Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This was my hair as of two days ago:

...And this is how it looked yesterday afternoon:

I woke up yesterday and realized that my hair was over-processed to the point it didn't want to curl anymore; my ringlets were ruined, and loose waves had taken their place. I haven't seen my natural hair color since the summer of '09, and I miss my curls, my red-and-gold natural highlights, the softness of my natural hair.

So I got a pair of scissors and some hair clippers, and an hour or so later, I had nothing left but about 1/16 of an inch of stubble. Some of it is the blond that it was dyed before, which I'm going to trim off as it grows out, but the very top is the strawberry-blond/auburn color that I've been longing for so much the past few months.

It was a hard decision; luckily I had a lot of support from the members of NaturallyCurly, who understood that it was a big change, but that it'd be a great decision in the long run.

After I cut it, I was surprised at how feminine I felt, how strong. I looked in the mirror and felt as if I was following in the footsteps of generations of powerful women; priestesses, queens, women who knew their worth was not tied to their hair, but to what was under it.

Unfortunately, that feeling was cut short by a phone call from my best friends last night, both of whom are male, and who kept calling me 'Britney Spears', and asking if I looked 'butch', until I was in tears and they were asking me what they'd said that upset me. One of them told me he was just 'busting my balls', to which I retorted, 'Well, I don't have any'. They didn't have an answer for that, so they tried to apologize, but I was crying too hard by this point to even be able to talk. It's the same people who told me I looked butch when I got a pixie cut, and completely killed my self-esteem. See, to them, I'm just one of the guys, and I suppose they think it wouldn't hurt a guy's feelings (personally, I think guys are just better at hiding it; society tells them they have to be, wheras a girl is expected to get emotional. Stupid double-standards...)

So today I'm a little bit of a mess. I keep looking in the mirror and telling myself it'll grow back, that I look beautiful, that I did this for ME and not for anyone else. It's hard when someone you call a friend will blatantly tease you like that when shaving your head is one of the hardest things to do as a women in the society we live in. So much of a woman's 'value' seems to be tied into her hair, her breasts, her hips, instead of who she is as a person. There are women who mutilate themselves with surgeries to make them more 'beautiful', who spend thousands of dollars on makeup, hair dye, and beauty treatments.

Why? I think as long as a woman is confident, has good hygiene, and a mind that's all her own, people should find her attractive. But confidence is hard when every day we are bombarded with pictures of 'ideal' women to compare ourselves to, women who are photoshopped and 'enhanced' to the point of perfection in the eyes of the public.

Those are not real women.

For example, look at America's Next Top Model. Yes, the girls in the house are models, yes they look beautiful on film. But first thing in the morning? Before the makeup for the shoot is done? They are flawed. They have acne, wrinkles, not-perfectly-white teeth, one eye that is bigger than the other. The job of the makeup crew and photographer is to make them look as perfect as possible, to use every trick of flash and lens and eyeliner to get that shot that makes them look like an angel. It's not real, not a bit of it.

And yet, even knowing all this, I am terrified of the idea of venturing out into the world with my shaved head. I am afraid of the judging looks, the pitying looks, the assumptions about my character or my health.

But at the same time, I feel ready. I feel like putting on clothes reminiscent of the D'ni, the people who inhabit the world of the Myst games, and going out feeling like the goddess that I know I am. I want to show the world that I am a woman, and I am not defined by any pre-conceived notion of feminity. I am here, and here I will remain. Confident, bald, and above all else, beautiful.


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