Day 45- The Last One

Easter Sunday is tomorrow, the day when we rejoice the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, and celebrate forgiveness. The day that Lent finishes. But I know that my journey does not end with Lent. I have learnt so much over the last 45 days. There have been good days and there have been bad days, but I suppose that’s the point. You need the bad days to appreciate the good ones, and when the bad days get too much, that’s when you need to ask for help.

I have learnt that when you have a buzzcut, it is of paramount importance to only use a tiny bit of shampoo, otherwise the suds get in your eyes and it stings SO MUCH. I have learnt that a dramatic haircut can leave you feeling constantly cold, especially if you happen to live on the fringe of the Arctic circle and it’s the middle of winter (dipstick.). I have learnt that humans are extremely tactile, and love to touch new hair. And that short hair is INCREDIBLY easy (I’m talking 1 minute to wash and dry your hair people!). I have also learnt that what my body can do is so much more important than what it looks like.

I have learnt how many associations society has with certain hairstyles, and how damaging it is that we have those associations. I have learnt that as a woman, society has forced upon me a very strange relationship with hair, and that I needed to breakdown this relationship and start again by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I have learnt that perfection is a dangerous, unfair concept, and that Jesus was the only perfect human. And that being gracious matters more than being graceful.

I have learnt that the majority of the time when I feel judged, it’s all in my head because I project my negativity. I need to stop judging people in order to stop feeling judged. I have learnt that contentment and love is the key to all of this, and that it is our differences that unite us as humanity. This unity and love has shown me that I can depend on people, and that they fuel my own love and strength.

Most importantly, I have learnt that I am more than just my hair. My worth does not lie in what I look like. I have more self-confidence and strength than I could ever have imagined. My worth lies in the fact that God loved me so much that He died for me. That’s amazing. And that fact leaves me with a never-ending capacity to love, and an assured hope that He has a plan so there is nothing to be afraid of.

I suppose I kind of already knew all of this one some level really. It just required some reflection, thought and a bit of an extreme change to realise that I knew it.

So there we have it. That’s the story of the year that I gave up my hair for Lent. I’m kind of worried now though, because how will my next Lenten sacrifice EVER live up to this?!

Day 45- The Last One

Day 41- Fear

When I think back to deciding to cut my hair, fear was the thing that would have held me back. Fear of what people would think, fear of what I would look like, fear of how I would feel. Cutting my hair has helped me to let go of my fear for four reasons:

  1. People are generally nicer than we think or give them credit for. The media wants us to believe that “catty women” and “spiteful men” are always tearing each other down, and I’m not naive enough to think that this doesn’t happen. However, this is NOT the rule. If I assume judgement and unkindness, these things become true for me and how I interpret others’ actions, and thus can even become self-fulfilling prophecies. However, if I assume love, kindness and acceptance of others, then I approach people differently and that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  2. People are going to make assumptions of me based on how I look, and that’s ok, because I make assumptions of people too. But I need to work to breakdown my assumptions, and that will in turn help others breakdown their assumptions. I know that these assumptions aren’t true, and I have become confident and secure enough with how I look that I don’t mind if people make assumptions because they don’t define me. How I feel affects how I look, but how I look should not affect how I feel, because how I look (and the length of my hair) does not change who I am.
  3. Not many people know this, but I suffered from depression a few years ago. I underwent treatment, and made it through. But I was TERRIFIED that shaving my head might send me back there. It hasn’t. Yes, there were bad days, but the good days far outweighed them. And more importantly, I made it through those bad days. It has proven to me that it is definitely possible to beat depression, and that I don’t need to live my life in fear of it, because if it does come back, I can make it through again.
  4. I have an amazing network of people and a phenomenal God on who I can totally, entirely and utterly depend. I am not on my own because I am loved and because I love.
Day 41- Fear

Day 40- Everybody’s Doing It

When I first decided to give up my hair for lent, the original plan was to keep it buzzed for all 46 days. Unfortunately, the cold has made this impossible.

People keep asking now, as Lent comes to an end, if I plan on keeping my hair short. The truth is that I’m not sure yet. What I do know is that this journey has changed my view of hair, and now I just see it as a resource, a resource that I happen to have an awful lot of and can continue to grow and donate for the rest of my life.

It’s so fun seeing it like that, because it honestly feels liberating. I feel like I can try different styles, and not be stagnant, and constantly be changing and growing for the rest of my life! This is why I think that everyone  should shave their head, and why everyone should work to break down their associations with certain hairstyles. That way everyone of all genders would be able to try different hairstyles all the time, which really is the way it should be. And people would also be able to constantly keep the same hairstyle if they wanted, and that would be ok too.

What’s kinda cool, is that a friend of mine has decided to shave her head soon! You can read more about her story here!

 

Day 40- Everybody’s Doing It

Day 32-Not like other girls

I’ve been talking about my hair with a lot of people recently, because I have been travelling and meeting people a lot (as well as doing essays but lol YOLO that’s what train journeys are for right?). A lot of these conversations have revolved around the fact that I’m now different because I shaved my head and have done something that some people will never do or experience. Now, I’m “not like other girls.”

And yes, this is true, I am not like other girls because I am not like any girls because I am only like me since there is only one me, right? Which means that everyone is not like other girls.

But it’s not meant like that. It’s meant as a compliment. And I kinda don’t understand why.

This “compliment” puts down other girls, and puts me above them. The sentiment implies that there is something inherently wrong with girls, and that by being different from them I’m better. Choosing to shave my head hasn’t put me above anyone. Nothing I do puts me above people. The same applies for “not like other boys”, “not like other students”, “not like other (insert group stereotype here).” So it’s not a compliment. It’s a backhanded criticism. And it’s a sentiment that has crept into everyday thinking.

I think the idea ultimately stems from wanting to celebrate diversity and being different, which is definitely a good thing. However, this can celebrated without stereotyping everyone else and putting them down, right?

We are all different and that’s the point. No two people on the planet are exactly the same and that’s the beauty of it. We are all human which unites us, and beyond that we are all different. There shouldn’t be any categories, any stereotyping, any assumptions of anyone because if we are all different then none of those categories, stereotypes or assumptions can be true.

We are all the same, in the fact that we are all different. And we are equal in the fact that we will never be the same. Therefore, we are all united.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 32-Not like other girls