Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am (Part Two)

A bit of background as to why... and
some thoughts on being a walking freak.

I think I first considered it a possibility when I saw AngryBaker do it. Then of course there was Natalie Portman!

I had gone short before and loved the feeling. A friend posted an old photo of me on fb that I had not seen before and I loved the look (well, not the butterfly clips so much but the colour, the length).

But those were just ideas, encouragements. The real impetus?

I became aware recently that I have an innocent and vulnerable look. I speak with a smile and I have a mild lisp. I blush easily and am naturally (?) shy.  When I started going out again to pubs and clubs I soon became aware of just how vulnerable I appear. It was a little scary; as well as annoying. I know that I have moxy and I really wanted other people to see it, not just after getting to know me but straight away.

I also wanted to know how I would handle being out in the world with no hair. I have hidden behind a beautiful mass of curls for so long; have received endless comments as to its attractiveness. But I want people to see me. If I 'uglify' myself how would people respond to that? I don't want to be my hair or my breasts or my face or my ass!

People certainly see me now.  I have been getting very good service at stores etc. People fucking pay attention! Yes, people liked my long hair but they can't help but look at my mohawk and then (possibly out of guilt over staring) address me and attend to my requests straight away. I like that very much. I was starting to feel a bit invisible and now you can't help but see me. Awesome.

The sun is reallllly warm on my head. The wind is reallllly cold. The breeze on my head feels so refreshing. I feel so clean and new. For me it is an outward way of saying how I feel inside. Clean and new :)

I don't have to worry about anyone or anything messing up my hair; it simply cannot be messed up! I noticed this when I was hanging out the washing just now and my head brushed against some clothes and I backed away instinctively to protect 'the do' and then remembered that there was no 'do' to protect. Oh, and trying clothes on in the store, no need to worry about messing the hair up there either!

I have been reaching back to run my hands through my hair forgetting that it's all gone and this morning on the way to the shower I automatically reached back to take my hair thing out. As for showers, they are now a synch. No endless struggles to untangle the mass or even to just get all that hair actually saturated enough to wash!

Plus I am pretty sure that I am making up for all of that teenage rebellion that never came out. In many ways I feel like leaving my religion and accepting the unlikelihood that God exists was the moment I stopped being a child. Except that it wasn't a moment. It did take about a year. And now I see things that I am saying and doing and would describe myself a bit like an adolescent (some people would say it more strongly than that I'm sure!).

Most of all I wanted a tangible way to represent the shedding of so much emotional baggage over the last year or so. It was a way for me to physically feel a sense of release and freedom. This time not from the constraints of a religion but from my own emotional turmoil during the process of leaving. I feel that I have grown a lot in the last year. I feel ready to start reclaiming peace in my life and to begin letting go of the anger that I have felt towards the church.


Finally, it was like a dare I gave myself. Could I, would I fucking do it? Yes I fucking would (for explanation of sudden bursts of profanity please see the paragraph above).

I wonder if the world is secretly thinking that a 30-something year old going through adolescence is a little bit sad. So far I think that people are feeling positive about it. The instructor teaching Body Jam before my class today said my hair rocked and that everyone in the UK is doing it... So then, maybe I am just getting back to my pommy roots?!  

Hmm, today I was at a shopping centre ('Mall' in American) and had a moment where I thought - "fuck! everyone has hair!"

Then I got over it.


  1. I am a bit jealous. Fixing my hair every day gives me the most grief and I've often wished I could just shave it all off. Like I said before, you need to have the right face to pull it off (which you do!), so I'll be stuck with my ugly hair. I really am happy for you. I can't imagine how nice it feels.

  2. Oooh you need a 'Magic Hands' too!!! A friend of mine (AngryBaker) has the coolest hairdresser who creates all kinds of colours and styles for AB. I'm going to need a MagicHands too once this stubble starts getting to nerd stage and then afro stage, not to mention Sideshow Bob stage!!! I have pictures, I should post them. It's not going to be pretty! hence the need to probably start looking NOW for a MH!

    The other thing I did when I started battling with the locks was to but a bunch of wide hippy looking headbands (or dread lock headbands) they tame the fury as well as covering up the grey hairs.

    Hoping you find a way to love your hair xox

  3. but a bunch!? haha BUY a bunch...

  4. Wow, you and C look so alike now. The facial structure is definitely genetic, huh?

    I don't remember Natalie Portman shaving her head, but she is just gorgeous.

    There is so much I noticed about myself without my hair. It's an experience I would recommend to anyone. Especially women - we're so tied up in our hair (literally and emotionally) and it's nice to be free of it all. In particular I noticed how asymmetrical my face is, how my nose tweaks to the left, and my ears are not even, and neither are my eyebrows.

    Anyway, this is about you, and it's great and I'm glad you are embracing the new you. It's great to have a fresh start. And it's great to look like you could kick anybody's ass.

  5. eeee! love that you did this! i am grinning here. i know that one of these days i'm gunna wake up in a rage and just shave off my dreads. and i will think of you as i do it!

  6. "This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man". You go girl! Loved you with the hair, love you without and will still love you even when you look like sideshow bob :) x
    ps. I can offer a good home to all those curl hair products :)

  7. Wow Maureen!! You look amazing.

    This is so fantastic and inspiring! Hmmm, only I don't mean inspired to go and shave my head (too vain? too shy? too entrenched in a system/occupation that would see it as taboo?). But I do feel inspired to shake of a bit more of my oppressive "christian" roots. I think I started my deconversion before you but It has been really slow (and painful as you know from personal experience) and I think I have been really dragging my feet. Definitely time to branch out, challenge myself and enjoy some freedom!
    Good on you for taking such a brave, exciting and adventurous step, internally and externally.

  8. AngryBaker - yeah, my kids were always getting spotted at church by the oldies as 'Kelly' kids. People who knew me as a child would see my kids for the first time and recognise them as a 'Kelly' w/out even knowing that they were my child. They are starting to look a little more like Toby as time goes by.

    Please talk as much as you want to about your experience here. I'd hate for it to be all about me. I love that my new hairstyle is getting people talking both in the real world and online. My Body Balance participants seem all excited by the change and love talking about what it means. After the class we end up in discussions about femininity and what is socially acceptable and challenging that. Who would have thought!

    Thanks Em :D you will love it! I am so glad that I did it. Even if I never do it again it has been such an interesting experience. The instructor before me today had a huge reaction when she saw my hair. She was very surprised. Then one of the participants asked her if she liked it (she did) and I thought about that later on. It's not really about liking 'the do' I never thought I would really like how it looked (It's not bad though) it was about just saying "fuck it!" to conventions.

    Alas dear Amanda I was a cheapskate towards the end there (RIP curls), I was using regular conditioner as my styling product. I don't think I have any curl specific products anymore. But thanks for the vote of confidence for my looming Sideshow Bob stage!

    Thanks Mandy! and thanks especially for commenting. I always wonder when I see the stats in the 100s each day what it is that prevents people from commenting. I think I'm pretty nice to commenters... so if anyone out there has been too shy to comment please give it a go! It's so much fun :)

    Take your time with the deconversion. I unintentionally threw myself in at the deep end. Upon leaving I soon started this blog and I only really know one way to express things that affect me deeply... very open and honest and that got me into a lot of hot water. My journey out certainly would have been different had I not blogged about it, more peaceful maybe? but I cannot change the past and I am happy about having helped others to come out or to feel a sense of solidarity with the ex-religious communities out there. It's a massive change in a person's life and I am glad that I did it so openly and with so much connection to other people. Good luck w/your journey. We shall have to chat about it more at out Survivor/Amazing Race party :D

  9. You've got a good looking head for it.

    Am I dating myself by saying I liked it when Sinead went with that look?

  10. Maureen you sure did throw yourself in at the deep end! I am not sure how I would possibly have coped with the pressure/pain of the early stages of my deconversion with the added pressure of going public. You have done really well. For me it was my poor husband and a much loved journal that had to bear the brunt of it. :)
    Thanks for the encouragement. We are all on a journey!

  11. Thanks Retief! The mohawk is gone now and there is this ridge on the top of my head that the hawk was hiding!!! If you look at me front on I'm like a mini cone head :P

    Oh yes Sinead! ... DH and I were mistaken for siblings when we were first dating. Um, weird that someone would think siblings would be that erm 'close' but yeah, people thought we were related and that kind of disturbed me for a bit. Was I attracted to myself?? nothing really wrong with that anyway now that I think about it.

    Mandy - Yay for journals, blogs, supportive partners and friends (especially all the mad online friends, who would have guessed you could get so much support just typing away at your computer!!!).