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A Real Time Shaver

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Recently I shaved my head for charity. It was a decision I didn’t make lightly but one I knew would be both beneficial to the cause involved and my morning routine. I was right to assume having no hair would significantly trim down the time on my pre-work groom but I failed to consider which other sides of my vanity might rear their heads in lieu of the lack of hair on my own.

Prior to the shave I had convinced myself that meeting with the clippers would force me to face the bare essentials and show up in the world one less layer masking my flaws. I have since realised that shaving isn’t the end; it’s only the means. I still had to do the same mental work anyone who cares about their appearance has to to build confidence around my new and exposed exterior.

The day I shaved, I wore make up to work. PS. I never wear make up to work. As I lined my eyes and powered my face the morning of our live-shave-broadcast I looked in the mirror and knew what I was doing was antithetic, but something deep inside compelled me to finish.

After the shave, work went back as normal, there was admin to do, emails to send and bits and pieces to wrap up before the weekend. I popped to the bathroom a few extra times that day. When Saturday night rolled around and I was set to meet friends for a drink, I found myself again in front of the mirror applying more makeup than I would have bothered with before, and searching for earrings to match my outfit – I also never wear earrings? I wanted so badly to embrace the buzz but I still felt the need to compensate.

The following week, I decided to let it all go. I consciously stopped myself from fixating on my skin, on whether I still looked feminine, on what accessories I needed to counterbalance the lack of identity I felt having no hair, and committed to the sentiment of “minimising the fuss”– lumps, bumps and all.

It’s funny how the self-assurance it appears it takes to shave your head as a young, female, may not be directly proportionate to how you feel about yourself as a young shaved-headed-female. A compliment I have since received is, “hats off to you, you must be so brave.” Sure, but that doesn’t mean I don’t experience the same fear, anxiety and obsession on the inside as everyone else. I just chose to let that bravery speak louder this time… Oh, and if you’re taking off your hat, can I borrow it?

I certainly don’t regret the new do and to be able to represent a cause as close to my heart as the one behind The Butterfly Foundation (the charity to whom we donated our funds) was a huge accomplishment. But we’re all flesh and blood and, for a moment, you could see a little more of my flesh than I was used to… and that was scary as shit.

Originally published in The Murray Pioneer

Paige Leacey