Courage

So I finally did it. I know I have been agonizing over my hair for a while but I reached the point this week where seeing my hair fall out and thinning slowly every day was too much. I knew I had to shave it. I came across a blog online by an amazing 22 year-old young woman who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia named Suleika Jaouad. She made a series of videos about her cancer journey called “Life interrupted” and won an Emmy for it (worth googling). As I was looking through her blog, I found a picture of her with her shaved head and she had really neat designs which I later found out were called “hair tattoos”. I knew right away that when I would get my hair shaved I would need such tattoo, that it would give me strength and a little edge that I needed and wanted.
It took me a little while to find a place where I could get this done here (this is not New-York hehehe). I had asked a friend who is a hair stylist if she knew of anyone who could do this but she was at a loss. However, she thought of her teen nephew who had something similar done. Her nephew didn’t know the name of the place but remembered the intersection where it was done and that “Myles” had done it. I searched for salons in the vicinity and made a few unsuccessful calls and ended up going to 3 different salons/barbershop looking for “Myles”. I finally found him at “The Joint”, a very interesting little barbershop! Myles was the only Caucasian guy among mainly latinos. All four, I guess I would say “barbers” (or should it be hairstylist?) were quite young (I would say in their twenties). Their clientele was just as a young, some guy seemed to just be “hanging out” and some of the guys who were getting their hair and beard done where there longer than I was (I never knew guys spent so much time at the barber lol)! I sat down, a little nervous, waiting for my turn. Myles was amazing, when I told him my story. He initially thought his mother, who is a breast cancer survivor, had referred me. He was extremely sweet and I could tell he put his heart and soul into shaping the designs on my shaved head. He told me, he had always dreamt of shaving a woman’s head with long hair so I just told him to “have at it”. I went through the whole gamut of emotions sitting on that chair. I was anxious, scared, excited, resigned, sad, somehow feeling a little defeated but at the same time empowered by taking control. I knew the hair tattoo would make me feel more confident. I was very impressed with a fellow fighter who showed up at a colon cancer gala to receive an award with her bald head. I saw many pictures from the gala where I know many fighters were attending and I saw no other bald head. I really admire her for not hiding under a wig. My aunt told me she knew I would glam up my shaved head and of course I did. There is nothing glamourous about cancer but hiding it makes it non-existent when it is rampant.
I am so very thankful for my sister being here with me. She had shaved her head for me about one month ago. I was glad that my kids had the chance to see what a woman’s shaved head looked like before I got mine done. My sister gave me strength and courage to just do it. Both my boys gave me a big hug when I came home and just said “you look like aunt Julie”. We joked all evening about figuring out who was who because they thought we looked like twins. I feel like I just took another big step in this journey …

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11 thoughts on “Courage

  1. Of course you found him at “The Joint” and his name is “Myles” (is it pronounced “miles”?). You have walked many miles in a few months, and this video and the music you chose are an EXTREMELY powerful expression of this part of your journey. You left me in tears and with feelings of empowerment through your expressions during your transformation. The hair tattoos are incredible! Love them!!!

  2. That was incredibly moving….real and raw. I felt like I was moving through your emotions. Thank you for posting, you are an inspiration to many

    • So very, very powerful Rachel!!
      You have blessed all of us by sharing so much of your soul. Thank you for trusting us to absorb the rawness so that you can concentrate on the healing.

  3. Bonjour Rachel,
    Je te connais à peine, je ne t’ai rencontrée qu’une seule fois je crois. Mais je te connais par Julie, par ses filles et par Stéphane.
    Tu es une si belle personne, si grande dans l’âme. Il n’y a probablement pas de mots qui réconfortent devant un tel défi. Mais j’ai seulement envie de te dire que je pense à toi à tous les jours et mon ptit papa, parti il y a un an pour veiller sur nous, t’accompagne aussi. Je ne sais pas s’il peut faire quelque chose pour toi, mais je sais qu’il savait reconnaître les belles personnes et qu’il sait faire ce qu’il faut pour le bien être de ces belles personnes. Surtout si je lui demande! 😉
    Tu es superbe avec ta nouvelle coupe! Tu as toute une vie pour les faire repousser de toute façon!
    Beaucoup d’amour pour toi, et gros bisou à Ju pour moi!
    xx

  4. Raxhel you are the strongest most courageous person ive ever known! Your hair tatoos are as strong and as beautiful as you are. You rock.girl!!!! Sending love to you —– Sandy, Rich and Nathan

  5. J’ai souri et pleuré avec toi… Le résultat est magnifique! Je peux recommencer à t’appeler Rachel la rebelle, et je dirais même plus: Rachel la plus belle des rebelles :-). Annie xx

  6. Rachel, Oh my goodness, you really are gorgeous. I saw your sister, not knowing it was your sister, and I thought, gosh that looks like Rachel…..is that Rachel??? I knew it wasn’t, but felt like an idiot because I did not know for certain. The first thought I had upon seeing her was….she looks so sheek!! Embrace the strength and empowerment that you feel (I know it is among many other emotions) because that is all I see. I see nothing but beauty, and class, and a woman who is confident and strong. I know you do not always feel that way, but that is what people see.

    I rarely see you so please know you are on my mind often. I know you have so many people helping you, and offering to help you, and are probably overwhelmed filtering out info. I have been struggling with my own health for ten years now, and despite amazing Doctors trying numerous different things, no one was able to help me. I had no choice but to look at the one thing I could control and that was food. I read endlessly, and over the years have narrowed down the most potent supplements and foods (and more importantly what to avoid) and it has been a life changer for me. No more pain and suffering.

    I recently started a facebook page on all this, and a website, but completely neglect the site and only post to facebook (Wholesome Style) bc my friends were always asking me and wanting to know this info, and I know it is hard to filter out the food and ingredients these days. Almost impossible. If I had to narrow it down to the top ten or so (you likely know some or all of these, but it took me ten years of reading and learning from professionals — and these must be quality products, I can tell you where to find them if you want….not the crap you would find at Walmart), it would be a good probiotic, turmeric/curcumin, garlic oil (capsules), Vit D (you need 10,000 IU a day and most multi vitamins only have roughly 500 IU), wild/organic Krill oil (the best option for fish/omega oils), sprouts, fermented foods, all organic (as much as possible with your budget) fruits and greens – specifically Kale (I hate kale so I add kale/spinach to a frozen fruit smoothie every day and pour in my probiotic and turmeric capsule), warm water with lemon, alkaline foods as much as possible (there are many good sources with lists/guides), coconut oil, ghee, limiting acidic foods. Limiting gluten (best grains are sprouted grains and also quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat (buckwheat is gluten free), chia and flax, avoid processed foods as much as possible and when you do eat a processed food, opting for least amount of ingredients whenever possible. Avoiding artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and avoiding oils like margarine, canola, vegetable, soybean…..only use coconut oil or ghee to cook with, and olive oil can be used but not heated to high temps, best to add olive oil after cooking a meal or when cooking at low temp. I could go on all day with this. This is where my heart is because I know food can be used as medicine, and that people are needlessly suffering like I was, but there is so much info out there. Anyway, if you want me to continue on this topic or take a look at foods you like to eat and tell you how to find the right products I would love to do that. I dream of raiding people’s cupboards! 🙂 I am kind of a dork in that respect.

    Also, using coconut oil as a skin moisturizer on body is amazing for you, and for the face use argan oil if the coconut oil is too heavy. Our skin drinks up these lotions and perfumes we put on, so using a medicinal oil that smells good is a winner. I am becoming increasingly interested in essential oils. There is one specifically called RC Oil made by Young Living Essential Oils and I am going to be getting some as it appears to be one of those powerhouses as well. I promise you I would not waste your time, so keep these things in mind, and PLEASE, if you want more info, this is my passion and I would love to discuss further.

    Love you girl! Elena (Gavin’s mom)

  7. Chère Rachel, tu es magnifique, quelle bonne idée que les tatous! C’est vraiment réussi! Tu prends le contrôle, une vraie source d’inspiration pour nous tous…. Gros bisous et câlins, on pense à toi bien fort. Anne-Sophie, Camille & Annick

  8. You are beautiful. I love the hair tattoos. Brilliant idea and so stylishly edgy. And when I met your sister the other day, I wasn’t aware she had shaved her head for you. I simply thought she had a chic, short hairstyle. And now you do, too.

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