It grows back
I shaved my head almost four years ago.
I loved how it felt. I felt like I’d been in hiding, and was for the first time in years unconcealed.
I’ve often thought since of shaving my hair again. I felt beautiful bald, and I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
So why haven’t I shaved my hair again? Because of the overwhelming inescapability of others’ questions, spoken and unspoken. The unconcealed horror and pity written on their faces as they considered the possibility I might have cancer, and then walked a step beyond that to contemplating the fragility of human life.
I loved how I looked and I loved how I felt, but I did not love the constant inspection.
A few days ago, an old blogging friend shaved her head in solidarity with a friend battling cancer. I saw how gorgeous she looked and I thought how much I missed my super-short hair.
This morning, Angie posted another photo, and I felt the same longing intensified. In addition to loving how it looks and feels, it’s so easy to manage hair so short. So freeing, when the choice is made willingly.
I saw her newest photo and felt the ache of wanting to shave my head again right now. Almost as soon as I thought of just doing it, though, I thought not only of those bygone looks of horror and pity, but how wound up hair is with the idea of feminine beauty, as if a woman’s beauty is in the length and style of her locks instead of a light that shines from within.
The question is: Would I rather do what feels right to me because it feels right, and lovely? Or would I rather keep my hair falling comfortably below my shoulders because it slightly inconveniences me to face others’ discomfort? Because my husband feels like he’s looking at the wife he knows?
I don’t feel a clear right answer, whether or not there actually is one. I know I’m lucky to have a choice, leading me to think, again and again:
It’s just hair. When we’re so lucky, it grows back.
Would you ever shave your hair? Under what circumstances?
How much does hair factor into your perception of another person’s beauty?