About 4 days ago, I hadn’t slept all night and was delirious and had watched Season 9, episode 10 of The Office (‘Lice’) where Meredith Palmer shaves her head off to deal with lice. I then went on to shave my own head. Not because of the episode or not because I had lice. But simply because it was something I had been meaning to do for a while (a while = 10 years).
When I started cutting my hair off, it was fine. It was going well. Then I started to shave it bit by bit with a terrible razor (tip: don’t use one of those flimsy razors to shave your head off, if you have thick hair. It will take ages). I could see my scalp, the cute hair follicles and I knew at that point that there was no going back. So I kept shaving. When the time came to shave the back of my head, I asked my mother to help. I now look porcupine-y.
I learnt a couple of things along the way:
1. Cut your hair as short as you can before you shave it off. It makes the whole process much easier.
2. If your parents seem alarmed and are possibly questioning your state of mind, remind them, calmly, that you always intended to do this.
3. While shaving, be prepared to feel a range of emotions. Actually, I didn’t know what I was going to feel while going through it so imho keeping an open mind helps. I went from ‘wow, we’re really doing this’ to ‘uh oh it looks weird’ to ‘I’m so glad I did this’.
4. My parents are not perfect but they have been extremely proactive with telling me in different ways that they have my back.
5. Things happen for a reason. I didn’t go bald when I was 18 because I was insecure, too worried about what people would say and had internships in very conservative work environments. I am glad I got to shave my head off during a lockdown, feeling slightly more secure than I was when I was 18 and with a lot more people doing the same thing.
6. Shaving your head off is liberating. Especially as a woman living and dealing with Bombay summer. The humidity and heat can be quite punishing. Also, as a woman I have realised that my femininity cannot be reduced to what the length or shape or texture of my hair is.
I might continue to add more things to this list as my hair continues to grow back but as of today, these are my learnings.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.