Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bald?


Turning on the news this morning, I heard that Britany Spears has shaved her head.

Don't click away yet. This is not about Britany Spears. I couldn't care less what that woman does. However, it is about women with shaved heads.

Personally, I have no problem with it. Four or five years ago, I tried the look myself. It looked okay but that isn't why I did it.

Before actually taking shears to my head, I thought about it for quite a while. Probably for six months or more. Before doing it, I bought a wig. If it felt absolutely horrid and I hated it, I'd be able to wear a wig for a few months until it grew out.

The reason I finally did it is because I wanted to see what the experience would communicate to me. It would be interesting to know if I could take such a step, knowing the possible ramifications. I'd read a book by Tenzin Palmo and she discussed the shaving of her own head as part of her commitment to Buddhism and simplicity. It was a visual reminder to be mindful.

I did it in Spring. The weather was beginning to get warm and I was spending more time in the garden. I put my wig on the table, looked at it and felt some security in its presence, took the scissors and cut my hair as short as possible. I then took the shears and finished the job.

At first glance, it was startling! I was grateful that I didn't look like a short pudgy little troll. Actually, it wasn't all that bad. With my sharp features, it looked pretty good although I'm certainly no Sinead O'Connor.

Over the remainder of the day, it began to feel better and better. Out in the garden, the sun felt wonderful on my bare skin. The breeze felt great. It made me very aware of skin sensations.

As time went along, it created a shift in my consciousness. It did remind me to be mindful, to eliminate attachment to silliness like hair styles and grooming for vanity rather than cleanliness. It reminded me of those women who'd lost their hair due to cancer treatments. It reminded me of those who had diseases or disorders that stripped them of their hair and there was nothing voluntary in it for them.

It also created a feeling of freedom that I'd never known. That part isn't easily described in words but it was a feeling I thoroughly enjoyed.

Do I recommend it? Not particularly. It takes a certain kind of person to do something so radical. Thick skin is really necessary because people will gawk and stare ~ or alternatively give long pitying looks. If you have a rebellious streak, it is definitely a way to spit in the eye of dominant culture. It is a good way to make a very conscious and deliberate break from vanity. It's raw, it's basic, it's simple.. and some may even say it's sexy. That's a completely individual choice.

I would say that if the desire is there, it's worth doing it. It's an interesting experience.


Peace,


~Chani

10 comments:

Lucia said...

A lovely, thought-provoking post. It was interesting to me how it felt physically to you. Most of the women, girls and men here in Rwanda have their hair cut very short, and in one way, I was feeling sorry for them living with almost new hair. Amusing, huh?

ellie bee said...

WOW. I mean WOW!!!!! I cannot imagine doing anything so openly radical, and brave. I know that hair is impermanent, an accessory that can easily be lost by bad luck or fortune...but, did I say WOW? I pride myself on not really caring about my hair--it is sort of a given (once I dye the roots every 4 weeks or so), but the thought of deliberately giving it up...wow. I'll be thinking about this one all day....

Lucia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anvilcloud said...

Even though I'm bald on top, I prefer the side fringe. I did try skimming it very short to get the feel of being shaved, but I didn't prefer it. Wrong shape of head maybe.

Sober Briquette said...

Very interesting. I've often thought about shaving my head, most recently 3 yrs ago when my sister lost hers due to chemo, but she wasn't too happy about it and wouldn't have considered it a gesture of support. Short hair is much easier than long, but mine grows quickly and if I tried to cut it myself I'd definitely look like a mental patient. What did you do when it grew in? Shave it again or let it grow out? Can you tell some more about that process? (Is it obvious that I need a trim)

MsLittlePea said...

oh man! I'm too vain, I guess, to do that voluntarily. It sounded like it was a good experience for you.

meno said...

I salute you for having the courage to shave your head. It's got me thinking......

Since this is America, i could shave my head and then write "This Space Available" on one side and "Your Message Here" on the other. Maybe make some $.

Laurie said...

Very interesting post! You continue to amaze me Chani.

Pam said...

I've always had a tendency to be a little vain about my hair. I'm over it now. The damage to my hands from ALS has made it impossible to do anything with it so I've had to have it cut very short. It certainly isn't my best look but have let my vanity go for the bigger picture, and am a better person for it. I'm not brave enough to shave it, though.

QT said...

Chani - you are a brave woman - I could not do that willingly! I am vey attached to my hair, I feel like it is the one thing I've got that is just naturally beautiful and there, and I have cut it short once in the past 20 years, nevemind shaving my head!

I know I'm vain, but I will go into town without any makeup on, no problem. But shave my head - it gives me chills just thinking about it.