I Donated My Hair and Shaved My Head: Pt 2
How and Why I Shaved My Head

Carley's hair after donating it featuring yellow
butterfly clips from Target.
The first thing I did after donating 12 inches of my hair at Great Clips was go to Target to buy butterfly clips. The next thing I did was text my mom a photo of my temporarily bobbed hair.  

To read about my hair donation process, check out my previous blog post. To recap, I donated my hair in June to Wigs 4 Kids a day after my friend Omi (they/them) asked if I would shave my head with them. They had previously cut off their long hair and had been thinking about shaving their head but needed moral support to go through with it. 

Omi and I were on a road trip when we decided to shave our heads so I texted my mom to prepare her. She freaked out and thought I was going completely bald. I assured her I was going more for SinĂ©ad O'Connor than Jeff Bezos. 

I had been thinking about shaving my head for a year before I did it. Young people, especially emotionally unstable students, often drastically change their hair while going through a mental breakdown. After many minutes of hastily snipping hair with safety scissors and haphazardly applying boxes of drugstore bleach and box dye, you end up with a new 'do and a video you upload to some corner of the internet and forget about until Brad Mondo features it in one of his reaction videos.

Lockdown sharpened my urge to shave my head. The pandemic has been an incredibly stressful time and it's understandable to change something like your hair for a sense of control. With salons closed and in-person interactions slim to none, shaving your head seems like the natural next step. As of this blog post, #shavedhead on TikTok has over 840 million views so others were definitely thinking the same.  

But I waited a year to shave my head because I wanted to do it at a time where I was mentally stable. If I had shaved my head during quarantine or a mental breakdown, I probably would've regretted it because I used to run my fingers through my hair as a self-soothing gesture and my long hair was a part of my identity for a long time. 

Omi said they became more confident after cutting their long hair short and after cutting mine into a bob, I felt the same way. My long hair was too thick to comfortably wear bucket hats, but with a bob I could, and I liked how accessorizing differently made me feel like the main character. 

Carley (she/her) and Omi (they/them) pose 
in Omi's kitchen after shaving their heads.
I waited about a week after donating my hair to shave my head. I wanted to have my short hair moment and we were borrowing one of our then-friend's mom's clippers so the timing had to be right. In the meantime, Omi and I did "research" by looking at photos of people who shaved their heads and concluded "it's impossible to look bad with a shaved head." 

Two days before I left town for my cousin's wedding, Omi called me and asked if I would be down to shave my head in their kitchen that night. I said yes. 

When I got there, Omi was making rice in their rice cooker and went to go put on a cute outfit to take pictures in after shaving their head. 

Our friend with the clippers arrived and they and my friend's roommate helped us shave our heads. Omi went first because I was nervous and they just wanted to get it over. We used a 0.5 inch guard because we didn't want our hair to be too short. 

The actual head shaving was a bit uncomfortable for me because I had to take my glasses off so I couldn't see anything (the ultimate trust fall) and my scalp is sensitive so I kept cringing away from the clippers. I also had a lot of hair left to shave. But in the end, Omi and I looked stunning so it was worth it. 

Despite my family's speculations, I didn't shave my head because Omi pressured me or because I wanted to impress anyone. The real reason I shaved my head was because I made a promise to myself during quarantine that I would. And I also promised to start keeping more of my promises to myself. Omi just gave me the extra push I needed to follow through. 

Carley after shaving her head.
That's not to say shaving my head cured my insecurities. I still have low self-confidence days. But I do think I was hiding behind my hair for a long time and shaving my head on my own terms pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me embrace the practical side to a shaved head. I was able to travel this summer without worrying so much about wash days and overheating. 

The confidence shaving my head gave me also allowed me to set boundaries which I used to navigate going no contact less than a month later with the two friends who shaved my head in Omi's kitchen. Tune in next post for tips on how to navigate friend breakups. 

xxx, 

carley


Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I especially like your phases -- and getting to enjoy a bob and butterfly clips! #claimyourcharacter

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! Which cat?

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    2. If you're referencing the cat on my home page, it's a street cat I saw when I was in Singapore a year and a half ago

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    3. The photo of the cat is well composed. Good look.

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    4. Peep the kitten on the right in the drain

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    5. Truly schrodinger's cat as my old eyes can't pick the kitten out.

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