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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.

1 comment:

  1. I never cease to be amazed at the power alive in you to influence yourself first and the others. I loved your hair but your beauty and person run much deeper than the former length of it. Nothing but love and honor for Leyla.