I still remember the first day I said out loud that I wanted to shave my head. I was working in my old office and mentioned it to the other girls in a light hearted voice, almost like it was just a joke, just to see their reaction. I expected them to tell me that I was crazy, that I have lost my mind or that I would look terrible. But instead they all got really excited and told me that they think I would look great and I should definitely do it. Say what?
The idea had been floating around in my mind for a while but I always just pushed it away as being too crazy. As a yoga teacher we are always striving for non-attachment and hair is one attachment that most people don’t even realise they have. It was evident when I started to tell people that I wanted to shave my head and I got reactions like “WHAT?” or “but your hair is so beautiful!” or “don’t go all Brittany Spears on us” But I wanted to challenge myself and I knew that I could raise a nice amount of money for charity at the same time. I had also looked into donating my hair and that was possible too so it seemed like a no brainer.
But I must admit that I was a little nervous that I would regret it. So nervous that I started typing into Google Guru things like “woman shaved head regret”. But the articles that I read only made me want to shave my head even more. These women spoke about how life changing the whole experience was and how much they learned about themselves. Plus they all looked stunning. So I was sold and that day I set up my fundraising page so that I couldn’t back out.
I had a long six months to wait before I could do the shave as I was Maid of Honour for my best friend’s wedding and she would kill me if I had no hair. So I booked the shave in for the day after the wedding and started raising funds. There was always the danger that I was going to change my mind in those six months but thankfully in the lead up to the day I was even more excited. I just wanted it all off. Now.
So the day arrived and my family, friends and students came along to an event that I had organised by the lake. It wasn’t until I sat down at 3pm with all eyes on me, ready for the shave, that it all started to hit me. I started to feel anxious and was freaking out that I was going to have a full blown panic attack right there in front of everyone I love. To make matters worse, my good friend who was doing the shave wanted to do it properly so she was taking her time sectioning my hair into four ponytails and I just wanted to scream at her to just cut it off! Then I looked up to see my Mum and my sister already crying. My hair was still completely intact so this didn’t ease my anxiety. At all.
But instead of having a melt down I sat and I breathed. Then I smiled and laughed as the two gorgeous girls from Camp Quality (the charity I was raising money for) helped to cut off my ponytails. I eagerly watched the faces of everyone in the crowd as my hair started to come off. I was looking for any hint of emotion in their faces which would tell me whether I looked like an alien or whether I had been successful in channelling Natalie Portman.
Within minutes it was all over and I was desperate to see what I looked like. Plenty of people were snapping photos so I asked someone to see myself and I still remember jumping back in horror as if I had seen a ghost. My first impression was that I looked like I was in the military, like GI Jane. I started to approach my family and everyone was crying. I can’t even explain in words how much emotion there was in the room. My Dad hugged me and told me how proud of me he was and I instantly started crying (and kept crying for at least thirty minutes straight).
I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror. It was like there was another person staring back at me. But with my eyes. I still couldn’t decide whether I loved it or hated it but I definitely loved touching it. I was constantly running my hands over my head and checking that there really wasn’t any hair there any more.
After six months of waiting it had finally happened. I was bald. Mission complete. But I knew that the next mission was going to be an even bigger challenge because now I had to take my bare scalp into the big, bad world. How would people react? How would I cope with having no hair? What would I look like once it started to grow back?
So many questions and not enough space so stay tuned for Part 2!