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Shaved hair

So, I have gone back and forth from fully shaved head to mohawk for about 20 years. I have gotten every kind of remark you can think of. From the Amtrak bus driver who asked me “Are you gay” without a single word of preamble, to the cancer patient who gave me a hug without a word.

A shaved head on a woman is a sort of message: “I am different.”

I know it can be terrifying for some, but I seriously do encourage all women straight or not, healthy or not, to do this once. It is liberating and enlightening in ways you cannot conceive. I am not joking. Even when it begins to grow back. Even for your closest relationships.

Case in point: my family just after I got engaged to be married to my physically male, non-binary husband.

Remember I have known this boy since the age of 11. Our parents were kind of like “Jesus Finally!” But one week after I got engaged, I shaved my head again because I’d had long hair for a bit and couldn’t deal anymore. I was with my mom, and she says to me “You cannot get married with a shaved head.” I asked why. She said “Please…the wedding is for me. Just be a girl for a short time. Please.” Promise me no shaved head and no combat boots.“

She was paying. I didn’t know what to say.

I never had a good relationship with my mother. It is better now, and there are reasons I would rather not hash out in public, but this…fucked me up. Because I was me, living alone, had a job and a partner, out of college. I was the person I wanted to be and just like that, it wasn’t good enough. From my mother.

It hurt. And a couple days later, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I went to my fiancé and I said, “Babe, mom says I have to grow my hair out.”

He was joking with me, trying to make me feel better. He said “It’s not hard to deal with long hair!”

I gave him a dirty look. “How would you know? You have never had long hair. I fucking hate long hair.”

He said, “If it will make you feel better, I will absolutely grow my hair out with you.”

“What? Like…our wedding is in two years!”

“Ok.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

And he did. He did. We got married with full heads of long gorgeous hair. He had his professionally curled the day of. I shaved mine off two days later. He…left his there for a few more years…well five more. And then he took me to a special salon where they donate the hair to cancer patients and hacked it off.

“Beauty” and the concept of “pretty” are cages. They are chains. I am a woman even if I am not female. I am powerful. I made a baby. I wrote books. I dealt with shit you wouldn’t believe. I married a person who is incredible. We have an amazing life. My hair has nothing to do with it.

This pride, if you dare, if you want to see what it is like to know yourself without all that societal bullshit, shave your head. Have pride in that which lies within. If you’re a guy? Grow it out. Do something that people would immediately assign to another gender.

Do it. You only live once. Don’t go to your death thinking “God I wish I had just been me.”

Be you.

I love you guys.

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