based on either fear or love.” I decided that not doing it would be out of fear, and doing it would be out of love for the children with cancer who don’t get to choose to be bald. I want them to know that they are still beautiful, even without their hair. I want people to know that this is a serious thing, children’s cancer. It kills more children in the US than any other disease. It’s a big deal. So I’m doing something big.


Morgan: I used to make choices based on what I was afraid people might think. In other words, I almost didn’t do this because I was afraid of what my mom would say and think. I was so afraid she’d be upset with me that I almost didn’t do it. What I know now is that that was a completely unfair assessment. If I never went for it, I wouldn’t even be giving her the opportunity to have her own reaction – I was making up her reaction for her! Turns out, she is completely supportive and has said how brave she thinks it is an how proud of me she is. It was a huge learning for me to realize how supportive people can be if you give them that chance. I’m now living in the reality of her response rather than in the “what if” of her response.


Check back soon for the remainder of the conversation- the girls will be answering questions surrounding beauty and baldness :):). I will also be sharing with you ways that you can support them! Happy Sunday!

4 comments:

  1. what an awesome post!! i love it and can't wait for the follow up!! thanks for sharing this with us!!

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  2. Stacey AlexanderMarch 6, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Thank you so much for posting this, Meredith. We couldn't do this without people like you helping us spread the word and supporting our efforts!

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  3. Meredith, I love your blog and think that it's such a great place for people to come and get a refreshing gulp of positive energy. Thanks so much for taking the time to interview Stacey and me. I hope that we're able to be an inspiration for some of your readers. So far, being part of this journey has been incredible.

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  4. Great post Meredith, thanks for sharing! Kudos to Stacey & Morgan for putting themselves out there for such a noble cause.

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