I did it for my sister, for my unborn daughter, and for every woman who’s afraid of being wild.
I did it because not feeling pretty petrified me, because I didn’t know how to interact with the world without my hair, because I knew there were things I’d never learn, darkness within me I’d never see, until I shaved my head.
It was windy and stormy and the sky was all grey, just like the sea. The waves were big and messy and no one would call them graceful but me, and they were. We followed the river until she bled the Atlantic, sweet and salty giving birth to every choice I’ve ever made, every memory I’ve lived, every coincidence that led me to sink my feet in the sand with a pair of scissors and cut the first piece of my hair (my first haircut in six years).
I didn’t breathe as the wind whipped it around, the weather screaming with my heart as it fell into the sea, taking back what had always been hers. They took turns cutting it, and each time they did, their own fears and insecurities were set free with my hair too, healing me and healing them.
My hair was my force, my strength, the physical manifestation of my spirit. I never cut it, I never tamed it, I never tried to change it, it just was. It was where my sensuality lived, where my songs came from, where my dances sprung.
And then I realized how every single day I hid behind it. I realized how much wanting to please the eyes of other people was holding me back, not letting me bleed my power because I felt it’d be too much—I was so sure my light would be blinding instead of illuminating, swiping shut my curtain of golden curls when I didn’t want to shine anymore.
But the universe has me on a mission these days that won’t let me hide from me or anyone, so I woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago to my destiny telling me to get rid of my hair, my messy knotty beautiful hair. I cried because I knew it was going to hurt. I cried because I didn’t want to let go.
I cried because I knew the length of the journey in front of me, and I cried because the key to that gate was an electric razor.
I needed to learn that my hair is not where my sensuality lives or from where my goddess is created. It is not my connection to the Mother, the Great Spirit, or the sea. I needed to experience the loss of my hair so that I could actually believe that all those things come from somewhere else, somewhere deep deep inside the velvet darkness of my uterus that I am only just now beginning to see.
My hair was a powerful antennae of energy, but it didn’t discriminate, attracting all kinds. I was drowning in electric shocks, and after traveling alone for so long it hurt too bad, attracted too much—so I made it stop that day by the stormy sea, giving her my power so she could give me hers.
I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, when I saw my shadow I closed my eyes. When I danced I felt like a little boy in a dress, and anytime my mind stopped being busy I cried. The first day I wouldn’t look anyone in the eyes and I couldn’t believe anyone when they told me how pretty I looked.
I felt sensitive and vulnerable and ugly, I still do, and I’m glad. It’s working.
Hair has nothing to do with spirituality or with being a better person, and whether someone has long or short or none makes no difference—unless it does. And to me it was all the difference in the world, so until it isn’t, it matters. Until I can let parts of me come and go, it matters. Until I can walk out of all the prisons I’ve walked into, it matters.
Every day I feel a little more free, a little more flexible, a little more friendly. I realized everyone could still see me even when I didn’t look at them. I was always so used to looking at people’s eyes but all of a sudden I was trying to hide again and it wasn’t working—so now I look into them. Now I’m allowed the freedom to really see them and really let them see into me. Every day I’m able to spend more time looking into my own in the mirror, and sometimes right after the shower, when there’s really nothing hiding any of me, I even think I look pretty.
Nothing like before, but different. Vulnerable and soft, but stronger than I’ve ever been.
I may not feel sexy yet with short spurts of uneven hair, but now I don’t even think before jumping into the ocean because my head dries really fast, I don’t have to constantly move the position of my ponytail in finishing postures every morning, and now everyone passes their hands over my head all the time (which is my favorite).
I still cry, but every day less, knowing the beautiful present I’m giving myself.
I was creating a pattern of poverty by holding on—I never even gave myself the chance to watch my hair grow. Every morning when my head gets all caught in my mosquito net I’m reminded of the power I just gave myself, the abundance I’m allowing myself, the freedom I’m stepping into, and every morning it grows a teeny tiny bit, promise.
It isn’t a big deal at all, a girl with a haircut—but to me it’s been everything, only to learn that really, it’s nothing.
So do your ego a favor, give your spirit a chance.
Experiment what it’s like to be free for a moment, to free fall, to fly. It’s scary, it might even hurt a little, but to let go, to really let go, will have you never the same.
Invite yourself to practice detachment today—maybe it’s giving away your favorite shirt or stopping yourself from posting an Instagram picture. Perhaps it’s burning last year’s diary or giving the waiter an extra tip.
Our processes can all be different, our ways of learning never the same, but if you try all the above and you still feel stuck, you can always shave your head.
It’s almost starting to feel really, really good.
Author: Arielle Egozi
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Jess Sloss/Flickr