Finding My Power: How Shaving My Head Gave Me Freedom
Perhaps this wasn’t the weight they were encouraging me to lose, but it’s changed my life.
I watched the video of her shaving her head over and over. Watched her cry, her hair falling down her body in long blonde strands, the slashing of a feminine power which, for years, had contributed to her feelings of powerlessness. The paradox of beauty and all its trappings. Rebecca Woolf — All of This
This story begins last fall, on an otherwise-ordinary September day just over 3 months after the repeal of Roe v Wade. I knew immediately that Friday in June that my old life had ended, and a new life had begun. While you may be tempted to accuse me of hyperbole, the shift inside me was immediate, heavy, and permanent. It affected everything, from my relationship of 8 years to the way I interact with people to my spirituality and core beliefs about the country I live in.
Beyond that, it affected my relationship with myself. In those moments, and the ones that followed, making myself palatable to people who denied my basic human right to life-saving medical care became a non-concern. In fact, I thought, let them choke.
When you get down to it, this is a story about weight. This is a story about the weight of expectations and what is sacrificed in all the time we spend making sure it’s easy for others to accept us, even when it means we are hiding ourselves.
It all started when I wrote a piece about weight, and more specifically about what it means to move through the world as a fat woman. I don’t submit my work for publication regularly, so I had three friends look at it before I sent it to help edit and give feedback, including my girlfriend. 12 hours after her first read, she texted me.
“I have been thinking about your article. It’s so complicated. I hate having to think about being fat so much,” she wrote. “I think about my body all day; it’s baked in the fabric of me.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about it either. It rose like a typhoon inside me, the realization and acknowledgement of how much energy I spend thinking about my body. Considering whether I will fit, considering what I look like to others, thinking about how my clothes…