They say you should find you niché and write only very specifically about the things which are within that group. But after reading this one article I decided hack no. My view on the matter is that if it can help anyone or if it can bring any value into your life, then I will write about it. Exactly two months ago I shaved my head and it was a life changing experience in all possible ways. I got a lot of questions about this whole event and maybe some of you didn’t dare to ask me. There were no noble reasons leading to this decision but it had and still have a huge impact on my self esteem and the whole view of myself. And it was one of the best crazy things I have ever done and I do not regret nothing. Would I recommend it to everyone? Definitely not. Here are some observations.
You need to be ready to handle it
This is probably the most important part of all of this, so I am putting it as a first point so everyone reads it (since I know I write novels and most of you probably fall off). Don’t shave your head if you are not 110% sure of the consequences. Before I did it I was lucky to chat with amazing Ella Narbrooke and she shared her “Why I shaved my head” story with me. Reading about her experience made me realise I can handle it and I can live with my decision. It sounds so stupid, I know, but trust me if I tell you it is not so easy to walk around with shaved head, especially as a grown-ass woman. You get questions, tons, people react different way and not always nice, you get attention, because it is not so common, you get “I am so sorry” look because you look like a cancer patient. People have a lot of assumptions when it comes to, well, anything. My friend told me “You just have to look happy so people understand you are not sick”.
The fact is that until I did this I did not realise how much I was hiding behind my hair on the photographs for example. There is almost no picture where I wouldn’t have at least a curl over a part of my face. I was not so fond of my face before. I didn’t like my teeth, didn’t like my nose, you name it. Suddenly there is just you by yourself, as is, and you can’t run away.
You don’t need a noble reason
At first I was thinking to let my hair grow longer to be able to donate them to the charity. Then I decided I cannot wait that long, if I dare to do it, it has to be now so I don’t have to much time to overthink it. When I came to work first day, my colleague came to me and told me: “Thank you so much Barbora for showing people that this haircut can be also a cool style, not only the option of sick people. My wife has cancer and she had to cut her hair already twice like this so I am really grateful you did this.” It really touched me and I was so glad to make him feel better about such difficult situation in his family.
But the truth to be told, I did it for very selfish reasons. I wanted to prove the point that it should not and does not matter what do you have on your head but more what is inside. And just want to know what happens. With my self esteem, with my view on myself, with my personality, fashion choices, behaviour. I would never have guessed how much value and importance do we put in our hair and how much it changes how other people sees you. So many people told me “You are so brave” and I appreciated it but also thought to myself “People, I just shaved my hair of, it will grow back, I didn’t cure a horrible disease or save someones life”. The fact that I was called brave made me really realise that hair is something we really value, especially as a women, a lot.
Hair is a part of your style and personality
As shallow as it sounds, hair is a part of your outer presence. No-one sees your amazing personality before they see you. So they will judge you based on your looks. If you are like me you even judge yourself based on your look of the day. We look great, horrible, fat, not so great, mediocre depending of amount of sleep, selection of outfit and the kind of “hair day”. You know, one you shave your had there are two options: you will either love it and feel free and cool or you will have a “bad hair day” for about next 3 years. Because let me tell you, that amazing feeling of freedom that you don’t have to style your hair last for about 2-3 weeks. After that your hair is just starting you be very annoying, to short to style, too long to don’t make you look like you just woke up.
Hair or what we wear should not matter but it still does. And there is definitely some part of femininity in having a longer hair. Even though this might sound like a totally ancient opinion to you, because, hello, equality, but be honest, how many of your girl friends or woman around don’t have a longish hair? Of course everyone can make their own decision and long gone is times when boys had short and girls long hair, but is it really?
Be confident in who you are
I am pretty much convinced that you need some level of self-confidence to be able to do this. This was a part I was afraid the most of, that I would hate myself. And maybe a great support too. I am so lucky to have a boyfriend which encourages me to be as much myself as possible and supports all my craziness. So I knew he love me for who I am and this would never matter to him. I wasn’t so sure how will I see myself. I was afraid I will look stupid or ugly or just will hate in and spend next couple of years crying and not being able to go to work without a hat. I used to be a bit dramatic when I was younger and could cancel a date because “I looked horrible”. Not anymore.
As I mentioned before, with almost no hair your face is really naked and in the centre of attention. First day or two I had no idea how to photograph myself. I couldn’t hide if I was tired, didn’t pluck my eyebrows or just had a bad day. To be honest since I was so dedicated to do it and so grounded in who I want to be with a great support and reaction of my Instagram community I quickly came to a conclusion that my face is quite alright. I still don’t like some parts and don’t think it is perfect, but I just realised I have only this very face so I better get used to it right now.
It will change your life
As I cannot believe I would ever write this, but I have never love myself as I do now. I have always struggled with self love, yet that is a story to tell for another time. I have always thought I didn’t care much about what people think or what should I wear or do. But I did, we all do, not even realising it. Shaving my head taught me one important lesson: if there is something you can’t do anything about, better get used to it or accept it and use your energy on something else.
The comfort of not having to care about my hair at all made me do some more changes in my life. I threw away all scratchy bras (you all have those, get rid of them!) and even though I don’t have money to buy a new wardrobe, I don’t wear anything which is even slightly uncomfortable and rather wear two pair of trousers over and over. It also helped me with my attempt to become a minimalist since I really couldn’t care less about what is cool this season or any other season.
If all those changes in my life and confidence were caused by shaving my head or if it was just some sort of amazing universe coincidence, I cannot tell. But I am pretty sure I would never look at myself the same not having to “handle” the situation. Now, two months later, I am letting the hair grow. Shaved head is not the style I would want to keep forever, it was more a social experiment. And I learnt a lot.
Thank you so so much for sharing your experience. It’s an incredible read and I am so glad you did it and had such a positive outcome and change! Xxx
What a powerful read! My heart kept beating very, very fast as I read through your post. For me living in South Africa for over a decade has taught me that it’s normal for women to shave their heads, because it’s quite the trend there among the black women. It’s a sign of power, confidence, and even beauty. However, it’s true that in many parts of the world, one shaved head could lead to questions and even people wondering if you are sick. I often thought about shaving my head but mostly out of pure laziness because I have to wash my hair so often, and don’t like going to hairdressers.
Thanks for sharing your story with us. It really makes me think, reflect, on how we see ourselves, our bodies, and how we allow such feature or part of our body to define us.