Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bald is Beautiful: Lessons from a Shaved Head

New Years day I looked in the mirror and was surprised to see that I had hair. Not just any hair but girly hair that brushed against my shoulders and turned up because it is now long enough that it should drape just below my shoulders.

You might be wondering why that would be an odd thing, since I am a girl. I used to have long beautiful hair that came all the way to my butt. It had a life of it’s own. On more occasions than is normal, people who have no claim to my life would tell me I better never cut it. When I changed shampoo brands, a guy told me that he only ever came into my place of work to catch a whiff of my previously scented shampoo. (I worked in a remote site, where there were very few women. It seems a little less odd with that knowledge.)

What I am trying to say is that my hair was a huge part of my identity and how others saw me and how I saw myself.

Well almost 2 years ago now, I shaved my head bald. Yes completely, to the skin, bald. It was for a good cause and I donated it all to Locks of Love, a wonderful charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. I would do it again if the circumstances were right.

Doing this though had many expected and unexpected side effects. I had a few days before I did it to mourn the loss of my hair. I knew it would change how people saw me, but I was unprepared for how it would change the way I saw people.

At first people tried not to look at me. I did not wear wigs and only wore hats when I was outside. I couldn’t really hide it, so I bore it with pride. Quickly though my hair grew into stubble and then short boy hair. It was amazing the way people treated me, even those who knew why I’d done it.

For a while people stopped looking at me at all. Then when my hair was long enough to try and style, the looks returned. Only they were not what I expected. People stared openly, especially when my best friend and I, who also shaved her head, were hanging out together.

It was quite an eye opener to go through the stages of re-growing my hair. I learned a lot about the world and how many people see others around them. More importantly though, I learned how much the way other people see and react to us, effects how we see and feel about ourselves.

It is this lesson that I am most grateful for and why I would recommend trying it to any woman who asks if they should. It is both frightening and liberating to learn you are more than your hair, or your looks. You find inner strength you didn’t know you had, but more importantly you find strength through the unexpected support of those around you.

Doing something unexpected will always bring both criticism and praise. This experience was no different. But it gave me so much more than I could have imagined. So going into the New Year I am going to try to remember how amazing doing something frightening can be.













10 comments:

  1. hi.
    I want to let you know what a God send your essay was on giving all of your hair to Locks of Love. Six months ago, I decided that I would shave my head and give all of my hair to Locks of Love. A majority of the people around me thought I was crazy. This is the eve of my shaving of my head. I am mourning the loss of my hair a lot. All evening, I have been searching the web for videos of girls shaving their heads and I'm asking myself why I got myself into this decision. I decided to search blogs for women with this same experience and I found your article. It was a God send.
    My hair is no where as long as yours was when you went bald, but I am going to be donating my hair to Locks of Love tomorrow. This will be about fifteen days before my 20th birthday.
    Thank you for choosing to look back on this experience today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A lot of people thought I was crazy. People that should have supported me in my decision. I found that some of the best support came from the most unlikely places. I am so glad that I could help. If you need any encouragement during your re-growth let me know. It is good to have the support of people who know what you are going through.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am in awe of women who shave their heads. Knowing you did it for locks of love makes it even more amazing. Thanks so much for writing about it here. Sadima's "regrowth" is coming up. Or not. And all of this is on my mind.

    k

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  4. I can say I have no memory of seeing you with hair that long (it's beautiful btw) or seeing you with no hair. But in eithe case, you smile shines through.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If anything, the inner glow is even more brilliant without the hair. You are indeed a brave woman, Monica. Keep on writing.
    Best,
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just wondering how you managed to dress your hair up for special occasions when it was very short? I have my prom next week and want to look more feminine but my hair is currently just stubble. Have you got any suggestions? I really hate wigs and just look stupid with one on :<

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh, wow. I hope I'm not too late. I did sometimes spiked mine up, or for a sexier look flattened it down and shape it so it looks almost painted on. That look was a good one for me for a while. Some good products are Redken Rewind 06, or Loreal StudioLine Overworked Hair Putty styling paste, or Loreal Out of Bed Weightless Texturizer. Also, I know you said you hate wigs, but I found some great pink, blue and purple ones that made it really fun to wear them. (some I had before I shaved my head and some after.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would say it aloud. Bald is beautiful! Who says a woman should not wear a male hair? Replace systems are everywhere that being bald is never a problem. For some reason, women get bald for them to try different wigs every day, because most wigs are better worn with bald heads because of its slick hold and attachment.
    And you are so pretty in bald!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow! I know this is an old post, but I couldn't help but reply. You have a great soul, truly. What you did just shows what kind of person you really are: the kind this world needs more of! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a awesome thing to say! Thank you so much! It is amazing how when you are doing things for others you get so much more back than you give. It was an amazing experience. :)

    ReplyDelete

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