The Cansa shavathon is a cause to collect money for people with cancer. You can either shave all your hair off, or have a colour sprayed into it. The R50 you pay for this is donated to Cansa. One year a friend of ours shaved her hair, that was long enough to touch her waist, for her cousin who died a year later of cancer.
John challenged me this year to shave my hair for cancer. He even went as far as trying to get the whole team to commit in effort to get me to do it. He made the statement that I am always a ‘bok vir sports’. It is the afrikaans saying for being game for anything. His initial attempts to get me to shave my head already had me thinking a lot about why I am not keen and who I am true to by feeling that way. But that one statement brought a whole flood of thinking I didn’t anticipate.
I was never a cool kid at school, I was quite the nerd. Worked hard for good marks, sang in the choir, didn’t really do sport – I cycled and swam outside of school, but didn’t do school sports that made you ‘cool’. I didn’t have many friends either, and always felt that I had to work hard to be in a friendship circle, that no one really wanted to be my friend. I really wanted to be cool, and did a lot of things to try and fit in. Back then I was a ‘bok vir sports’ partly because I do like doing things on the spur of the moment, but mostly because I wanted people to accept me into their circle and approve of me. I did many things other girls didn’t approve of, so the question is whether I was only looking for acceptance from boys, or if that was my tomboy nature coming out early on in life, or if it was rebellion against my dad wanting me to be a feminine girl and telling me how I should be looking and acting. Those questions are to be answered another day.
Today I truly enjoy being game for things – I’ll do all the activity stuff, jump into rivers, foefie slide, bungee (after lots of deliberation though), but I do these either because they are fun, or it is a fear I want to face and overcome. But when it came to shavathon, it was different. I decided in December when I shaved the short side of my head that it would be the last time and in 2013 I’ll start growing it all to the same length. To me this was my commitment to me. I also have no real motivation to shave my head for cancer, no one really close to me is lying on a death bed or facing chemo. There are people I know who are fighting the disease, but they haven’t imprinted on me the urge to make a statement as bold as shaving my head. So when John said I am always a ‘bok vir sports’, the younger me would have done it to get his approval and show that I am indeed game. This time, I don’t need his approval, I need mine. And my commitment to me is to grow my hair and get my curls back. I’ll still donate my R50, but I don’t need to make the bald-head statement.
Am I being selfish, yes I am, but I am still supporting the cause by giving money. Would I change my selfishness if Leon or Cassidy or anyone really close to me get cancer? Probably. Is it wrong to only wait for someone close to me to be impacted? I don’t think so, because it would be my symbol of support to them specifically.