The Shaved Head Dilemma

Natalie_Portman_Shaved_HeadI have decided that at least once a week I am going to post something truly silly.

One reason is to keep myself from taking this whole blogging thing and myself too seriously.

Another reason is just because it’s fun.

And a third reason is that silliness is seriously important.  I went for years of my life very seriously focused on a serious spiritual path that had no room for silliness – and I suffered and my spirit suffered.  So – from now on I make a holy vow before God to always be at least a little bit silly.

Last week’s silly post was about shoes and socks.  This week’s silly post will be about hair – or rather, lack of hair.Sinead_OConnor_Shaved_Head

All through high school and college I hung out with the alternative, counter-culture, artsy, punk and poetry theater crowd.  I had numerous female friends who shaved their heads a la Sinead O’Connor just as a fashion choice – and they looked awesome.  Shaving your head, in my circle of friends, was cool.

Fast forward just a few years when in my mid-twenties it was time for me to renounce my ego-identifications and dedicate myself to God.  Normally on such occasions one shaves ones head to give up any vanity or pride in ones appearance.  But what was I to do?  I thought shaving your head was cool.  If I was going to renounce being cool (and let’s face it, I was never really ever cool to begin with), it wouldn’t work for me to shave off all my hair.

79ab3e3a862654d78b66d77880e754bcAdd to that the fact that “cool” to me was also being really super spiritual.  The more spiritual, the better.  In the New Age Mecca of Asheville, NC, where I lived, being spiritual was the same as being a member of a really fancy country club – so again, shaving my head as an act of renunciation would be the ultimate in cool and would in no way help me in my quest for humility.

So, I decided just to cut my hair short – have it symbolize my letting go of the past, give up my identification as a long-haired girl.  At least I could do that much.  So, I said my prayers in the morning and went down to a hair salon and, holding my intention inside, the nice chatty hairdresser cut my hair short short.

And it worked.  I looked like a dork.  I think in the fashion world my face would be described as being too long for short hair, and whatever the reason, I looked awful.  I was all forehead.  My short rat-brown hair looked awkward and embarrassed on top of my head.  I hated it.

Then I laughed and I thought, ok, this is good.  This is BETTER than shaving my head.  This fulfills the purpose of shaving my head much more than shaving my head would have.  I renounce looking cool.  I renounce my pride and my vanity.  I renounce my attachment to my appearance and my concern with what I look like to others and I focus my attentions on God.  This is what I wanted.

tibetan-buddhist-nun

And while now-a-days I have grown my hair back out and I enjoy being creative with colors and clothing and how I combine my shoes and socks, it was good for me at the time.  Now I can enjoy how I dress without being attached to how I look.  I can do so while not identifying as a long-haired counter-culture artsy poetry girl.  I can do so while identifying as a Soul.

10 thoughts on “The Shaved Head Dilemma

    • You’re right – to truly humble myself I should post a picture. That would be proof that I’m not attached to my long locks. Lucky for me, all those pictures are in boxes on the other side of the country, so it will be a while until I can get to them.

  1. You are great, please do remember :-) The idea of having a funny/silly post a week is also great. It really lighten me up.
    This year in May, one day I did the exact thing you did, had my hair cut short. For years, I have been holding on to this thought, “a woman is only a woman with her long hair.” To uninstall my decision, I did it. I felt light as a paper bag and looked like one also.
    It is wonderful that you have shared your brave action. I don’t have the same courage. But, with your permission, I am inspired to have a silly day off as well.
    Thank you.

    • Yes – it is liberating. and it is funny all the thoughts we have about hair. My sister told me she always thought when she gets older she can’t have long hair, so she has to keep it long now before she has to cut it – then she thought, why can’t an older woman have long hair? All these silly identifications. :)

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