I wrote about feeling unfeminine and the self deprecating thoughts I experienced the first time I shaved my hair off in my post explaining why I shave my head. I had tentatively decided all of those years ago that I would shave my head every five years to challenge my sense of self. Since my first experience shaving my head was actually quite negative, I wanted to see what would happen this time. I wanted to challenge those negative body image issues I had in the past. My hair did not define me and shaving my head was a way to prove that to myself. I didn’t need it to feel good about myself. These were the intentions I set for myself.
Goodbye Self Doubt and Self Consciousness
I seriously doubted myself the first time I shaved my head. Self consciousness over my looks invaded my daily thoughts. However, these feelings were almost nonexistent on my take 2 journey. I attempted to keep a log of my daily feelings and thoughts when I shaved my head, but I’m a chronic terrible journal keeper. I got as far as 3 days before the log stops. The log is basically:
Day 1: feels like a badass again
Day 2: lots of loving support, people are awesome.
Day 3: keeps rubbing head
There were times (of course) that I would wake up in the morning and think “ughh, why did I do this?” But they were so rare this time. I think it’s natural for anyone, regardless if you have lots of hair or no hair, to wake up some days and feel miserable about the way you look. Some days we just feel like shit. Hopefully, though, we don’t let those thoughts stick with us. I had a lot of trouble with that the first time I buzzed all my hair off, but my confidence in who I am as a person has grown so much in the past 5 years. I actually liked my shaved head so much this time around that I shaved it again a few weeks later for my trip to Portugal.
In my “Why I Shave My Head” post, I talked quite a bit about feeling unfeminine during the first experience. Between 2012 and now, I mostly just stopped caring about being, feeling, or looking feminine. That probably stems from my time backpacking and hiking around South Korea and New Zealand. When you can only fit a few things in a pack to live off of, things I used to cling to like makeup, a million outfit choices, and hair products, seemed so unpractical. (Though when I lived in Korea, I would say I felt the pressure to look very feminine by wearing lots of makeup and dressing impeccable. Once I left, I pretty much dropped it instantly.)
My journey into yoga during the past several years has also altered my perception of the feminine. (And is a big contributing factor to my better sense of self.) I care less about how I look and more about how I feel. Both in body and in mind.
My understanding of the feminine is constantly changing. I’m still not sure where I stand in my relationship with her, but that’s a topic for another day.
The Awkward Fuzzy Peach Phase
This phase is unavoidable once you start to grow your hair back out. Having a shaved head is absolutely no problem for me. The growing out phase, on the other hand, is a nightmare. You literally just have to not care what your hair looks like on any given day. I measured my hair at one point. It was 2 inches long and stuck straight up. Nothing I did would get it to fall flat. At work, I endured dozens of “did you have a fright this morning?” “wake up on the wrong side of bed, did you?” The comments got old real fast.
Despite this awkward phase of growing out, it was actually hassle free. Once you get over the fact you can’t control it or really do anything with it, maintenance is nil. It also doesn’t last too long…maybe.
Photo below featuring a rare moment of makeup on while at a wedding. I tend to avoid taking photos of myself during the fuzzy peach phase. I think these are the only two I have.
I just don’t care about my hair anymore. I don’t care what it looks like, if it’s disheveled, or if it’s long in some parts and short in others. Hair hygiene is still important to me, but I feel like that’s separate under general cleanliness. I love myself both with no hair and with lots of hair. I’m all for practical hair. I purposefully shaved it in the Spring for my take 2 so that I could enjoy a summer of breezes on my near-bare scalp. I’m growing it out in time for winter and will continue to let it grow for another 5 years. (Or if I get sick of my long hair before then, well…less than that)
I like to keep my hair healthy in order to donate it, but if you want to shave your head, you shouldn’t feel pressured to grow it out a certain length to do it.
Barbara, from @herinternest on Instagram, wrote a lovely blog post on why shaving her head was the best idea. We talked at length through direct messages before she shaved her head and I am so incredibly happy her experience was such as positive one. In her post, she talks about not needing a noble reason, like to donate to charity, in order to shave your head. I 100% agree with this. Part of why I shave my head is to donate to charity, but my reasons don’t have to be yours.
I encourage that if you’re thinking about shaving your head, to not compare your reasons with other people’s. You’re doing it for you and no one else. Or maybe you are doing it for someone else and that’s cool too! Just be strong and confident in your decision.