By Emma Simon, guest writer

In first grade, my best friend and I created a game called “Superheroes.” Our superhuman job was to walk around the playground and pick up litter. We loved it because we got to be superheroes, and we were helping people. As you can probably guess, I have never been the most “popular” girl in school.
In fact, I was bullied quite a bit throughout grade school and middle school. I had always been shy, but when my third-grade crush said he would “never like a fat and ugly pig of a person,” I started to isolate myself and hate my appearance.

Junior year was when I finally realized what it takes to be beautiful. It was not a particular thing that made me “find the light;” I just got older and realized that no one other than myself gets to define who I am or how I view myself. All you need is confidence — confidence in yourself and your capabilities. It is with this confidence I am embarking on my next endeavor.
This fall, I finally became the superhero I dreamed of being as a little kid; I signed up as a shavee for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Although ten years have passed, I still want to be the superhero I dreamed of being in first grade. I was put in this world to help others — to make a difference.

I hope to raise money to help the kids with cancer achieve their dreams. I have used word of mouth, social media and posters that I have hung up around school and in buildings around my hometown to spread the word. My efforts have yielded $1,900 so far. I have also reached out to the Mount Prospect Daily Journal in hopes of getting something in there as well. There’s still almost two weeks to go, and I’m hoping to surpass my original goal of $2,000 raised for childhood cancer research before the big shave on April 1st.

I want to shave off my almost-twenty-two inches of hair to show that everyone can be beautiful. I am not perfect, but that does not mean I am not beautiful. I want to show little girls that it should not take sixteen years for them to realize that they are beautiful just the way they are. Hair is an accessory, not a necessity.
That said, I am still extremely nervous for the shave. No matter how confident I have become in recent years, I am still a vulnerable, self-conscious teenage girl who has depended on her hair for her entire life. My hair is what I am complimented on the most, and I am truly scared to see if I will like what I look like without my hair.

In fact, I have struggled with this internal debate since I officially decided to shave my head. Even though this is an amazing thing to do, and I know I will never regret it no matter what I look like bald, a part of me is still very anxious for what happens after the shave is done and fears I will not like what I see.

But every day, that part of me loses to the larger part of me that is extremely empowered and proud of what I am doing. I love my hair, but I know some little kid is going to love it even more, and my hair will grow back eventually. I am not going to pretend that I’m not nervous because of course I’m nervous! But being nervous about something doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. I am excited to shave my head and give some little kid the hair I have been complimented so much on, raise money to help find a cure for childhood cancer and rock my bald head, proving to myself and those around me that hair isn’t necessary for confidence or for beauty.

I may not be able to cure cancer or completely alter society’s view on beauty with my single fundraiser, but I can make a difference, even if it is a small one. I want to shave my head so I can be the change I want to see in the world. I am shaving my head so I can be the hero I dreamed of being years ago, and so I can do something meaningful in my life. I am choosing to shave my head for all the little kids who do not get the luxury of a choice.
To donate to my cause, click here!