Five years ago, on a random Sunday morning in October, I woke up and decided to shave my head. Just like that. I spent five minutes in the morning looking at photos of Natalie Portman and Sinead O’Connor and then walked over to my roommates room.
“Hey, do you want to go with me to shave my head?” I asked her.
She looked at me and said yes, without hesitation. Then she paused, and asked…”wait, are you being serious?” Yes, yes I am. Half surprised, she agreed to go with me. I’ve dyed my hair every imaginable color and in many different combinations. Dying my hair wasn’t a crazy thing for me to do. More strange would have been dying my hair a natural brown color. Admittedly, shaving my head was kind of a crazy thing for me to do. So, I knew I had to do it immediately that morning before I changed my mind.
And I did do it—I shaved my head. I started with leaving a longer portion on top, but went back the next day to shave the rest of it off. I tend to be an all or nothing person most of the time.
I’ve joked around a few times in the past 5 years that I would shave my head again. I’ve jokingly said I would shave my head every 5 years to give my hair away. Unfortunately, the first time I shaved my head I was unable to donate my hair because it had been processed with bleach.** They wouldn’t accept it. I was disheartened. Since then, I have resisted the temptations to dye or chemically alter my hair in any way. I never cut layers into it or really styled it in any way.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I just can’t really be bothered anymore. Dying hair is a lot of work and a lot of upkeep. Cutting or styling my hair involves going to a hairdresser to do it for me, which is money I just don’t want to spend.
Past Experience with a Shaved Head
I shaved my head again to force myself to come face to face with the very feelings I despised when I first shaved my head 5 years ago.
For the first few days of my newly shaved head life, I was proud. I felt ultra cool and badass, like I could do anything. Then after a while, self doubt and self consciousness took over. With cold winter months approaching, my clothes became baggier and bulkier. I would look at myself in the mirror and hate what I saw. Standing in front of my mirror naked, I still hated what I saw. Suddenly, I was stripped of the very thing that had defined me for so long. I felt unfeminine. It was like the bottom 3/4 of my body significantly outweighed the top 1/4. I didn’t have my hair to proportion me out anymore.
Immediately, I set out to regrow my hair. Of course, that took a lot of time. I wore hats the majority of that winter until I had a pixie cut by Spring. The hats helped to hide me, and also winter with a shaved head is really cold…
I even wore wigs for a time to hide the regrowth process.
Now, you may be asking yourself, why on earth would you shave your head again if that’s what you experienced? I guess it’s to challenge myself. I want to challenge myself to be kinder to myself and dish out more self love. Have I become more forgiving and accepting of myself? And really, I just want to see how this experience will differ. Before, I felt unfeminine, but my logical brain knows that hair in no way defines my femininity. Why do I even feel the need to be feminine? I’m sure I will fall back into self doubt and shame myself. However, I am hoping that those moments are few and far between this time round. I feel I am a stronger person who can quiet those self-deprecating thoughts now.
So, who knows if I will end up wearing more hats again or purchase a few wigs to hide behind? I’m trying to tell myself that I am worth more than my hair and my hair doesn’t define who I am. Appearances shouldn’t matter. While I practice non-judgement with others, it’s time to practice on myself.
I’ll be sure to post an update in a few months time on my take 2 experience. Right now though, I feel pretty damn cool again.
A big big thank you to Charlotte at Hairosmith in Godalming for helping me with this. She was super supportive and made sure we ticked all of the boxes in order to donate my hair. She’s an absolute gem.
**The charity I have donated my hair to, Little Princess Trust, does accept bleached hair, but I didn’t live in the UK 5 years ago nor did I know about them back then. Also, my hair had a blue tint in it at the time. If you have bleached hair and are considering chopping it off, check out their site. Or donating your hair in general. They accept all sorts.