The decision to shave my head for this month’s ‘Vanity Insanity’ challenge has emerged from a lot of personal reflection; I have been sitting on this decision for 6 months now. But, first I have to back up a bit:
I’m not sure if either Meagan or I have mentioned this yet, but we worked on developing this blog project for about 8 months prior to Jan 1st. We explored, brainstormed, discussed and sometimes even agonized over which monthly challenges to include and the reasons behind them. We wanted each and every challenge to mean something. When we came up with ‘Vanity Insanity’ it immediately resonated with us both, because, quite simply, the quest for outward beauty and satisfaction with one’s outward self can become over-consuming and intense at times. I think it is fair to say (both men and women), that each of us has struggled at one time or another with feelings of disappointment, envy or even inadequacy with our physical selves. This month I am hoping to explore, reflect, and hopefully discover a new sense of peace (if not peace, then at least a more complete, genuine acceptance) of my outward image.
Now I could go on and on about the topic of outward ‘beauty’, but that is what this month is for!
So, back to why am I shaving my head: because hair has been my ‘thing’ for as long as I can remember. I want to fully take on this challenge, and to shed the physical part of myself that has (sometimes intentionally and other times non-intentionally) been most closely linked to my identity. Let me share a story:
Growing up, my parents would celebrate each year that my brother and I successfully completed a grade in school. Sometimes we received small gifts, sometimes money (I liked those years!) and sometimes a special meal out. On my last day of grade 4, my dad picked me up from school. It was a bright, sunny June day in the Okanagan (I grew up in Kelowna, BC); one of those days where you feel the comforting warmth of the sun on your face and shoulders (looking outside my Calgary window now, with the cold wind and blowing snow I am longing for one of those days!). I remember confidently walking up to the car, getting in the passenger seat and announcing to my dad, “I did it! Grade 4 is done!” My dad congratulated me and then said that I could choose what I would like for my end-of-the-year prize. I replied that I would like a haircut. Now, to be fair my dad’s next response was the question, “is your mom okay with that?” To which I smoothly lied and said, “oh yeah, I already asked her.” (Of course, I had not asked her permission…)
So we headed to the nearest salon and I had my hair cut into a side-swept bob (it was quite a bit shorter than in this picture – it had grown out substantially by the time this pic was taken). I LOVED IT!!! I walked out of that salon flipping my hair like Justin Bieber and glancing at myself in every store window that I passed by. Prior to this, my hair had been long – at times even long enough to sit on – and styled in ponytails, pigtails, side-ponytails, braids, with barrettes, headbands and scrunchies. My mom had lovingly washed, dried and brushed my hair for years.
As you can imagine, when my mom got home from work that day and discovered my new haircut, she was not pleased. I had knowingly lied. And, for that I was grounded for the first week of summer break. Now, I knew I would get into trouble for lying; I also knew that I wanted my hair cut no matter the consequences. So, as I slothed around inside my house with no friends to play with for the first week of summer, I was happy! I had a new haircut and I had decided on it all by myself! I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of many years of hair incarnations – some ended up pretty good, most resulted in sorry mistakes requiring time for awkward regrowth. I will be sharing a few of my hair styles with you over the next few weeks 🙂
Next time I post, I will have a shaved head. This is a big step; even for me, the lady with a 1000 hairstyles (haha).
I can handle it.
I can handle it, right?
Oh god, can I handle it???
I’ll let you know on Tuesday. Wish me luck!