It was 2017 and I had been thinking about shaving my head for a while and every time the thought crossed my mind, I was gripped with fear. How would I look? Although I recognized that this was completely irrational, I also thought, “What if, for whatever reason, my hair doesn’t grow back?” Despite how it caused my heart to skip a beat, the idea of shaving my head popped up every so often. It also seemed like the universe was encouraging me to pursue this endeavor. By the end of 2017, I had crossed paths with four women who had shaved their heads and felt inspired to follow in their footsteps. As such, on the cold, blistery morning of January 1, 2018, I walked into my hair salon and decided that as a symbolic gesture, I would ring in the New Year doing something that scares me.
As I situated myself in the salon chair, the internal voices of doubt amplified and when my hair stylist switched on the buzzer and aimed it towards my head, I jerked forward. During that moment of hesitation, I paused and reminded myself the importance of doing the things that scare me, that the more I act in accordance with this principle, the less scary my fears will seem. It was true – Leaning back into my chair and staring at my reflection in the mirror as my hair stylist shaved everything off proved to be a very calming experience and by the time he was finished 15 minutes later, though it seemed alien to look at myself in the mirror, both figuratively and literally, it was immensely liberating. What had seemed so scary wasn’t so scary after all. This is often the case with many things in life.
Aside from conquering my fear, I shaved my head to learn to be comfortable in my own skin. How common it is for society to use hair as a standard of beauty, especially for women. How common it is for society to pass judgment on people based on their looks. During the first two months, when my hair was slowly sprouting back and it was apparent that I had shaved my head, people inquired whether I was a woman or a man. Others wondered if I was a lesbian. Aside from the one instance when a man looked me up and down trying to ascertain my gender, most people were respectfully curious about my shaved head and eager to engage in dialogue. When I shared with people my reasons for shaving my head, they were surprised that I had given it so much thought and consideration. Others expressed interest in doing the same, but had been stopped by their fears. It made me happy to know that my shaved head served as a conversation starter, a way to challenge people’s judgments about me and perhaps, an inspiration for other people to overcome their own fears.
On that note, I hope this piece inspires you. Shave your head. Ask that person out on a date. Quit the job you hate. Don’t skip out on life. Instead, do something that makes your heart skip a beat.