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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Emerging Butterfly

I am so grateful for the wonderful friends that I have around me supporting me and loving me, no matter what.

Last night, I was absolutely exhausted, and received a comment from someone who quite often does tend to push buttons. Usually, I let things slide because I know the characteristic of this person; but last night, my button was pushed... all the way. I was upset.

The comment made me think that there are some people who think that other people's actions are done simply to offend them. My lack of hair seems to be having this effect on some people.

It makes me wonder about these people. What is up with their self-consciousness or lack of self-esteem that makes them feel like they are the victim in each and every situation?

This lead me to start examining my own life and my past. There was a time when I felt so guilty for everything, even going so far as believing that if I drove past a golf course, and it was stormy, and a golfer got struck by lightening, that it would somehow be my fault.

When you read that, you may be thinking "how ridiculous"; after all, I am not God, I can not control the weather, the golfer, the decisions or anything else. I think that kind of control would actually make me Satan and not God.

As I was able to get through that time in my life, let go of the guilt, and understand where it came from; I suddenly had people enter my life who had the exact same feelings of guilt.

A healthy person reading this might then wonder what have we done in our past that is causing us to feel guilty for everything.

It's not that we have done anything, but rather influences in our lives have caused us to believe these things. So when I understand this, I can also understand individuals who are perpetual victims, who open their mouths and speak without a filter causing others to feel hurt, confused, uncomfortable, and questioning of their actions.

Are they truly self-righteous, or are they coming from a place of victimization from past influences or abuse? Some people don't realise that they have been abused as it is so subtle, but their actions towards others are reflectent of their past and how they are living their lives.

Instead of focusing on the actions and words of the other person, I have to be reminded of the lessons which I learned when I was involved in Kabbalah and was involved with the Kabbalah Center; my teacher taught me that each time I react to a situation, I am simply reacting to something within me that is being mirrored back.

Sometimes I have found the reason to be really obvious, and other times, not so much. I remember at one Kabbalah event where I worked the registration desk; this woman was very demanding and argumentative about the money that was being charged for the event. The more I tried to explain in a calm and rational manner, the more belligerent she was getting. I was very pleasant to her, but inside of myself I was steaming.

For the life of me, I could not understand how I could be getting upset with something that was mirroring my own image; I mean, I would never speak to a person like this, so what was the mirror?

I spoke with my teacher who told me that the woman was obviously displaying issues of trust, and the lack thereof. NOW the penny dropped... THIS is what I had been reacting to.

Most of my life, I have had major issues of trust. Growing up, I was taught to not trust anyone, to not speak about family secrets to anyone, and to keep myself encrusted in a cocoon with walls so thick that no-one could penetrate them.

This lack of trust affected every area of my life. I was so closed down and so angry, that I used that as a protective barrier so that no one could come in and cause more disruption to my life. In my lack of trust, I opened myself up to the worst possible person and allowed an abuser to enter and grasp a hold of my neck and squeeze the life out of me. This experience only caused my walls to thicken and my anger to deepen.

When I met my current husband, I felt a place of security and in that place of safety and security, I let myself go, just a little, and in doing that the pain and anger and all the emotions that had laid dormant for so long, began to creep out and I went through a major breakdown. For 2 1/2 years my husband and I suffered through a roller coaster of emotions, angry outbursts, and while I was letting these emotions out, I was burying even deeper ones.

As I struggled to surrender myself to the emotions buried deeply, and they resurfaced, I began to encounter more and more people who were suffering through many of the same emotions and experiences. They were uncanny and it was amazing how each of these emotions related to me. It was as if God had placed these people directly in my presence, coming to me for advice, so that I would HEAR the advice and then learn from it.

The more I opened myself up to understanding what I was going through, delving deeply to uncover the deep seeded emotions, the more that these people were coming to me; and with each person's story, another layer of my own past was uncovered and I was lead to understanding.

In my difficulty; and quite frankly, anger last night at this persons comment, I wrote to a couple of friends to express myself and vent. The advice I received back was wonderful. I did not need (or want) anyone to jump down this person's throat, I did not need anyone to bad mouth this person, what I needed to hear were the same words I would have told them in the same situation. I am so grateful to them for the sage advice in reminding me that in the ignorance of this individual they don't realise what they are saying and that I know who I am, and reminding me that I have done this for me. I did not do this to piss anyone off, or offend them; in fact, I did not do this for anyone at all. I am learning about a new part of who I am and why I am, what I like and don't like. I am entering a new phase in my life and I am pretty darned proud of myself.

My cocoon is thinning drastically and I am emerging as the beautiful butterfly that I am.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Brain Washing Leyla

I went to the doctor today and while I was there, had my ears cleaned out. My husband was laughing so hard at my obvious enjoyment of the water pick etching out the wax build-up in my ear, that he grabbed the camera (always a constant in my handbag) and began filming while she was cleaning out my right ear.

As you can tell, I was obviously enjoying it as I could not stop my eyes from rolling back. My husband even suggested that we may have found "the new G-Spot"!

The shaking of the camera is because Ben was laughing so hard.

When the nurse put the black frock around me, she told me that she usually tells people she'll just be taking "a little off the top", but in my case, that wouldn't work.

Yesterday, I went to church for the first time since shaving it all off and the reactions were brilliant. At first, I had to analyze my own reaction to the reactions because for the first time in two weeks, I felt rather self-conscious.

Our congregation is made up of an older group of people and it was seriously awesome to have these older men coming up to me, look at my head and say "That is cool. That is REALLY cool. I mean it, that is SO cool."! And even had one older lady tell me that she had always wanted to do it, but never had the courage!  But of course, there were also the questions "why"... some "why on earth"; and one person asking my husband "What happened to your wife? Is she going through a mid-life crisis?"

But the reactions are all alright... I've had 24-hrs to think and ponder on them. My expression is pretty far-out there, and we still live in a rather conservative society in general. Anyone outside the "norm" is questioned. I actually never thought about judgment and curiosity as much as I have recently.

A part of me feels like a rebel, but an even larger part of me suddenly feels like a poster-child for all those who want to make some major changes in their lives; to break out of the norm that society (others) have placed on them, but haven't felt or had the courage to do so. Whether that's shaving it all off or doing something else rather radical to them and their situation.

A trip to the 99 Cent store was interesting when several people literally stopped in their tracks to look at me. I wanted to say to them; "I'm bald, I have feelings, I have eyes and I can see you!" Suddenly, I am feeling somewhat like the Elephant Man and feel like telling people that I am a "human being" and not some abstract art piece that needs to be stared at to be comprehended. With these new experiences, I think about those who have deformities or "anomalies" that cause people to stop and stare; and I wonder how many times have I looked at someone who was "different" and wondered why.

We say this is "human nature", but when did this "nature" start? At what age? When I was a little girl around 7 or 8 years old, I made a friend a school; a new girl, and arranged a play date with her. The first time my Mum met her and her Mum, she was a bit taken aback; you see, I had been talking about my new friend for weeks but I never mentioned the colour of her skin. Mum thought this was beautiful because I only saw her, my friend, and not that she had ebony coloured skin.

Growing up, I often befriended those considered the "under dog", those who were different, social outcasts; kids with disabilities of varying degrees, but I never saw these kids as anything other than my friends. I loved them for the beauty that they were. We played, we fought, but we always loved each other for who we were.

So when do we go from just being to suddenly seeing?

My doctor asked me today why I did it, and she told me that there are a group of people who shave their heads to raise money for cancer research, that they get people to sponsor them per inch and proceeds go to cancer research foundation.

While I had not shaved my hair for any reason other than my own, as my previous blogs have covered, I am finding that my own reasons are changing to something of a cause.

I am donating my hair to locks of love, but would like to turn my attention to ideas on raising money for cancer research; if any of you have any ideas you'd like to share with me, please do feel free to leave me a comment.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Confession of Bad Hair Days

Last year, I was interviewed by a freelance journalist asking my opinion of individuals applying for jobs who were, either bald or balding. They asked me, what advice I could give as an Empowerment Consultant to individuals who were having confidence issues when applying for a job because of their hair, or lack thereof.

I have been thinking about this situation during this last week. At the time I was contacted, I had a full head of hair, but I had been going through my own very private self-conscious shame and pain as my own hair had been thinning considerably since being ill in ’01 and ’02; and after the coma in ’02 it seemed to be coming out in clumps.

In my youth, I had a thick head of hair, so thick in fact that my Mum had difficulty getting the “bubble” around my ponytail. My hair was often talked about in such a way that I would sway from feelings of guilt because I had so much “more” than some of the older lady friends who visited us, to feelings of pride at how thick and lush it was.

As a teenager, I experimented with lightening my hair (much to my mother’s chagrin), and I’d cut it short a few times. The first time when I was 11 and the “Princess Diana-look” was popular; I loved that hair-do.

Then I started puberty, and my hair “suffered” with extreme oiliness. I was told so many different things, from washing it twice a day to not washing it for several days, washing it with vinegar, rinsing it with beer, bleaching it, etc… nothing worked, and I had to learn to manage with having constant “bad hair days”, as almost every high school photo mercilessly showed.

But always, my hair was a main focal point. My mother always raved about it, and styled it in ways that would make me cringe, and sadly I have too many photos that remind me of those moments in humiliation when “the comb” was brought out.

In my early 20s, I entered into the world of modeling and my very first “gig” was a hair show. They loved the length of my hair, the colour, the thickness, the healthiness and thought that my hair… along with my “look” was a perfect marriage for their show.

So, the bunch of us girls who were “hand-picked” were loaded into a van and driven to a hotel and herded into a room that had been transformed from a simple bedroom to a full blown salon; with the bathtub serving as the “hair washing” station.

My hair was cut, permed, and rolled into tiny rolls and pinned to my head. I was told to not take the pins out that night, to basically sleep sitting up so as not to mess the “process”, and to arrive early the next morning so that they could maneuver these little curl rolls into the fabulous “do” which I was to model. Yes, the things we have done to satisfy vanity, not just our own, but others as well.

And as had often been the case over the years when I had my hair done, it look great – at first; but then, a day later… I had to wash my hair. From the moment hair dryer hit hair I was left with a fuzzy nest on top of my head, with long strands hanging down at the nape of my neck. I now had to figure out what to do with the fuzz… too short to roll into a bun, I lived with hats covering my head for the next several weeks, until finally I could stand it no longer and chopped off the long strands, leaving my hair with a cute curly bob reminiscent of when I was 16 – this, I knew what to do with.

The thought of shaving it all off and letting it “start again” never even crossed my mind in those days, that was an extreme left to those who had had chemo or alopecia, not me; I was, after all, a model and I NEEDED my hair. Of course, in those days’ super models that graced the runways sans hair was not quite the rave; sheesh having a tattoo automatically rendered one “undesirable” for the modeling world; so no hair… not even an option. How far we have come! 

Years later, as my hair began to thin, I was so self-conscious about it that I had a classic ‘comb-over’, only having long hair and being a woman, it was carried well. But even still, I would often have my husband check my hair to make sure all the “bald spots” were covered well while we were out.

It was a silent shame that I lived with for many years. I could not even contemplate a “short cut” because I feared that it would not leave enough for cover up.

The norms of society dictated that my having thinning hair was something I had to fear, something I had to feel shame about – as if it was a situation which I had created all on my very own.

I started seeing more and more women whose hair was thinning, and each time, I felt this overwhelming fear that eventually that would be me.

While I was empowering people in my day-to-day life, I had this incredible deep secret that I shielded from the world.

In the interview, I had mentioned that having a bald head was not what was important but rather the manner in which a person carried themselves. Even referring back to my years when I had worked as a headhunter (Executive Search) in Hong Kong, and the scrutinizing way we looked at people; we looked at their grooming, their presentation, and the confidence with which they carried themselves. Balding heads were never commented about as it was never seen as a flaw, especially if a person had confidence in themselves and their abilities.

But that was “everyone else” and I was not them; this was my own very private nightmare, and I felt like I was drowning in the fear that people could “see” this flaw and, I confess that, I felt shamed not only at feeling like it was a flaw, but also that it was actually happening to me.

Hair is deemed by society as such an important part of a person’s makeup. In some cultures it’s the worth of a human being, in other cultures it’s the measure of a person’s virility and fertility. My own fertility issues came into question and I wondered if my losing hair was actually telling me that I was useless and the world could see this, I mean it’s not like I had any children to show them otherwise, right?

This deeply private secret was crippling me in so many ways, and it began to hound in on my personal life and relationships. Hair products were my best friend and each trip to the salon, I’d ask if there was anything I could do or take to help re-grow my hair to its original thickness. I even contemplated using Rogaine until a friend gave me her theory of it causing hair to start growing in places other than where it was intended as it’d run off to such places while in the shower. I investigated hair plugs, hair transplants, weaves, extensions; but each step had its own side effects which could be devastating. Each trip to the salon was made by special arrangement to go and have my hair styled when the shop was closed so that no one would know my personal shame.

The more I delved in to my work, motivating and empowering people, the deeper my insides sunk as I felt like I was somehow being deceptive. I mean, how could I be motivating and empowering people when I was struggling with my own, very real and devastating issues?

After I was diagnosed with diabetes and other health ailments in September ’09, I realized that these crippling issues I was dealing with had manifested themselves into physical dis-abilities. It was around the same time when I came to this realization that I began to get flashbacks to abuse I had suffered in my past; abuse that was outside of my previous abusive marriage, abuse that extended far into my earliest cognitive memories. I tried to understand why… HOW… I had attracted to me the kind of man who would abuse me in the way he had. In my digging deep, I came to many deeply painful realizations. I saw how my life pattern had been developed and the pattern I had continued to follow.

I saw how I was intensely controlling of myself and of those closest to me. I saw how I was repeating patterns which I had vowed to never allow into my life again. In many instances, I would speak and I would no longer hear my own voice, but the voice/words of those who had oppressed me. And while I was doing it all under the guise of love and caring, it helped me to understand where the originators had come from also.

Often, abuse is not characterized by individual’s intent on hurting or abusing; and any therapist will tell you that abuse stems from the need for power and control. Most often, these individuals don’t realize that they are acting out the role of abuser. Parents can fall into this category, often under the guise of love and protection which they believe they are carrying out. They work with the best that they have, the knowledge that they are given in their own up-bringing, the views of the world and their protective instincts to shield their beloved child from the pain and hurts of the world. Sometimes, the best intentions can cause a situation which leads to a life of confusion, lack of self-esteem, complexes and more in the very individuals whom parents had sought to protect from these emotions and experiences.

For many, realization of abuse leads to blame, hate, anger, sadness, and many other emotions; and I admit that my own realizations lead to many of the same emotions. The things I am most grateful for is a loving and understanding husband, who is emotionally extremely healthy who is always there to help me steer my course without taking the reins; as well as my own background in empowerment consulting, specifically helping individuals find their truth, moving past the bubble of prior abuse, and turning obstacles into opportunity.

I admit, when I first broached the idea in my mind about shaving my hair off, it was done so in jest – a running joke within my own psyche, the 15-year-old in me that was rebelling against my mother and “the establishment” and what they would have thought.

The more the thought came to me, the more I realized that the thought was not my own; but rather something being filtered in by some unknown force…  The more I examined this absurd thought and in asking why on earth I would actually do this, the more I received the strong and solid answer that if I found that braveness within myself, I would be doing this for no one other than me. Maybe this was the final step in letting go, releasing, creating the positive change and seeing the constant reminder WHY.

Usually, I am someone who does things immediately and then figure it out as I am on the path. This was actually one of the first times in my life where I really examined an idea, weighed it out. Of course, I could not know what the outcome would be until I had experienced it; if I hated it what would be my reaction? What if it looked like crap? It wouldn’t be as if I could simply glue it back on. I had to weigh everything up and be absolute when I made the commitment… IF I were to make the commitment.

The process evolved naturally for me.

And on a day which had been particularly bad for me emotionally, I discussed my thoughts and feelings with my husband, my best friend and confidant, and reveled to him my desire to shave my hair. When I had initially thought about it, and envisioned my conversation, I had seen him adamantly talking me out of such a drastic move. I almost found comfort in thinking that he would be the voice of reason and would talk me out of something “crazy”, because it was a crazy thought after-all, right?

He asked the right questions, made alternative suggestions, but he was not in shock or horror at my private revelation. It surprised me especially considering here is a man who, when I broached an idea of cutting my hair short, told me “NO” in no uncertain terms. He loved my long hair, didn’t even see the thinning; so why on earth would he allow me to shave it all off and be bald?

When he was convinced that I had thought it through, he told me that he supported me in all my decisions.

I was happy at his support, but also a little taken aback.

Hang on here; he was supposed to be my voice of reason! He was my “back-out plan”; this was not what I was expecting.  What the flip?!

So now I had to examine this new emotion. Did I really want to do this? Was I ready? And why the hell was I doing this again?

My mind reflected and through the butterflies and nerves, I was ready.

I remember watching intently in the mirror as he took the first part off, and while I was initially shocked and thought “well, if we stop now, I can still hide it”, but as he took more and more off, there was an intense feeling of relief and release.

The moment I saw myself for the first time without hair, I smiled. I had prepared myself for tears, possibly for regret, but nothing could prepare me for the intensity of joy which I felt at seeing myself. For the very first time in my life, I truly, deeply, resolutely felt beautiful.

I had always known I was attractive, remembered turning heads in my late teens and twenties, but truly KNOW I was beautiful? The tears that suddenly sprang to my eyes was one of the intensity of joy at seeing, for the first time, the way that God see’s.

People have questioned me when I have mentioned that for the first time in my life, I truly feel beautiful, so they say “and you feel this way WITHOUT hair?!”

In my standing bare before people, without any coverings to shield me, or to hide my secrets; I feel lighter, I feel happier, healthier, more complete.

And while I am still working through many emotions dealing with my past, my understanding of many of the reasoning has helped me love my parents with a completely different passion and intensity. While there will always be things that I disagree with, I understand. I don’t see them as these foreboding people whom I had a love/resent relationship with; if anything, I feel for them. I see them for the first time, and I feel for their pain because for the very things they worked so hard to shelter me from, I experienced firsthand. But I don’t regret my decisions and experiencing these things because had I not, I don’t think I would have been able to be the person I am today. Yes, at the time, it was devastating, and I did have regrets; but as time can tell, each made me stronger, helped make me well-rounded, open-minded, and non-judgmental.

I have not spoken with my parents about my past, my experiences with them, my feelings, or my realizations; I don’t think it would be advantageous, but rather would have an adverse conclusion. But just because I will not carry out what most therapists would advise as being “closure”, I have already done that in my own way, and I don’t think that saying things which would hurt and confuse would have any merit.

What I have learned, I have learned for me, for those in my immediate environment, for you, and for those who will come in to contact with me at some later place in time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Take the Plunge!

Have you ever stepped to the edge of a diving board, your stomach in knots with anticipation, but yet you hold back from jumping?

The knots in your stomach turn into butterflies of excitement at the prospect of diving off this small plank, and embraced into the arms of the water below you, but still you hold back.

Or have you ever appeared in a play, and just before your scene, your stomach in complete turmoil, nerves and shakes rack your body, you know that you simply must proceed forward, there is no turning back as you stand on the stage and the curtain raises.

Often, we have a burning desire to do something in life... maybe its walking up to that cute guy, or girl, and saying "Hi" with the hopes that it'll go somewhere; or maybe applying for the job that you have dreamed about since you were knee-high to a grasshopper.

Have you ever stood on that diving board, and the nerves over come you and you turn around and walk back to the safety of solid ground?

Have you fled the rising curtain, or allowed fear to overcome you to mute your mouth?

Did you kick yourself for not saying "Hi" to that cute guy (or girl); or not applied for that dream job?

Why did you turn away from progression? Was it fear that held you back? Was it words of others etched deep within your psyche which caused to you believe that you simply "couldn't"?

If you did not already know this, those butterflies, the knots, they are nothing more than the adrenaline coursing through you and pooling in your center. Adrenaline usually works to push you to jump, make the move, take that risk; but too often we allow self-defeating thoughts, fears, and others words and ideals to hold us back.

How do you think it would feel to live a life without regret, without turning around and walking away from the experience you wish for? What if we could progress on a journey where we only walked forward?

The truth is, we ARE on that journey of progressing forward, we actually don't go backwards, that is nothing more than a state of mind that creates an illusion of "two steps forward, five steps backwards"... those two steps forward is the expansion in the experiences in your life. Have you ever been on one of those moving pavements? When you step on to them, they carry you forward, life is akin to this.When we seemingly "go backwards" we are simply halting ourselves for the forward journey, which we are already on anyway, and we revise the past. I believe that we do that to learn the lessons we have missed.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. Maybe it's the lack of hair that has lifted any "clouding" on my thoughts, who knows, but I do know that I've had quite a few experiences lately where I have been told that I move forward so much, but then go backwards.

Hmph... this was something I needed to truly examine. How often have I been on the very verge of letting certain thoughts flow out of my mouth which would change so much in my life, or stood on the edge of the diving board only to fight my way through the crowd to get back to solid ground? And don't get me wrong, sometimes holding back is a good thing; but unless we experience the bad together with the good, we will never know.

How many times over the years have I been bursting to express my artistic side only to hold back because it wouldn't be approved on by society?

How many times have I walked forward from the abuse in my first marriage and in other aspects of my life, having clarity of revelation, only to walk straight back into the same cycle of abuse; maybe on a very different scale, but abuse nonetheless?

But was I truly taking backward steps? No, I don't think so. But what I do believe is that I was recreating an experience because there were things I had not yet learned and so I'd revisit those times to find different outcomes and new revelations about who I was, and how far I had truly come.

There have been some around me who feel that I live in a cycle that trends; my shaving my hair was a definite reminder to break out of that cycle. And yes, I certainly DID feel those nerves and butterflies when my husband was shaving my hair off, but taking that plunge was so worth it.

So I ask you, what is it that you desire but lack that courage to move forward? What is stopping you and why?

Since I posted my last blog about 24-hours ago, I've had several emails from women who have expressed to me that they were right on the edge of that diving board, that they had been there for a while, but fear had prevented them from taking the plunge.

Gosh, how many years do we want to stand on the edge and not take that plunge? The experience of jumping freely into oblivion is exhilarating, freeing, empowering.

Stop putting the emotional road blocks in front of you and just take the plunge. Whether the plunge you want to take is successful or not is not the focus, the fact that you took action is most important.

Imagine if I really hated the way I looked bald. I still would not have any regrets, and I'll tell you why... for one, I know that hair grows back and I could simply walk around with hats and scarves for a few weeks, or even invest in a wig or two and see how that worked out. And two, the fact that I DID it, I took the chance, jumped into the water and felt that feeling of soaring coarse through my body, was worth it.

So if you want to say "Hi" to that cute guy or girl, and even go as far as ask them out; just do it. If they reject you, so what? YOU extended yourself out of your comfort zone and you did it. Their answer is only the second part of the experience, the main experience is that you did it. And hey, a date is not a marriage proposal and life-time commitment!

If you apply for that dream job and hate it, well you know that it was not for you; but the thing is is that you KNOW.

Several years ago, I was reading a book and a in a part of the book (which was written by an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi), he expressed that he did not believe in God. Initially a shock factor to hear such a devout man saying he did not believe in the presence of a being that he professes to on a daily basis; however, he went on to explain that he did not believe because belief leaves room for doubt, rather he KNEW God existed, because when you know something, there leaves no more room for doubt or question.

With that, I encourage you to experience everything in your life; feel everything, each emotion, each experience, everything, because then you will know what you truly like and dislike, therefore truly knowing YOU.

In the movie "Yes Man", Jim Carey's character attends a seminar and he is given the challenge to say "yes" to everything, every opportunity, every question, everything. While the movie takes it to a different extreme, the premise that is important is to see how his life changed and how much happier he was, how his horizons expanded with each new experience. I encourage you to take a week, or two, or three and say "Yes" to those things that you might not ordinarily say "yes" to; within legal reason of course.

Life is about having fun. Life IS fun, but we just limit ourselves, we place stereotypes on ourselves and others, and we conform to what others thoughts of "normalcy" is. Even for just one day, let things slide off your back, smile often, laugh even more, take at least one step out side of your comfort zone and see how you feel. If you like it, do it again tomorrow, and the day after; and record how you feel, how things in your psyche and environment change, how people around you change in reaction to your change.

I'd love to hear your comments, thoughts, and experiences, so please feel free to leave them for me below.

Celebrating your magnificence!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bald IS Beautiful!

Last week I made a mega decision to create an indelible change in my life. It was not only a physical change, but one which I knew would have to come with an attitude because it was a change that would… garner looks.

I questioned myself, my reasons, and if I truly had the “guts” to go through with it. Not only that, but I questioned where this idea had come from.

So what was this huge change in my life?

I shaved my hair!

Many have asked me why I did it, my mother completely freaked out, whereas others think its “cool”.

So, why did I do it?

My husband and I have joked that maybe I am going through a ‘mid-life crisis’, but it goes much deeper than that.

I believe that during the course of a person’s life, one goes through different “phases”. In each phase, change occurs; sometimes this change is intense and creates a massive wave, while other times it is subtle, sometimes so subtle that many don’t even notice it.

The point of the change is not the magnitude of the physical change (if there are any), but rather the change that is created on the inside, the change which creates an expansion of the individuals mind and environment.

In each phase, the individual goes through a “finding myself” stage. This does not necessarily mean that through the previous years the person does not know who they are, but sometimes it does. But what I apply to this stage is the finding of who the person is in this new stage of their life, and helping them with expansion of the mind in experience, learning, and opportunity.

Like almost every person on this planet, I have followed societies stigma of who to be, how to be, what to be, when to be, etc. My parents instilled these “rules of society” deep within me. Mother often teaching me what a “lady” can do and what she must never do; and shaving one’s hair is definitely not a “norm” in society.

While I lived this life of being the person that everyone expected me to be, I kept a large part of myself buried.

In the past several months, I have had some pretty dramatic health scares and major changes in my life. These situations often bring people to start examining their lives and looking at parts of themselves that they had not truly explored before. We often hear of such stories from individuals who “give everything up” to follow their dream of acting, or singing, or sports. Are they truly “giving everything up”, or are they simply expanding their horizons and adding a new dimension to their Being-ness?

As I examined the dimensions of my Self that I wanted to explore and create as a part of my Being, I felt this person aching to burst forward; and I literally felt this as a pain in the middle of my chest… my heart chakra area.

Many of my friends’ first questions to me when they see me for the first time are 1) Why and 2) What does your husband think?

And I know that this is just human society's rules, but I am left wondering WHY are they asking what my husband thinks? Why is that so important? As if what he thinks is the deciding factor for their opinion on the matter.

It leaves me believing that we are still living in a world where the opinion of one’s husband is more important than the support of one’s independent decision.

So, let me put to rest your own burning question; my husband was extremely supportive of my decision, in fact, he not only encouraged it, but he is the one who took the clippers to my hair and took it all off for me! He loves it!

The other question I am asked is “how do YOU like it?”

A very reasonable question; because the decision to cut one’s locks, especially when they have been half-way down ones back, is a huge one… take it one step further and take it all off… Now we enter a whole new arena, one of being “brave”.

So, how do I like it?

I don’t…

I LOVE it!!!

This is where it gets strangely amazing, I feel more beautiful today as I sit here typing sans hair (oh yes, we just shaved it again as it had started to get “long”), than how I have ever felt with hair on a “good hair day”!

I not only feel beautiful, I feel empowered, brave, strong, and fearless.

This brings me to the story of Samson. They say all his strength lay in his hair; well he must have truly been one vain guy to feel the need for long locks to have that intensity of strength, because I feel that same intensity now that I am hairless! ;o)

I have had quite a few good inside chuckles this past week living as a bald woman, going out proudly displaying my lack of hair; the first was the day after I had shaved it off, and we were in a department store. Of course, as human curiosity is such, I was garnering quite a few looks… and even more stares; my husband instinctively put his arm around my waist as we walked. Normally, my husband will hold my hand, but this sudden lack of hair and complete “exposure” to the world brought out his protective nature.

It is really very amazing how society deems what is “right” and what is not “quite right”; I have keenly observed individuals reactions to my lack of locks and how different age groups react. Children up to about the age of 10 don’t seem to care. They either don’t look, or they see ME and not what is “missing”.

Two great examples happened on Thursday night while attending a wake, and Saturday afternoon when visiting friends. On Thursday night, I was introduced to the six year old Great Grandson of the lady who had passed, and he and I engaged in a bit of a conversation; not once did his eyes venture to the top of my head and he carried on his portion of the conversation without any questions. On Saturday, while visiting friends, their three year old daughter carried on speaking with me as she has done in the past without any notice that suddenly I had something missing, or different.

And as I observe children, they don’t seem to notice anything different. But when observing teenagers, they openly stop in their tracks to stare. They nudge one another and point me out. They speak to me but can’t seem to move their eyes down from the top of my head to my eyes. To this age range, I must seem a freak of nature.

Adults are fun! They look but try to make it seem like they are not looking. Sideways glances, quick observances – several times in succession; looks of compassion, questioning, and the indelible “why?” looks.  Other’s will be polite in their conversation, but don’t dare to ask. Many will think I’ve either got cancer, or I am a lesbian, a skin head, or I am just bonkers.

So my question is this; so what if I have cancer? Or if I am a lesbian? Or that I am just bonkers? I won’t answer the “skin head” debate considering that I am of so much mixed blood the idea that I could possibly be prejudiced or racist is just ludicrous.  Plus, research has shown that we ALL originate from Africa, so my argument to skinheads and radical racists is that they are simply hating what is in the mirror!

If I did have cancer, is it my responsibility to somehow find a covering to hide my bare head? Is having cancer still such a stigma, or is it that people just don’t want to be reminded that there are such illnesses in the world?

If I were a lesbian, would it be imperative that I be lopped into a stereotype? Does it automatically mean that I am the “butch” in the relationship? Interestingly enough, all my friends who are lesbian tell me that there is not one or other “above” in the partnership, that theirs is equality across the board. Does that tell us something about the way “normal” heterosexual couples are in their relationships, that one is “more equal” than the other?

And what if; shock, horror, gasp; I have chosen this look on my own volition? Does this deem me a mad-hatter? A loony? Someone who should immediately seek psychiatric help because there is obviously something “wrong” with me?

My mother’s belief, once she had gotten over the initial shock and horror of the “news”, is that I should stay locked away in my house until it all grows back. Or that if I should venture out, oh the horror of that; I should cover my head with hats, scarves, turbans, or wigs.

So I guess it comes down to this; what deems beauty? Does a full head of hair make a woman more beautiful? Society seems to think this. But how then does one answer that my lack of hair has made me feel more beautiful, more confident than I ever have in my life previously (and I’ve been pretty well-grounded in that area in my past)?

I read an article about female celebrities who had decided to take it all off, and an “expert” suggesting that this is ‘not for everyone’, that it takes a certain characteristic to carry it off. Someone who is bold, outrageous, generally courageous are those who can carry it off perfectly; of course along with someone who has an “oval” or “heart-shaped” face. BOLLOCKS!

In taking my hair off, it has CAUSED me to feel braver, bolder, more courageous, and more outrageous; it has CREATED this, NOT the other way round!

I think the most amazing part of this whole experience are the number of girlfriends who have told me that they have “secretly” wanted to do this for years, but never had “the guts to”.

What has also been inspiring is to hear how many friends, and fans, have told me how beautiful I am. Several have told me how shocked they are that I am as beautiful as I am because they were concerned how it would suit me.
In the end, I did this for me; many deep reasons which are incredibly personal, and for some that I have shared. And I hope that in my actions it will empower others to take that chance that they have wanted to do for a long time.

Look, life is short, and if we don’t step outside of our comfort zone to create something amazing, then we’ll end up having regrets. Just do it. Whatever it is that you have been itching to do, just create the experience; and if you don’t love it, stop; but no matter what, I promise you that you will love YOU for taking the risk, stepping outside of your norm, and having an experience! 

Thoughts without action are meaningless! If you don’t try something new, you will never know, and isn’t it better to know something, and know if you like or dislike it, and being completely ignorant of the fact? It’s not about doing it for anyone else, it’s all about doing it for you and where it can take you.