It was about 7 years ago today that I had shaved off my long hair. I was nearly bald. And, I felt absolutely amazing and completely liberated. It was the first time in my life I had something so drastic. It still has an impact on me today that has profoundly changed the course of my life.
A year prior to that day, my father had passed away from a grueling battle with cancer. I was still getting through that journey. I was quite lost and not sure what I was doing in my life. At the time, I was studying at the University of Cape Town, an absolutely stunning place to be if you’ve never been. Not to mention the university grounds themselves were beautiful. Anyway, the University was having a shave-a-thon in support of cancer.
I had a friend of mine there with me who was talking to me and pointed it out. We continued to walk to the the lecture theatre where we met up with some other friends. They all knew and had some idea about what happened and that I am quite passionate about cancer prevention and fighting through it.
After the lecture, they said we need to go and do the head shaving. I was totally against it and thought that it would be ridiculous. I was could look ridiculous and not sure how I would feel about it. They kept haggling me and convinced me that I need to do it. It’s part of finishing the journey and working towards healing. I thought that was an entire crock of shit.
We went to the tents where they were shaving people’s heads. I thought well I will take the queue and wait with everyone else. They went before me and I was the last of us to go. I was nervous and nearly walked away. My close friend pushed me and said that I must do it. I turned around and sat down in the chair.
The guy was very nice and asked me if he could cut some of my hair off first before starting. I told him to go ahead. He cut some off and I saw it falling under the me. I was feeling a bit nervous not knowing what was happening. I felt goosepimples building on my arm similar to right now as I am recalling this moment in my life.
The scissor cutting finished and the guy told me, “It’s time to start shaving.” I thought what the hell it’s time. I heard the shaver go on and start at my forehead. It made me start tearing and getting very emotional. I started to feel this immense sense of release. I felt my father’s presence and he was next to me. The guy kept shaving my head while my eyes were shut. As felt the hair falling off and the weight going off my shoulders, my inside felt lighter and lighter.
At the end, he told me that it’s all over and was wondering why I was so emotional. I looked at myself in the mirror with incredibly short hair that I never imagined having in my entire life. I felt joy that it was me with a new look, it was me with a sense of release, an finally I could heal. Ever since then I have shaved my head when I feel like it. Of course, it doesn’t have the same feeling as that day, but it does still feel lighter and give me that sense of freedom.
Looking back on that day, I feel relieved and healed. I have only my amazing friend to thank for pushing me. It was a gift that I got for free and could share on my own. Nobody knows exactly what I felt inside, but they knew it changed me.
They knew my dear Dad was near me and was in my presence knowing that I had a tough time accepting that he didn’t win his fight against cancer. They also knew that I was alone with no close relatives near me, and somehow I was managing to wake up every day with a smile on and living my life. I was working through my 2nd year at uni and didn’t fail out at that point.
That day saved my life, because it was my liberation and freedom from grief that I had been battling with. Nobody knew the internal conflict and turmoil. Nobody could understand it. It was finally the end to suffering that I had been dealing with for nearly 1 year.
Fast forwarding to today, I’ve come a long way. The dark days are behind me. Every time, I shave my head, I think about that day with my friends. I think about the day that I saved myself from me. I think about the time that single event contributed significantly into shaping me into the person that I’ve become today. I am not saying I would have committed suicide or something as dramatic — surely not — but I am saying that it would have been a lot worse.
You may challenge me on that by saying that I couldn’t have predicted the future. You’re absolutely right, but what I do know is that I was suffering then and went to some dark avenues. My thoughts were sour, my heart was broken, and my soul torn apart. I wasn’t able to do anything without feeling bad and breaking down. It was one of the worst times of my life.
We have to make life the best we can make it. What I want to share with you is this:
The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t hesitate in doing anything, because you never what freedom, joy, liberation, or whatever emotion it may bring you.
Never stop living, and know that you control your own life. I really appreciate you taking time to get to the end of this story. Thank you for reading!
Feel free to share your thoughts and your experiences!