I shaved my head and I feel liberated.
“It’s gone, it’s all fucking gone”
The first words muttered under my breath as I sat across from my reflection with two handfuls of hair in disbelief at the hairless man before me. After soon coming to my senses and questioning why I was talking to myself as if I were the main character in my own Netflix original series, my reality sunk in.
I started in the centre of my head, how cliché. I remember thinking to myself after the first shear that I could get away with a gap through the centre of my hair. I could even pass it off as a reverse mohawk and pretend I’m the edgy trendsetter I’m never going to be. I had to continue with my pursuit, everything had to go.
I reaffirmed to myself that this had to happen and that I needed to be free of myself. I needed to be free of the half hour routine in the morning, the hairspray in my bag and avoiding the rain out of fear people would see what I really look like once the clouds settled. I had to disassociate myself from twenty years of styling, shaving and substance to find my authentic self. This was big, well, it was to me.
Shaving one’s head is commonly associated with mental illness. More commonly, shaven heads have been associated with trauma, brutality and the loss of individuality or strength. A shaved head is also associated with aggression, extremism and rebellion, implications I would consider myself far from in my day to day life.
I don’t think I could write an article about shaving one’s head without alluding to Britney circa 2007. Whilst I’d originally typed that ‘I get it’ and ‘I’m here for it’, I don’t think it’s fair or courteous to liken our circumstances. Still, if correlation is anything, things haven’t exactly been smooth sailing over the last year. Maybe there are deeper connotations to my decision.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been terrified of losing my hair. My hair has undoubtedly been my safety blanket, my one control variable in the scientific experiment that continues to be my life.
My father is bald but my grandfather is not and I’ve been riding the high of skipping that beat for fifteen years but in reality genes don’t work like that. In fact, I’m certain they don’t because my hairline has been receding like the tide on a beach for some time now.
My relationship with my hair has always been awkward. In my youth I’d plan strategically to get a hair transplant if I were to ever suddenly lose my hair and then I’d be fine. Why was I thinking about hair transplants at the age of eight? My therapist is yet to clarify.
Nevertheless, why am I telling you about the weird foresight of a pre-pubescent version of myself? I’ll tell you why, because I was wrong. Losing my hair was never the enemy, I was. My conception of myself was the enemy and I won’t be controlled by it anymore.
But, why liberated? I hear you ask. What’s changed? Everything has.
Instead of smizing to myself in the bedroom mirror, I now exchange a look of bewilderment to the hairless man before me. He’s not as good looking as the man before but we’re working on it. The prototype of my new look is still in its infancy.
You can’t spell ‘liberated’ without ‘berate’ and in the week following my haircut I’ve experienced my fair share of roasting from friends and family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Whilst I don’t recognise the man in the mirror anymore, I have acquired a substantial amount of time in the day. For someone who would take an hour to get ready on a morning, I’ve shaved my routine down to a mere ten minutes (see what I did there?).
Not only did I lose my hair, I lost a big part of who I’ve been and this is good. I’ve peeled away a layer of negativity from my life and scaled back the stress of making time in the day to make sure every strand of hair is where it’s supposed to be. I feel free.
I’m working on me and taking each day as it comes. In the week since my decision to shave my head I’ve joined a local gym, worked on a calorie deficit, deactivated social media and remained sober. 2022 is going to be different and my liberation needs to continue.
Or, maybe I am having a mental breakdown? Stay tuned.