Can we get real for a minute here, people? I know we're used to hearing a Facebook-filtered version of what everyone's lives are like, but I'm going to have to come clean.
Disclaimer: I really mean it. I'm going to get real, so if the "F" word and real world troubles offend you, it would be a good idea to pass this post up. We'll be posting more pretty pictures later and hope you will check back for those too, but this, my friends, is not that type of post.
I'm not feeling ok. I'm not feeling ok about the string of attempted break-ins at the shop. I'm not ok that one of my family members has decided to discard my sisters and me now that Mom's gone. I'm not ok that so many situations in my life are bringing up all of my unprocessed emotional baggage from when my parents got divorced when I was 7. I'm not ok that my mom is gone.
Mostly, I'm not ok with battling some exhausting, stress-induced hormonal imbalance or postpartum depression or whatever it is that's wrong with me that people don't talk about because no one seems to give a damn about women's health in our male-dominated society. I'm not ok that my hair has been falling out in clumps since my baby was born, and now I have palm-sized bald spots. I'm not ok that the only hair that is growing back in is WHITE. Insult to injury much? I'm goddamn sick of trying to play the combover game to cover up those white spots that stand out like the full moon against the dark night sky of what is left of my hair. I'm sick of the fact that no one is really talking about these things because I know that I'm not the only one suffering from them.
I'm exhausted. I run a business and have a 1.5 year old son. I'm running on what feels like 30% of my normal energy resources, and I'm tired. I'm tired of pretending that I'm ok. I'm tired of pretending that I have a full head of hair and that mommyhood is all rainbows and roses. I'm tired of swallowing my feelings and expending so much energy trying to make everyone else feel more comfortable. I'm tired of being so tired that the stuff that I can normally handle--the break-ins, the family drama, etc.--feel like the end of the world to me. I'm tired of letting the stress swallow me up because I know that if I continue down this road, it will eventually eat me alive.
So, here's what I'm going to do about it: I'm going to shave my head.
For those of you who have known me for a long time, you know that this isn't the first time. Whenever I reach my stress breaking point, my body throws a tantrum and refuses to do normal things like, you know, grow hair. Apparently my body doesn't care much about subtlety.
So it shouldn't be so scary this time, right? I've done it before. My hair grew back and everything worked out. I wish it were that easy. There aren't any guarantees that everything will work out like it did before.
I guess that's precisely why I need to just say fuck it and do it. The fear. It's ruling me. The fear of what others will think. The fear that it won't grow back. The fear that I won't feel pretty anymore. The fear that everyone is going to ask me if I have cancer like last time, except now it will bring back those awful memories of my mom's battle with that horrid disease. The fear that I won't like looking in the mirror.
Well, you know what? I already don't like looking at the mirror. I see someone who is overtaken by the fear. Someone who is out of touch with her intuition. Someone who has traded her soul to go with the flow of societal norms. And that is not me. I am strong. I am beautiful with or without hair. And the only opinion that should matter to me is my own. That person is in there, but she is hidden behind what is left of her hair. Her hair that is a symbol of every burden she has quietly taken on. It is a symbol of everything that she thought that she was gracefully enduring. It is a symbol of her unintentional martyrdom. It holds the feelings of loss of a mother, the blessing of a baby, the weight of trying to keep these mixed emotions freshly combed and presentable to the world.
As women, it is so engrained in us that our worth is tied to our looks, but whatever we are is not good enough. Too fat. Too skinny. Too smart. Too stupid. Too ambitious. Too lazy. Too ugly. Too pretty. Everyone tells us that whatever you are, you should be something different. Well, shaving my head is my way of telling all of those people--and most importantly that subconscious part of myself--to fuck off. I will not let the stress rule me.
You shouldn't let your kid run around like that. Fuck off.
You should go to a Western medicine doctor. Fuck off.
You should run your business a different way. Fuck off.
You shouldn't take it so personally. Fuck off.
You should take these pills and supplements. Fuck off.
You shouldn't have let things get so bad. Fuck off.
You should've done things differently. Fuck off.
You shouldn't care so much. Fuck off.
You should be more of a lady and not swear so much. Double fuck off.
The worst part of this dialogue is that it isn't usually an external one. It's that society-engrained 'A New Earth' ego part of me putting the pressure on seven year old me who just wants to make her parents happy. There's a lot of layers that are going to need to be peeled back and examined in the coming weeks, months, years and essentially throughout my lifetime. But the first layer will be a tangible, symbolic one.
Bye bye hair.