My Hair Journey: Why I shaved my head

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Photo of me by Leva Choden

Since deciding to shave my head I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my short haircuts which are usually followed by the question “but why would you cut off all that curly hair ?” It took me a long time to love my big curly hair but in doing so I also gained some resentment to having it. I got tired of being associated with something that seems so minuscule. I remember going from being made fun of and gawked at for having hair the size of Texas to it becoming a trend that social media influenced others to love thanks to all the curly headed beautiful Instagram models of the world. But long before it was cool to have curly locks everyone was pressured to have sleek straight hair and those of us who didn’t got remedial questions like “why don’t you ever comb your hair?” or “why is it so frizzy?” (obviously because you don’t comb through curls and humidity can make your hair frizzy..). But when people started to love curly hair it became the first thing a person would notice about me and compliment me on. Not to mention my caucasian peers loved to always ask “What do you put in your hair to get it like that?”. The most annoying question in the world, truly.

But it wasn’t just outsiders that made me feel a way. Certain people around me that I knew made me feel as though my hair was who I was when really it was just a small part of me. Like I was so lucky to have a tangled curly mess on top of my head. Yes it was unique and I loved the compliments at times but I spent a lot of my childhood and adolescent years wishing my hair and even hair in general wasn’t an important topic. Yes, your hair is your crown but there is no crown to wear without the person. Which brings me to when I reached a point in my life about a year ago where I felt like I started looking at life from a whole different perspective. What was once important to me no longer had meaning. Things I once dreamed about and obsessed over didn’t impress me once I attained them. I felt empty a lot. I felt like I was a possession rather than a person in a lot of aspects of my life.

A year ago I quit modeling in the professional sense and got out of contract with both of my agencies because I felt like an object owned by a business rather than a person. I felt disrespected and degraded in my work and no amount of money could make me feel better about that. I had worked so hard to get to a point of being taken seriously as a model and once I was around people in the industry I was disgusted with how myself and other models were treated. I hated being on a strict diet and using up my hard earned money on a trainer I didn’t need ( I already looked like a noodle). And ya girl likes food. When I say I was unhappy I was UNHAPPY. I was overworked, I was spreading myself thin, and I was looking for validation in places I would never get it from and truly didn’t need it to begin with. The money and the time spent was not worth it to me anymore and I realized that I had received way more fulfilling jobs on my own. I  felt like I was a possession and not a person..and with enough hard learned lessons I soon found that I was feeling the same way in my relationships.

I was in a relationship with someone who was way more interested in controlling me and tearing me down rather than supporting me and uplifting me. My friendships were based on what I could do for other people. It seemed like everything in my life was a constant power struggle and the person I truly had potential to be was being constantly suppressed, controlled, or overlooked. I noticed I bit my tongue in a lot of situations like as if I had no control because I was often around people and situations that made feel that way (which was entirely my own fault and due to my own choices). I had to reevaluate everything; what I wanted for myself and my life, how I wanted to be treated/loved, and what changes needed to be made to be the happiest version of myself. When I stripped myself of what I knew I felt content in all of these random and brash decisions I was making. I cut all kinds of ties that were holding me back. I gave up things and people that I thought I loved. Detachment became a huge theme in my life, and brought me to the realization that I was no longer attached to my hair or the ideas I was conditioned to believe about myself as a woman.

I wanted to challenge my confidence and start over. I didn’t feel attached to my hair. I didn’t feel like I needed it, and synonymously I didn’t feel like I needed the things and people that I put so much emphasis on. So I hit up a friend of mine, Sergio Miranda who is someone I had always trusted and happened to be one of the best Barbers I know (Follow him on IG and book an appointment @noswagsergio). I figured if I was gonna do this is I was gonna do it right and have peace of mind that I won’t walk out of someone’s shop looking like an avatar. I mentally prepared myself to do it and I dyed and cut my hair a couple times leading up to me shaving it all off. The attachment I had to my hair eventually became nonexistent. I knew this was something I wanted when I first sat in that chair and I saw my hair fell to the floor. I felt lighter. I left the shop feeling like an entirely new person. Although cutting my hair itself was not the exact event that became the changing point of my life it was definitely the start. It was a realization that I was outgrowing who I was and who people portrayed me as. I noticed a lot when I cut my hair. I noticed my posture changed. I noticed that I actually had a deep appreciation for my face without it hiding behind big curly hair.

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I noticed how my confidence soared and that I carry myself like someone who is comfortable in their own skin because I truly am. I didn’t feel like any less of a woman without my hair. I actually felt like more of one. I felt the most girly and womanly than I had ever felt in my life. I felt naked but in a good way. I felt like all of myself was being seen. There was a certain vulnerability I exuded that didn’t feel like the scary or uncomfortable kind. I no longer felt like I needed something we so heavily associate our femininity with. We do that as women. We take so much pride in our hair (which we should to a certain degree) that some of us don’t even leave the house or want to be seen when it isn’t done. We damage it and put chemicals in it. We manipulate our hair to look how we are shown and told it should look so that we look “pretty”. It’s great to look nice and feel good but at what point are we satisfied with just us? At what point are we content with what we are naturally given? I had to learn that this is what I was truly given in this life: Some time, a purpose, a soul, and this body that houses my soul. This body that is temporary and will break down one day. But I was also given the ultimate gift…the gift of being a woman.

I am a being who can create life and has natural ability and instinct to nurture and heal those around me because thats what we do. Women are the foundation of love. We exude it and we teach it through being love. As mothers, as teachers, as sisters alike we love so hard that sometimes it hurts like hell. I was onto something: F what the rest of the world is talking about as far as what I “need” because I embody femininity in ways that are way deeper than just physical aspects. I am a woman to my core. That cannot be taken from me and the confidence that came from this realization can’t be stripped from me either. The physical aspect of me got the change I was looking for but none of it mattered until I made some changes to my way of thinking and my attitude towards my identity and my life. The internal change was the most revolutionary. Here I was thinking I was just getting a haircut to be rebellious and go against a concept. But months down the line I was molded into someone with a new understanding. The one thing I have control over in this life is me. I have control over what I allow, who I allow into my life, what direction I go in occupationally, and what treatment I accept. I set the tone for all of my relationships and endeavors.

Doing something as simple as cutting off my hair gave me the courage to take on everything else that once scared me or made me uncomfortable. My comfort zone was where complacency lived and I knew I could no longer be there and grow into who I wanted to be. I have been stepping out of comfort zones ever since. I’ve been a raging b*tch ever since. But in the best way possible. I’m in control in all aspects. I hold my tongue for no one. I don’t tolerate being undervalued or mistreated by anyone. I don’t hesitate to say no or remove myself from situations that don’t suit me or contribute to my growth and my happiness. My happiness has become one of my most prized possessions along with my peace of mind and I’ve pissed a lot of people off trying to preserve it and cater to self. I’m not afraid to start over. I’m not afraid to break my own heart for the greater good and pick up the pieces my damn self. I’ve seen strength in me that I didn’t even know I had but I’ve also experienced a softness about myself I never knew I was capable of. I’ve been being vulnerable and emotionally naked, living my truth unapologetically…not to mention I share it with all of you (I bare my soul on here and it is still the weirdest thing I’ve ever done!). I feel like a pretty flower with the perfect amount of thorns. I now value both my crown and my person even more. You can’t appreciate your crown when you aren’t appreciating the entity that wears it. You aren’t your hair, you aren’t your occupation, and you aren’t the expectations and standards life so inconveniently places upon you.

You are a soul with a body. Not a body with a soul. What are the contents of your soul? What is truly in there and how often do you let that entity navigate the direction of your life ? When your physical state breaks down and you start to prune,  I would hope that your insides still look and feel their best . I would hope that your insides sing harmonies that exude your truth because you lived life making decisions that were best for you. I would hope that a life well lived is carried out through your spirit. I would hope that when you talk to people they admire you in the sense that you are so happy and full that  they want to know your secrete to being that way. I would hope that all of you choose to live out of love and not out of fear. Do everything that makes you uncomfortable. Whatever lights a fire in you, explore that. Let that fire light the way to what could be an amazing experience or a lesson worth sharing. The smallest of things that we do all contribute to our purpose, our exploration of self. That crazy thing you were thinking about doing 20 minutes ago that you talked yourself out of… DO IT.

xoxo,

Nori

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