Buzzed.

Several weeks ago I shared a post about my hair and how I had almost buzzed it. Here is a quote from the post:

For a very long time I have thought about shaving my head. For a time only the slightest bit less than the amount of time I’ve thought about it, I have wanted to shave my head. I’m talking buzz cut, not slick. But either way – bald is the name of the game. I go back and forth about actually doing it, but I WANT to do it. I’ve come to a time where I’ve really begun to think more seriously about it – to the point that I presented the idea to both the man and the child and they have no opinion at all other than that they want to be involved in the process.

Well. Here we are, about three weeks later, and the deed has been done. I actually did this almost RIGHT after I shared that post, but I wasn’t ready to share THIS post right away because I wanted to see how it went. I wanted to see how I really felt about it. I wanted to collect some pros and cons after having done it, and I wanted to feel fully “buzzed,” if you will, before I started spouting words about the experience. I am ready to do that now.

Before I go any further, there is something I want to talk about – perhaps clear up, so to speak. One of the most consistent experiences I have had since the buzzing took place has been this one (or, at least, this one in so many words), over and over again:

“You are so brave! I could never do it – even if I wanted to! It’s very courageous to make such a huge change!”

This bothers me and I want to tell you why it’s not true. It did not take courage for me to buzz my head (or shave it, or whatever term you wish to use). I am not courageous. I was not looking to completely change my life in a matter of moments with a hairstyle (ok, maybe in some ways I was – which I will discuss further in the “Pros” section of this post). I just WANTED to do it. So I did! It really was that easy. For a long time I couldn’t understand why people had to attach more to it than that – sure, a lot of thought went into it before I did it, as shared in my original post. But I feel really awkward when people say, “you’re so brave! I could ever do that! That took a lot of courage.”

No. It really and truly didn’t. For me, what it took was being fed up with my hair for a number of reasons. It took wanting it the hell out of my face and to stop wasting my time. Oh, and it took a quick flip of the on switch and running the clippers over my head. That’s all it took. There’s a difference between being brave and just being done.

Brave is charging into a burning building or jumping out of a helicopter into the ocean to save lives. Brave is working as a beat cop during this day and age. Brave is facing your demons, getting help with addiction or mental health issues or finding a way out of an abusive relationship. Brave is being a woman in a country where women have no rights. Comparatively, I am not brave. I have only done something I wanted to do… Maybe that IS brave to some, and I suppose that I can accept that and allow anyone who feels that way the right to feel that way. But personally? I don’t feel that way about it. I don’t feel it was a “brave” thing to do, and it truly makes me uncomfortable to be called “brave” over something so insignificant as shaving off my hair.

Now that I’ve expressed my thoughts on that, I want to share with you some of the other things I have experienced and learned since flipping the on switch and the best way to do that, I think (for me), is a (hereto incomplete) list of pros and cons.

The Pros (so far):

  • MONEY
    • First of all, it doesn’t cost anything to run the clippers over my head. I don’t have to pay someone else to do it (yet – I’m not into styling at this point, just being uniformly buzzed).
    • I also spend almost zero money on hair products.
    • The only hair product I use is shampoo – although I use it daily now as (con) my head gets oily much more quickly.
    • I also have found myself using the Argon oil I gave to my husband for his beard on my head the last couple of days because the winter is drying my scalp out (not my hair, which still gets oily by morning even without the argon oil – go figure). I haven’t quite found a balance there.
    • But the bottom line for this bullet is that this is CHEAP and I love it.
  • EASE OF EXISTENCE
    • No bed head.
    • Shower time = five minutes.
    • No drying time.
    • No styling time.
    • No fuss. No mess.
    • No, “Oh God, you have to wash your hair? You should start getting ready an hour ahead of me,” from my husband.
    • My life has become so much easier and I love it.
  • MY FACE
    • It exists.
    • I can see it.
    • I am learning to love it (actually, I almost loved my face more instantly after a long time of being very insecure about it).
    • No spider web hairs to tickle it.
    • No random hair everywhere in my eyes when I’m trying to do EVERYTHING I DO.
    • I love it.
  • HATS
    • I get to wear hats of all kinds now and they fit my head.
    • I have a REASON to wear hats now.
    • I like hats, so this a definite pro for me.
    • I love it.
  • LIGHTNESS
    • My head feels so light, even still. After years of the weight of my hair (I literally lost almost two pounds after I had buzzed it – despite it falling out like crazy that sh*t was so thick and coarse and heavy), I now feel so much lighter.
    • It’s not just the weight of the hair itself – it’s the lack of worrying with hair.
    • I love it.
  • IT IS COOLER
    • I live in the south, where the humidity doesn’t end until January (usually). Therefore, for most of the year, having free head air conditioning is a wonderful thing. There are also some cons to this, which I’ll list below, but mostly it’s great.
    • I love it.
  • ME
    • I just feel so much more like me. I can’t explain that. But it’s the truth. Not having my hair to define me (which I’m sure it still does for some, but not for me – like those who think I’ve lost my mind, ha!) has liberated me in all the ways I expected and in some I didn’t expect (like that whole having a face thing)…
    • I used to love playing with makeup looks. I love that again now, and have a lot of fun with it. I’ve only actually done my makeup a handful of times since the buzzing but had a ball doing it and bought myself the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay for my birthday.
    • I love it.

The Cons (so far):

  • GROWTH
    • My hair apparently grows VERY fast. That’s annoying. I buzz it at least once a week. This has impacted my OCD a tiny bit, but that’s OK. Good grooming is a factor of my depression that I could stand to be a bit more “on top of.”
  • ITCHING AFTER CUTS
    • My husband used to complain like all get out about tiny hairs poking him when I’d cut his hair. I used to say he was overreacting. HE WAS NOT OVERREACTING.
    • The itchiness when you finish a cut is INSANE. I sometimes have to shower twice in one shower to get the hair off of me.
    • Sometimes the little hairs get stuck in my bra and don’t wash out (don’t ask, I don’t know how or why), so I sometimes look like a man scratching his balls except it’s my boobs I’m digging at. Sigh…
  • HATS
    • I mentioned the pros of hats. The only con I have found is that my head is much smaller than it was with hair (MUCH SMALLER) and my baseball caps do not fit properly. I can’t get them tight enough without the bulge in the back…
    • Silver lining? I will eventually get to buy smaller baseball caps!
  • COLD
    • The con to the pro of coolness. Now that it’s really cold here, it’s REALLY COLD here.
    • I have to wear hoodies to bed some nights…which is awkward because I generally don’t like to sleep in very much clothing because I get these weird sweats. Not with my shaved head. Nope. Not right now… But, sleeping in bulky clothing is still not very comfortable for me.
    • Going outside without a hoodie or hat on is unwise. Just plain unwise…
  • HOT
    • By the same token? Getting hot and sweating is not fun without hair, either.
    • Sweat drips in my eyes, and I actually find that I sweat MORE without hair than I did with it when I work out…or maybe it just has nowhere to go and I notice it more.
    • When it’s hot and I wear a cap to keep my head from getting burned, I sweat more…but that’s OK. I’d rather do that than have a charred scalp.

Other Strange Expereinces:

  • STARING
    • People stare. A lot. It doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, what with my social anxiety and such. It’s actually made me more confident because I am learning how to ignore people far more efficiently through the experience.
  • BEING HIT ON
    • Women hit on me openly, even here in the south. This NEVER happened until I didn’t have hair. Go figure.
    • Men (surprisingly) flirt at me (I refuse to say with because I do not reciprocate). I thought men would be more put off by a woman with a buzz cut but apparently, I was wrong.
    • Don’t get me wrong – it’s always nice to be noticed in this way, but I realize that in this way my hair still defines me to some extent. I don’t like it being sexualized, this way or the other way (long). I guess that is something we will (ALL) always have to live with in our society…
  • ARE YOU SICK?
    • numerous times people have flat out asked me if I was sick or if I had cancer BEFORE they asked me why I shaved my head (usually strangers, oddly enough). It’s like they feel sorry for me right off the bat. That’s annoying and to some extent upsets me because I know what it’s like to be that person who has little or no hair due to sickness (from the experience of cancer with Dorie) and it’s no fun for people to judge you either way in that aspect.
    • At the same time, I don’t blame people – not many women have this sort of hairstyle. It’s almost an automatic assumption that there must be something wrong if they do have this sort of hairstyle.
  • NO IN BETWEEN
    • people either love it or hate it. There is no in between. So when people dislike it they tend to make it known (much more so than those who love it), for example when they shout ugly things across the parking lot at you (generally racial things, hello – I live in the south, am white and have a shaved head – I must be a racist), it’s a bit saddening. I don’t hate anyone and my hairstyle has nothing to do with anyone but me. I know my heart, so I am learning to let that go by. But it’s a telling sign that racism is still alive and well here in the south. And that’s just really wrong and saddening.
  • TOUCHING ME
    • My final and most annoying con is that people randomly touch me. Sometimes they ask and before I can even say, “no, please,” they’re already rubbing on my head. It’s like when a woman is pregnant (or at least this was my experience): people can’t help themselves – they want to touch your belly. Same thing with my head. It’s like a hand magnet. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll get a bigger bald spot than the small couple I already have (from celiac) or if all my brains will get sucked out from all the rubbing going on up there….
    • I wish people would stay out of my personal space, that’s all. I really wasn’t expecting that. I have, however, invited all of the boy’s little friends and most of my own friends and family to have a feel of the buzz cut – it seems to ease their minds a bit. They aren’t used to a woman with this kind of hairstyle at all and it’s a little unnerving for some of them, I think. Bless their hearts.

So I suppose that’s it for my buzz cut run down after a few weeks of living the buzzed life. Ultimately, I absolutely LOVE it and wouldn’t change a thing. I have NO regrets and I don’t think I will grow my hair out at all for a very long time (which for me could range from a few more weeks to several months, ha!). I haven’t felt this free or in control of myself for a very long time. There is peace for me in having no hair. I have, within myself, taken, “no hair, don’t care, to a whole new level. Suddenly there are a LOT of things I’ve let go of. But that’s another blog.

I suppose now you’ll be wanting to see what it looks like, so here are some photos (some candid, some posed) of the buzz cut. Ultimately, I hope the message taken away from this blog and this experience is that people will find the wherewithal to just be themselves and do what they want to do with their hair, their faces, their bodies, whatever. Just be you, and do what makes you happy. It’s worth any cons that might come your way, as long as you know what you’re doing is where your heart truly is.

Until next time, take care and enjoy this last night of the year…

C.

Buzz…

Hair. Oh, the hair. I’ve been having some issues with mine lately due to my physical health – things like having it falling out in record amounts and even getting patchy underneath. It’s not as visible to anyone who doesn’t know me well but it’s annoying to me. Recently I cut nearly a foot of my hair. Nay, CHOPPED it off – myself, in my bathroom, with the man’s scissors. Hair that once sat just near my lower back now sits just above my shoulders. It was a test, more than anything. And I am left with the same thoughts as before.

For a very long time I have thought about shaving my head. For a time only the slightest bit less than the amount of time I’ve thought about it, I have wanted to shave my head. I’m talking buzz cut, not slick. But either way – bald is the name of the game. I go back and forth about actually doing it, but I WANT to do it. I’ve come to a time where I’ve really begun to think more seriously about it – to the point that I presented the idea to both the man and the child and they have no opinion at all other than that they want to be involved in the process.

Many years ago I got my hair cut really short. It was buzzed on the back/neck and left a bit longer on the top/sides. I HATED IT. Even though I THOUGHT that I didn’t care what other people thought, I subconsciously did. I hated it because other people told me that it didn’t suit my face, it didn’t fit my jawline, it wasn’t pretty on me…many negative things. I got to a point where I believed that my hair was my only good trait – my hair was my beauty and without it I was nothing if not disgusting. I reached a point where I hated my face. I was SO INSECURE.

At the time, I was 21. I was newly married. I was still in college, driving an hour and a half one way to classes four days a week, spending the other three either studying or trying to figure out how to be a wife and live with someone else (which I hadn’t done for nearly two years before I was married) and struggling to get through the semester with my brain still intact. It was around/during midterms. It was one of the supreme eras of stress in my life (there were a lot of things going on I won’t mention here, for length/time’s sake).

Long story short? I got the haircut for the wrong reasons entirely – only one, really – I did it because I hated my hair. My hair was being difficult on a daily basis, it was not working with me, it was SO THICK back then, and BIG, almost just like the stereotypical (but beautiful) southern female hair you see in Steel Magnolias and other “southern” movies and tv shows. Getting that haircut was one of those throw-your-hands-in-the-air moments in life where you do what feels like the only thing you can do, and in that case what I thought was the only option ended up being a HUGE MISTAKE.

I didn’t want to do it in my heart – I just wanted to get rid of my hair. Others ridiculed me for it, and that hurt, yes – but it wouldn’t have hurt if I was doing it for the right reasons. Well, I suppose it will always hurt for those close to you to judge you but I don’t believe it would have bothered me so much or made such an impact on how I saw myself if I had done it in and with confidence in the first place. The truth is, I didn’t know what I was doing.

Today I am 38 (39 in two weeks) years old and I am a very different person. I have, for all my life, had a good relationship with my hair (aside from the time I just mentioned). I have always loved my long, thick hair. I have always seen it as my best feature – even before the mistake haircut, to be honest… But, I have grown to a place where I have a LONG list of reasons that I have been and continue to think about and want to COMPLETELY shave my head.

The only real reason is this: I WANT TO SHAVE MY HEAD. Ultimately, I want to do it because I want to do it. I am anxious about it because I know the risk – I know the risk because I know what I went through with only a “near shave” all those years ago.I know there are going to be cons. I know that sweat is going to get in my eyes if I don’t wear a hat or something else when I exercise or mow or do things that make you sweat, like just walking outside in the south in the summer is prone to do. I know that it is going to be cold during the winter.

I know that it is going to be a problem for certain religious folk down here where I live in the a-woman’s-hair-is-her-glory Bible Belt. I know it is going to offend certain people who have lost their hair because of sickness rather than choice. I know this because one of those people has already made me well aware of how disrespectful it is for women to shave their heads by choice when other women would give anything to have their hair back and didn’t have a choice in the matter (which I think is completely ridiculous but at the same time I can see where she is coming from).

Those two things I know more than anything. People are GOING to judge me – especially when it’s summertime and my tattoos are visible. People are going to assume things about me, like that I must be sick or have something wrong with me or that I am gay (um, well…). I know that people who already know me are going to just think I’m having a Britney Spears meltdown/mental health moment.

People are going to look at me more than they already do when I go out in public and that DOES NOT appeal to me at all (social anxiety already makes going out almost impossible). The last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself and I know the worst possible thing I can do to cause that to happen is to shave my head. That thought absolutely terrifies me.

But then there’s the thought of dying without doing something I really want to do – something that isn’t really that big of a deal, except the big deal society turns it into. There’s the thought of how I don’t want to be the mom who talks about doing something I really want to do all the time but never doing it and leaving my son thinking that it’s OK to let the fear of what other people might do (stare at you in public, shudder) keep you from doing it.

There’s the thought of how much money and time I will save by not having to buy hair products or dry my hair or straighten my hair. There’s the thought of the bliss of not having my heavy hair on migraine days, or of not having it in my face no matter the fact that I’ve pulled it up or back while I’m exercising or cleaning or doing ANYTHING at all. There’s the thought of wanting to do it with Dorie when she lost her hair and shaved hers during chemo, and her not “allowing it” – something I really wanted to do with and for my friend, as much as for myself…

But now I realize something very real and very important – she did not stand in my way because she didn’t want me to do it. She stood in my way because she knew that I was still not doing it for the right reasons. She knew that afterward I would say, “I did it with and for my friend,” rather than, “I did it just because I wanted to do it. I did it for myself. Got a problem with that?” That almost hurts my heart now. I would have done anything for her, and in my heart I did want to do it for her – and that was her whole problem with it. She knew I was not doing it all for myself, and she wouldn’t allow me to do something that I was not sure was 100% true to me.

But ultimately, there’s the thought of my remaining insecurities and how I want to and am being encouraged by many people to step outside of my comfort zone. To face my fears. To live for ME. To overcome certain anxieties in order to eventually overcome other anxieties and on and on. There’s the thought of  looking at myself in the mirror without my “glory” and going, “hey, there you are. Let’s get to know each other – let’s learn to truly love each other.” That is what I want to have happen, and despite the risks and despite the fears (I can’t help but doubt that anybody who says they’re 100% secure the first time they shave their head is telling the truth) I am beyond ready to have that happen within myself.

But am I ready to embrace my own power and do something so drastic with my hair when I can’t seem to embrace my power and drive or go places alone or get beyond certain other issues in my life? I don’t know… Perhaps it could be a start. But will I be brave enough to do what I want to do? I guess we will find out soon enough.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever considered anything like this for yourself? Have you ever done anything that would be considered drastic by society – or at least the society you live in locally? What were your reasons? How did you cope? Let’s chat about it…