On Saturday, the 14th of April 2018, I buzzed off all of my hair.
My journey toward this moment began more than a decade ago, in Tibet, where I was frustrated by the intermittent showers I could get in that harsh, wild landscape. Sometimes a week went by between real showers, and my greasy hair was suffering. I told some other people in my travel group that I “just wanted to buzz it off.” They all thought it was a great idea, a smart solution, but ultimately I chickened out.
I was afraid of what other people would think.
Fast-forward a decade and a half. I had just come out of a rich, full romantic relationship that did not last as long as I had hoped it would. But in that breakup, God gave me the tremendous gift of revealing to me, through my now ex-boyfriend’s wise observations, all the ways in which I was not honest on my exterior about who I really inside.
I sat with his words and recognized the truth in tI knew I needed to make certain changes to be more authentic. And I had a feeling my hair was one of those changes.
My friend Snowe and I started praying about what I should do. And you know what God said?
His response was to show me an image of myself, vowing to buzz my hair back in Tibet.
I knew immediately that the meaning was clear: this actually was the real me. But my fear had gotten in the way, and it was time to let that fear go. After all, it was fear that had kept me from fully being the real me in my dating relationship, which was a large shared of my contribution to its ultimate demise.
I had learned my lesson. There was no going back.
I promised God I would buzz it all off as soon as I got to Colorado, where I was going to visit a friend.
God has a sense of humor, of course.
I had a gut feeling that He wanted me to buzz my hair on 4/14, which back home in Milwaukee is known as “Milwaukee Day,” since our primary area code is 414. But as it turned out, I never made it to Colorado for 4/14. Instead, I got stuck in the biggest, nastiest blizzard I have ever witnessed. On 4/14 I was stuck in a roadside hotel in tiny Paxton, NE.
After paying for the unexpected hotel bill, I had $14 left to my name. (Ironic, no? $14 on 4/14? God has such a sense of humor!) But I was undaunted. I went to the hotel clerk and asked who in town could buzz my hair for $14. Keep in mind this was the day after a mammoth blizzard, when the I-80 highway was still completely shut down from Lincoln, NE, to the Colorado border!
He sent me into town to find the only beauty parlor, which was located in a house. Long story short, I almost missed the stylist, but by some miracle, she actually did come in to work that day. She buzzed my hair for $10 and I gave her the remaining $4 in tip.
I walked out the door feeling completely liberated of every fear I have ever had about “looking good” in order to be accepted by others.
The funny thing is, too, that the response of other people has been far different from what I anticipated. I thought I might get shunned, or get a lot of negative comments from people. (After all, where I come from in Milwaukee, you don’t see a lot of shave-headed women running around like you might in some more fashion-forward towns.)
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Shaving my head has shown me who my true friends are. And I discovered, in fact, that more people were ready to applaud me for revealing the Real Me than were ready to ridicule me.
People come up to me all the time now and ask about why I shaved my head. Women tell me they wish they had “that much courage,” and I encourage them to step out and do what their heart is leading them to.
Perhaps I have been most surprised by the number of men who come up to me in stores or restaurants and compliment my hair—not in an uncomfortable or suggestive way, but with an energy of genuine appreciation for someone choosing to be different.
People tell me all the time that my buzzed hair looks good on me, but here’s the dirty little secret about that:
I had no idea if it were going to look good, or not, when I decided to do it.
I simply went with God’s leading, and with the absolute conviction that I NEVER wanted to get into a relationship again where someone was unclear about who I really am.
My buzzed head said “rebel.” It says, “free spirit.” It says, “artist.” Funnily enough, more cool people who also fit that description are showing up in my world every week now.
I think it’s because I chose to step out first, in the middle of a blizzard, when I didn’t know what the outcome would be. Following what God has for us, and creating the life He has given us a vision for, is all about faith.
Sometimes you gotta take a pair of clippers to your head before you can really see who you are under all the layers of social conditioning, people-pleasing and unconscious choices you have been making all your life.
Let it all fall away, and find out who you were meant to be.