I was about eight when I realised I was never going to be a leading lady.
For years I’d auditioned for school assemblies or plays and without fail Maria or Sam or Joanne got the main female part, and to add insult to injury nearly every time I was cast in the same role. I was one of two narrators. Looking back on it now it was probably a sensible decision, relatively shy at primary school, with a vociferous appetite for reading, I was almost certainly a good bet for a solid, reliable narrator. The downsides of being a narrator was that you didn’t get a costume or get to stand in the limelight, instead sitting at the side of the stage with your offering a disembodied voice from the dark. The (quite considerable) upside is that when I look back at photos now shared on facebook I don’t cringe at being dressed like this:
When I look at life now, a number of years later, I feel that being one of life’s narrators is no bad thing. I have no urge or longing to be centre stage. As much as I’m an accomplished extrovert I am much happier facilitating learning or sharing narrative, than claiming expertise or performing some sort of central ‘me’ role. One of the things that makes me happiest about my current life choices, especially work, is that I can dress as I wish, engage when I like, and the days when I feel I am ‘(acting) being professional’ are far fewer than before. Don’t mistake that sentence to be some oversight either, I am a professional, I just don’t feel I lose anything by sitting back and letting my work speak for itself, rather than relying on my appearance or performance in certain social situations, conferences or meetings etc. (this probably deserves a blog post in it’s own right another time).
So this morning I was realising how lucky I am to have social media at my disposal to share these thoughts, with whoever is listening, but also to reassure my confidence and put aside any inner doubts lurking since childhood. I think I’ve carved a good role for myself as one of life’s narrators, perhaps that is why I enjoy blogging and knowledge exchange work so much. I also feel a responsibility to ensure people are heard, and that those who feel under pressure or ignored are listened to. The JusticeforLB campaign is just one way in which I’m attempting to support this, Sara commented today on how hidden I am from it:
Being hidden is fine by me, really. It’s not, nor should it be, about me – it’s about Connor and Sara and Rich, and all of LB’s amazing family and friends, and everyone else working to improve things. I am just one very small cog in that very large wheel.
So, it is with some trepidation that I approach my head shave, now set for 2nd July. As much as on a good day I believe I’m not bothered about what others think of me, and as much as I truly would like to be judged on actions and thoughts and not appearance, the reality is that we all make snap judgements all the time, and someone’s appearance is key to that.
When discussing my plan with my sis at the weekend one of the things she said stuck with me, ‘aren’t you worried people will think you’re doing it for attention‘. I did briefly think of that and dismiss it early on, surely no-one would go as far as to shave their head for attention? But when I deconstruct it, I am seeking attention, not for myself, but for Rowcroft and a conversation about life and death, and for JusticeforLB, as witness of Connor’s life and legacy.
So, yes I guess I am attention seeking.
No, I’m not wholly comfortable with that.
Put simply losing my hair is scary. Not knowing how people will react is frightening. Making the choice to do it and therefore bringing it on myself is arguably ridiculous.
Still, there’s no backing out now, and the more people who support it, the more sense it makes. Please DONATE HERE if you can, and/or share if you can’t, and watch the video below to find out more of why this is so important to me, and why I would love it to be important to you.
The pledges currently sit at £1,680, once we make it to £1,750 I’ll add a school photo here of me from the same era. I actually think I look quite innocent in it but you can all judge for yourselves if we get there! Thank you all for the support.