On a little step stool, I stood at the bathroom sink looking up at the mirror hanging above it. Taking a deep breath, with visions of Demi Moore, Sigourney Weaver, and Robin Tunney flickering through my head, I stretched my right thumb and flipped up the ‘on’ button.
The trimmer I was holding started buzzing loudly, sending little shivers across my palm and down my arm, the vibrations surely reaching my heart as it was beating rapidly. I felt exhilarated. I was ready.
Another deep breath.
Then, reaching over to my forehead, I ran the clipper up into my hair for the first time. There was no going back. Every hair on my body was raised as the thrill of what I was doing rolled through every cell of me. My ears tickled
I stood up again, looking at myself in the mirror, bits of fallen hair clinging to my neck and shoulders. It was done. A sudden bit of doubt crept into my thoughts but just as quickly dissipated. I smiled with elated disbelief at what I had just done. My hair was gone.
This act was fuelled by a deep desire to liberate and express
Interestingly, save for my immediate family, nobody could tell what I had done. You see, I used to wear a headscarf (hijab) at the time. So, it wasn’t a loud or attention-grabbing thing to have done. It wasn’t about showing off or causing a stir. It wasn’t about wanting people to see how cool or wild I was. It was about me, validating my individuality and freedom.
I wasn’t popular as a kid, nor was I a shy loner. I was generally unassuming but determined to do things my way. I don’t think I realized at the time just how unique I was among my school peers. Whatever statements I made, I made them quietly, without expecting any attention for them…in fact, I hated the attention, because I just wanted to be myself without it turning into a ‘thing’. My one or two friends who knew and accepted me for myself were all I needed.
Once, while waiting to be picked up at the end of a school day, one of the popular kids somehow found out that I had a shaved head under my scarf. She came up to me and peered under the rim of the scarf towards my hairline. Smiling, she said, “I like you. You’re cool.” I knew she was expecting me to be grateful, but I wasn’t impressed. I might have mumbled a ‘thanks’, but my one thought
And today, things aren’t any different. When it seems like success is reliant upon being noticed by one of the popular kids, I get a little defiant. When culturally conditioned thoughts find their way into my consciousness, of needing to put myself further ‘out there’ and be this way, behave that way, do this, and say that, in order to find connection, to market my business, to find success, and so on, I recall my quiet act of self-love.
I believe that we can carve out our own path on our own time, one that feels right for us. You had a purpose long before anyone had opinions about your path and how you should walk it. We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. We can take the road less