women who shave their heads

Episode 5: This is Not About Cancer

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How do you fight cancer? With vengeance? Tears? Love? Determination? Prayers? Blame?

My aunt chooses to fight it with fire.

What you’ll hear today is a conversation that takes place just a few hours after receiving her 6th chemotherapy treatment for her third breast cancer diagnosis. I wasn’t even sure if she’d be up for doing it. But after we got home from the treatment center, she went into her room and came back out, freshly dressed, make-up on, and a bright, colorful hair turban in place and said: “Let’s do it.”

My aunt is the epitome of what it means to be brave and proves that just because you’re going through cancer, does not mean it gets to define who you are.

After we finished recording, she looked at me with eyes blazing. She pointed at our audio file and said: “This is not about cancer. This is about hope.”

I smiled. Because she was right.

Listen in at ShapingSapiens.comSoundcloud, and iTunes. And shortly on YouTube. xo

I Shaved my Head. And This is Why.

A month ago I shaved my head. Last night at an Open Mic at Austin Java, I explained why.

The audience feedback was incredible. My heart is swelling with so much gratitude. In my piece, I discuss the history of the reflected self and our culture’s obsession with mirrors. Well, right before the evening began, a group of visually impaired students came in, and I though Oh my god…how am I going to be able to do this talk now?! But, it could not have been more perfect. They were the most supportive of my talk, as it resonated with them, too. One of them actually told me that she recently “came out” and that my presentation encouraged her. I was so humbled by her bravery. What better compliment can you ask for! Another woman came up to me later and thanked me for my existence. I have never been thanked before for existing! She told me that I needed to share this story far and wide, so here I go.

This piece is dedicated to Joanna McAfee and her brother Paul. My journey over the years started with her sweet courage. I have never forgotten her story, nor will I ever.

Screenshot of Why I Shaved my Head You Tube video