Before shaving my head for the first time I was a different person. In the 6 months leading up to the BIG CHOP I was dumped by a man I thought was “the one”, I had to say goodbye to my dogs, I moved back in with my parents (and back to a town I never wanted to get stuck in), I lost and gained friends, and struggled with figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
4 years ago… it was a perfect fall evening in the PNW, you could easily be outside in nothing more than a tee-shirt and jeans which is rare for October. The skies were clear and the moon was just making its appearance when I felt the cold metal press against my forehead and make a distinct buzzing sound as the clippers cut right down the center of my head. There was no turning back now.
I shaved my head in front of an audience of close to 80 people! I had no idea that losing my long wavy brown hair would project my life in the direction it did. The night I shaved my head we raised over $700 for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. It felt good to give to such a worthy cause but it also was terrifying. I wanted to be happy about giving back but I couldn’t help but feel sadness for myself.
Losing my hair meant I was forced to examine myself beyond what I saw in the mirror. Shaving my head meant I had no safety blanket of femininity that we so often attribute to our hair. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry more than a few times after the fact both because I didn’t feel beautiful and because I had no earthly idea of who I was beyond my appearance. A shit ton of soul searching happened and I weeded out the things and people that brought me little or no joy. I unfollowed people on social media who weren’t bettering my life, I spent more time in nature and silence with my own thoughts, and I laughed so hard sometimes that I cried, and once or twice pee’d a little. It felt fucking great.
We are told from the time we are young girls that we are “pretty” and should always look a certain way. We are told our hair reflects who we are, we are told as women to not stand out, to follow the rules, don’t stir the pot, and definitely DON’T shave your head. But I DID shave my head and, from me to you, it was one of the best decisions of my life. I needed that rebellion in a way only I could feel. There is something empowering that happens when you accept yourself, truly. “It’s just hair,” is probably one of my least favorite sayings because it is so much more to women than that through years of conditioning.
In 4 years rocking my short hair I have felt more myself than I ever did with a full head of hair. I have a sense of self that is unwavering, and a confidence in my own strength and beauty that I didn’t know was achievable. I finally feel like my exterior matches my interior. When you throw caution to the wind and do the most terrifying things you could imagine, something beautiful happens.
Shave your head, cut your hair, color it how you want, but follow your own heart. Don’t listen to the masses, or even those closest to you about beauty standards, they’re bullshit. Beauty is authenticity. Beauty is what you make it.
This is my hair rebellion. What’s yours?