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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
When I was 12 years old, two boys noticed the three fuzzy moles on the side of my face. They then proceeded to call me “moley, moley, moley” for the next few weeks of my life.
These moles were something that I had never thought about until they were pointed out to me. And since, they have become the thing that I am probably the most self-conscious about on my body. I have done extensive research over the years into getting them removed, and the only thing that has stopped me is the worry that a scar will look even worse.
When I initially thought about cutting my hair, it was the idea of having these moles on show that really terrified me. Ultimately, I knew that my hair would grow back. But I knew that there would be no hiding the moles if my hair was gone. The night before I went to get my hair cut it was this worry that kept me awake.
So when my friends who were visiting this weekend asked if having more of my face on show had made me more self-conscious, I was surprised when I answered no. I realised that I had definitely not thought about my moles, or my face for that matter, any more than I would consider normal. That realisation has been an incredible one. It proves to me that my self-confidence has clearly already grown, and that self-consciousness can be overcome. That is amazing. Stepping outside of my comfort zone has proved to me that I am stronger than I realised, and that I am capable of personal growth. It has made this whole journey worth it already. In learning to judge others less, I have learnt to judge myself less.
I am self-conscious about so much, including the fact that I’m a Christian. I’m self-conscious because I know that people will approach me with assumptions about what that means, similar to the assumption that I have talked about being associated with hair. But I think that the key to not being self-conscious is closely linked to the key of not being jealous-contentment. Contentment with how I look, contentment with how I’m perceived though working to break down my own assumptions of others, and assurance in what I believe.
I am complete in God, I have nothing to be self-conscious about.