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?!

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Day 45- The Last One

Day 43- You’re gonna grow it back now right?

Truthfully, I don’t know yet. I can definitely see myself growing it long and shaving it for charity for the rest of my life, but whether I’m going to keep it short for a while now, I haven’t decided yet. I’m just going to roll with it for a bit.

What I love now though, is that when I look in the mirror, I see so much more than what is there staring back at me. I don’t just see a reflection like Mulan, because I know that the way I look is not who I am. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see someone whose confidence and ability to love has grown exponentially over the last few weeks. I see someone who has started questioning why we think in the way that we do, and looking into why these thought processes need to be changed. I see someone who is free, and pursuing a life where she tries not judge others and tries not to mind when others judge her. I see someone who is working towards total contentment. I see a feminine young woman. I see more of myself than I have ever seen before.

I’ve learnt to accept compliments, and ignore insults, but to not put too much weight into either because ultimately the way that we look genuinely does not matter. The way we feel affects the way we look, and the way that we feel is just so much more important. And right now, I can honestly say that I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin.

I shaved my head for me. I shaved my head so that I could learn about where my self-worth lies and how I define myself. I shaved my head so that I could learn to depend on God. Today, right now, I feel that I have definitely been successful in all of these things, and at the moment I love my shaved head because it reminds me of this every single day.

Day 43- You’re gonna grow it back now right?

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 35- Grace

My name (Anna), means grace. When I was younger I thought that this was a cosmic joke, because I am horribly clumsy and aged 7 chose karate over ballet. However, as I’ve grown older I have realised that there are two types of grace- the type that makes you graceful or elegant or dignified which is the one that society often unfortunately focuses on, and the type that makes you gracious or merciful or kind.

Both of these are definitely attractive qualities, but one is related to how we look and one is how we act. In my opinion, my long hair made me look graceful, and therefore feel more feminine since gracefulness is often associated with femininity. I thought that cutting my hair might make me feel less graceful, and thus less feminine. But, because I found out early on that my qualities are not linked to my hair, this hasn’t been the case.

What my haircut has made me realise though, is that being gracious is a lot more important than being graceful. Graciousness is the most beautiful thing that a person can have, and it always stems from love. Being gracious is a choice. I can choose to be gracious and loving, or I can choose to be judgemental and jealous. Sometimes it’s an unconscious choice though, which is why it is important to find the root of jealousy or judgement. Most importantly, having grace means always freely and readily forgiving people no matter what. This is probably the most difficult part of graciousness to live out. I need to work on this because it’s by God’s grace that I am forgiven, so why should I ever withhold forgiveness since I am no better than anyone. It’s through God’s love and grace that I am saved, so its through my own growing love for everyone that I should try to always be gracious.

 

Day 35- Grace

Day 23- Halfway there

So it’s halfway through Lent (give or take a few days depending on whether you think Lent ends on Easter Thursday or Sunday). It’s very strange thinking that in another 23 days I won’t get back the thing that I gave up. I gave up meat for Lent a few years ago and the thought of the juicy steak at the end is what kept me going. Similar to when climbing Mount Kenya, it was the thought of a hot shower at the finish that made me push through.

And although I won’t be getting my hair back in 23 days time, what I have gained from this experience has already been so much more! Hearing from other people, and feeling a change in myself has really just been the most incredibly, wonderful thing!

That being said, there are a few things that I do miss about long hair, and will continue to miss for a while I’m sure:

  1. Having the option to have a different hairstyle everyday. Granted, because I’m lazy, I didn’t. But I really miss the diversity of long hair…although the easiness of short hair is awesome.
  2. Playing with my hair. Twirling my hair is ingrained deeply into my muscle memory and I miss it so so much. My friend even commented the other day that when I’m telling a story I got to toss my hair for emphasis and then my hand is just left stuck, awkwardly mis-air!
  3. Getting excited when I see a new, different hairstyle and thinking, Oh! I’m gonna try that out.
Day 23- Halfway there