Get an Exclusive First Look at the Cover of This Is Really Happening by Erin Chack

Debut author Erin Chack will be introducing her hilarious and heartbreaking collection of essays, This Is Really Happening, on April 25, 2017, and we have an exclusive first look at the book's cover!

A senior editor at BuzzFeed, Erin was first discovered through her post called, "Ten Times I Knew I Loved You," which she wrote when she was 25 to celebrate her 10th anniversary with her boyfriend Sean. The essays in This Is Really Happening feature recollections including when she met Sean at 14 and her first chemotherapy session at 19.

From deeply familiar moments like her sloppy first kiss to more foreign experiences such as escaping a bear attack, Erin recounts the pains and joys of life as a millennial through a fresh perspective and a relatable voice. Finding out about her mother's own cancer diagnosis while surviving cancer herself is just one of the accounts in her book of love and resilience.

Here's what she said about the following excerpt:

"This Is Really Happening is an essay collection about the best, the worst, and the weirdest moments of my life so far. This excerpt is a mix of those last two; when I was 19 years old, I chopped my hair to my chin after an oncologist suggested cutting it might help lessen the weight on my scalp and lower the chances of my hair falling out from the chemotherapy treatments for my Hodgkin's lymphoma. I figured keeping my hair would be the silver lining to the worst thing that would probably ever happen to me.

It wasn't. I was only two treatments in when I realized my hair might be maybe, definitely falling out."

See the cover reveal now, and read an excerpt that remembers the moment Erin shaved her head with her family and neighbors' support.

I sat in a plastic lawn chair on the patio behind my garage while my mom draped a threadbare pink towel over my shoulders.

"Should we put something on the ground to catch the hair?" I asked.

"No, we can let it go," she said. "The birds will use it to make their nests."

My dad came out of the house holding a thick, orange extension cord, which he plugged into the outlet on the back of the garage and left the other end coiled at my feet. My parents pulled up matching plastic chairs and sat facing me.

"HEY, IS TODAY THE DAY?" A familiar voice called from the adjacent yard. My neighbor Kate, a woman my mother's age, was walking over to us. I considered Kate my third parent. Her husband Mike was trailing behind her, my fourth.

"WAIT FOR US," a voice yelled from a window in the house on the opposite yard. Soon a small army of my neighbors were congregating on the patio, pulling plastic lawn chairs off a stack in the corner and forming a semicircle around me. I looked at everyone facing me. There was 80-year-old Jose Luis and his wife Rose, their daughter Maria whose thick, black half-Puerto Rican, half-Italian hair seemed to taunt me, Kate, Mike, their daughter also named Erin, my two sisters, and my parents. Dang, I thought. We should have charged admission.

As if on cue, Nicole and her mother appeared from around the garage. Her mother was holding an unmarked black plastic box from its handle. It looked like a miniature prop suitcase from a heist movie.

"I'm Karen," Nicole's mom said as she transferred the box to her other hand to shake mine. "I wasn't expecting an audience."

"Neither was I," I said.

"Well, too bad! Ya got one!" Kate yelled. The neighbors cheered.

Karen placed the plastic box on the patio table and unclipped the latches on the handle. She lifted the lid to reveal the red enamel hair clippers nestled in foam, the cord folded neatly beside.

"Have you, uh, ever shaved a head before?" I asked.

"Yes, I have," Karen said, pausing as she turned to plug the clippers into the extension cord. I could hear the ellipses hang in the air. ". . . But you're the first girl."

With a click, the clippers hummed to life.

"I thought we'd start with a number two and go shorter from there if we need to," Karen said.

"OK," I said, wondering what a number two was.

I felt the first lock of hair slide down my cheek and brush my neck before floating to the ground.

Without preamble or permission, she brought the clippers to my temple. There was murmuring among the neighbors. I felt the first lock of hair slide down my cheek and brush my neck before floating to the ground. I was glad she didn't wait to start. I don't know what I would've said or thought or felt. Another lock fell past my ear.

There was no mirror, so I watched my neighbors' faces to monitor how things were going. Their smiles got tighter and tighter with each stroke of the clippers, like someone was turning a crank attached to the corners of their mouths. I couldn't handle the silence.

"How's it looking?" I asked just to fill the air, knowing I wouldn't get an honest answer.

There was a beat of silence.

"Good!" Maria chirped, nodding her head too quickly. Her hair bounced around her shoulders.

Karen stepped back from my chair and looked at me. She cocked her head to one side and squinted.

"You know, what? I think we should just use a zero," she said, not waiting for me to agree. She popped a plastic attachment off the head of the clippers and resumed buzzing. I could feel the cool metal on my scalp.

It didn't take long. After all, I didn't have much hair to start with. When she finished, she stood back, blew a cloud of tiny hairs off the clippers and said, "All done."

I pulled the towel off me and let the patches of my hair float to the ground. I watched as the breeze rolled them a few inches down the patio. I traced their path with my eyes; at the other end of the patio, dark blonde tumbleweeds were tangled in my mother's garden, clinging to the tulips and daffodils.

"Looks cool!" Kate said, breaking my trance.

"Very cool," my sisters said in unison.

"You did so good, E-Mo," my mom said, using a childhood nickname I rarely heard anymore. She squeezed me against her.

I stepped back and brushed stray hairs off my shoulders and hers. "Thanks guys," I said. "Hope you enjoyed the show."

Karen had already packed up the clippers when I walked over to her. "Thank you for doing that," I said. "It makes life much easier."

"Please," she said. "Don't worry about it." She snapped down the latch on the plastic box and smiled with her mouth closed. I never saw her again after that day.

As my neighbors started to file out of the patio I reached up to feel my hair. My hand could feel the cool skin of my scalp, and my scalp could feel the warmth of my palm. I realized I had never felt that sensation before in my life.

My dad walked over to collect the extension cord. He patted me on the back.

"You OK?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'm good," I said. "Hey, didja ever think I'd have hair shorter than you?"

I don't know why I thought he'd laugh, but it felt so weird when he didn't.

"No," he said. He bent down to pick up the end of the cord and started wrapping it around his forearm.