Hey you, how was your weekend? Mine was lovely. I made some pizza, enjoyed sitting in the sun on our balcony. Oh, and I took some scary steps. My husband shaved my head. Bald.
Yup, that’s me in those pictures. It was fucking awesome. And I think I pull of being bald pretty damn well.
Going bald was one of those ‘do before you die’ things I’d always wanted to experience. Just to see what it would feel like. But also (secretly) to let my skull breathe, to let it experience the sun. Remember in highschool, there’d be these dares to do something, and if you’d lose, you’d have to shave your head? I always secretly wished I’d get pulled into one of those. Until I realized, recently that I didn’t need the excuse of a dare to go bald. That now that I was self-employed, I could do with my appearance whatever I wanted to do. And with summer and Ramadan coming up, now was as good a time as ever to do this scary thing.
So I gently dropped the the idea in a conversation with my husband. He called me crazy and begged me not to. I told my best friends. They laughed at me and didn’t understand. I warned my parents I might want to do this. My dad told me he forbade me. So I thought about it some more and decided not to tell anyone else in order not to get more discouraged. And I realized that I still wanted to do it, even if people close to me didn’t understand. Because it was important to me. And I realized that the worst that could happen, was that I’d be ugly for a few months. That that was a price, I’d be willing to pay. And the final push into bravery was Hussam coming around, saying he supported me. Because he understood, as a bald person, that I’d want to experience this sense of freedom.
So I set a date for B-day. Before Ramadan, so that, if I turned out to be super ugly, I could semi-hide inside for a month while I fasted. Before our neighbours-turned-friends would go on holiday, so that the amazingly wonderful To Kühne could capture the process on camera. And so we did.
The whole thing took 2 hours – and I loved it. I felt blissed out during the whole thing – like I was on a high. And once it was over, it didn’t feel like a big deal at all. I’d gotten rid of some hair, that’s all.
Saturday evening I dragged my husband along to a our neighbourhood supermarket. Because I was scared of what people might do or say in public. But nothing happened. One of the regular cashiers gave me a longer smile than usual. But no finger-pointing, shouting or burning at the stake. That night I had one of the best sleeps I’ve had in weeks – having nothing between my head and pillow to diminish its softness. The next day, I went for one of the best runs I’ve been one since moving here. Friends have told me I look good over Skype, which bolstered my confidence even more. Two even told me I inspired them to think about shaving their head as well. I feel good. This is awesome. And funnily enough – I feel both extremely feminine and strong.
So here’s what I want you to know: taking scary steps – it’s worth it.
It’s scary beforehand, because you feel alone and judged – I know. But guess what – it’s a huge fucking thrill while you’re doing it, especially because you’re consciously going against the grain of people’s expectations of what’s ‘OK’ – and because you’ll know then how awesome it is do it nonetheless. Whether it’s starting your own project, not pursuing that corporate career ladder-job or simply taking time off to figure things out, without having a set work/life plan. And the pay-off is wonderful – because you’ll feel stronger and more alive afterwards. And all of those things you were afraid of probably won’t happen. They’ll mostly be in your head.
To help you take scary steps, here’s what I suggest you do to feel brave:
1. Figure out what conditions need to be in place for you to feel comfortable ‘in case’ the shit hits the fan. For me, that was doing it now that I’m self-employed, in summer, before Ramadan and everyone going away on holiday.
2. Imagine the worst case scenario. Think about whether you could live with that happening. For me, the worst case scenario was looking ugly for a month or so.
3. Share the idea with people close to you – but don’t look for their approval. You are the only person who can evaluate what’s important for you.
Good luck. You can do this.
And if you dare – let me and other readers know what scary step you’re thinking of taking – and what you’re doing to feel brave. On Facebook, or in the comments below. Inspire us.