Friday, August 03, 2007

BIG change for me in July

Long long time ago I was listening to the Dalai Llama speak about vanity and how much it controls us, if we let it. No direct quotes here, but he was describing the release from superficial beauty that women experience when they shave their heads (a rite of passage to becoming a Buddhist). I decided right then that at some point in my life I would shave my head. I'd been brought up to be very very attached to my hair. Many women in the religion never let scissors touch their hair (and with locks down past their feet they suffered from migraines and neck problems!) My first real haircut wasn't until I was in my 20's, and I cried every time I got my hair cut, not from guilt, but from detachment.
Fast forward to a few months ago, the conversation was on breast cancer. Someone there said the thing that scared them the most was not the chemo or the cancer itself but the prospect of losing her hair. I was stunned. I wondered aloud at the culture that nurtures such attachment to HAIR! I began looking at myself differently in the mirror, trying to see the REAL ME, beneath the superficial distraction of my hair. Then, this beautiful woman took the plunge and called me minutes after, still feeling the release of her detachment. That was enough for me. I decided right then that it was time for me to meet mySELF. For too long I've been a head, with a body attached. I talk about my body like it's not really myself. I stare into the mirror, getting my head ready to go out, make-up, hair foofed, then throw on some clothes and out I go with hardly a glance at my body. I wanted to come down into my body. I wanted to be my WHOLE SELF. And more than anything, I wanted to GET STRONG.
So began the process of talking my kids into supporting my big decision. I talked to them about all these ideas and they came on board very quickly. Next came my spouse. I told him he didn't have any say in the matter, that this was the start of me being strong, and I was only telling him beforehand (the evening before) so that he didn't freak out when he saw me. I explained to him how I live in this strong head with a weak body attached and needed to change all that. He got what I was talking about and the next morning we embarked on my new adventure. Here's the pictorial, recorded by my darling daughter:

EXHILARATING! The freedom! I was instantly my whole self. I AM my body. I am all of me. It has been an amazing experience for me... The reactions have been interesting, but I have felt very supported by my family and closest friends. What else matters? My kids at different times decided they wanted theirs shaved off too, but didn't want to go to the barber. I don't have clippers, so gave them each short haircuts instead. Pretty fun...


Nicola said...

A brave move and one I have contemplated myself at times. Last year I had my hair cut shorter than it's ever been, but not THAT short! Cutting one's hair seems like a rite of passage and I can understand how freeing it is.

Anonymous said...

go my strong shorn friend. doesn't it feel the BEST. i'm loving mine too. so cool we have hairless heads at the same time, to share the feeling of detachment and the CRAP taht goes with having hair, and not having hair... x C