New year is often a time when people make changes in their life – new year, new start and all that. Yesterday, I did just that, doing something I had been seriously considering for many months, and had been on my mind for more years than I can remember. So what did I do?
I shaved my head.
There are lots of reasons people choose to shave their heads and here are some which do not apply to me:
- I’m not ill
- I’m not losing my hair
- I’m not having some kind of mental breakdown
- I’m not doing it to raise money or awareness for a cause
- I’m not doing it to piss anyone off
Why I did it is a little more complicated, and there isn’t one clear reason. So, here’s a kind of rambling explanation of sorts.
Every time I get my hair cut, I spend hours – hours – agonising over what style to have, how short to have it cut, whether I should do this, or that. That’s a lot of time. There has to be better ways to use that time. It’s not like I’m not busy (as people keep reminding me). And I haven’t seen my natural hair colour in well over twenty years. Suddenly, all that time spent wondering what to do with my hair, and then doing something with it every day is freed up. My decision now is headscarf or no headscarf. And yet, I didn’t do this out of frustration or a desire to claim back time – this outcome is just a happy side effect.
No more shampoo, conditioner, hair products, hair dryer, straighteners … again, not the reasons for the decision, but a lovely side effect.
Shaving my head felt like something I needed to do. Needed to do. Something for me. Stripping away the mask of hair. Turning my back on our society’s traditional views of what is acceptable for a woman. On society’s views of beauty (not that I think I am beautiful, but I’m sure you understand what I mean). In a way it was also something spiritual for me – not religious, but spiritual. Getting back to the essence of me, finding out who I am. I’m 40 this year, and so this year is as good a time as any to do something like this, but I didn’t do it to mark my 40th year either.
I did it because I wanted to, for lots of reasons. I wanted to feel liberated, from all kinds of things.
How does it feel? Well, when I first saw it, I felt naked, vulnerable, scared, excited, happy, freed. It takes a bit of getting used to, that’s for sure. But it’s a good feeling and, perhaps oddly, I feel more confident.
Bean did not want me to do it. At all. He said he was scared I (in his own words) “wouldn’t be as beautiful as you are now”. We sat him down and talked to him about why what someone looks like is not as important as what sort of person they are. We talked about why this was a decision I needed to make for me, and not for anyone else. He understood, but he wasn’t happy about it.
Afterwards, Plum came into the bathroom and was talking to me when she suddenly stopped and said “Mummy, look at your hair. It’s all gone. You cutted it all off. *giggle* Can I feel your head? It’s fuzzy. Can I have some chocolate?”
Bean announced that it wasn’t as bad as he expected (and by the end of the day he had touched it, and decided he quite liked it after all).
PK touched my head and giggled. Then he rubbed it. A lot. And giggled. And then he spent much of the rest of the day and night touching my head, giggling and kissing me. Until he realised it made a great sound when he slapped my head; then he switched to slapping my head, giggling and kissing me.
Stonelaughter instinctively knew why I needed to do this, without me articulating it (which is just as well, because I haven’t done a very good job of that!) and offered to do the shaving. He likes it. A lot.
And I like it too.