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On Shaving my Head and Visiting Machu Picchu

I have shaved my head! What an intense and interesting experience it has been so far.

Why? you might wonder.


Well, my intention was to release the energy stored in my hair, shatter my self-image and identity, and force myself to show up as who I am instead of who I think I am, or worse, should be. To show up from the inside out, and to remember that although I'm not conforming to society's beauty standards for women, I am worthy, beautiful, and fully me.


How is that working out for me?

Sometimes great! Sometimes not at all. Let me fill you in on the story.

Freshly cut

The shaving took place in the Sacred Valley in Peru, at the very end of and super intense spiritual sexual shamanic training.

I had shed a lot of identity during the training, and I wanted to anchor in the change.

I felt quite centered and determined while my friend Paul shaved me. Shedding my hair had been on my mind for about five years which helped me ground my decision; although the decision came through quickly, it had been brewing for a long time. That night, however, I was not as confident. The thought "What the fuck have I done?" was playing on repeat in my head. I felt devastated, guilty and ashamed and I told myself that I had abandoned the parts of me that wanted to belong, and that this naked butt head would prevent me from experiencing belonging during a very long time. I couldn’t sleep all night.

I felt naked showing my scalp, especially from behind, as though showing the back of my head allowed people access to my most vulnerable places.


I was scared of what people would think, but most importantly I was scared of what I would think, and that I would fall into the habit of self-loathing whenever someone would judge me, which I anticipated would happen sooner or later as I entered the non-tantric, default world called society.


Had I just given my inner bully another reason not to like me? Or would this hairlessness help me to surrender my inner asshole, over and over again, and come into full presence?

“She’s not beautiful… She’s looking for attention… She’s not feminine… Is that a woman or a man?” my vivid imagination suggested that people would think.


My head felt raw and open, like a fresh cut that needed time to heal. Putting on a beanie felt like putting band aid on an open wound. It was needed, calming and reassuring.


Machu Picchu with friends

The next day, I went to visit Machu Picchu with a group from the training. A dear friend put his hands on my scalp and held there, and as the love poured from his hands into my raw and vulnerable head, some of the shame and fear was being washed away.

And then… I had an amazing day. I was in Machu Picchu for Christ’s sake. I could walk. I was alive and well and sharing my day with two of the most loving people I’ve ever met. I felt deeply loved and held and happy. And I remembered that at the end of the day, it didn't matter whether or not I had hair. The earth would still spin. People would still love each other. Or not.

And all the people who loved me would still do so, with or without hair.


I started to feel confident again. Maybe I would even be able to think that I was pretty? Maybe I would even, with time, come to be proud of my naked butt head? And honestly, in time, I would have a furry head and then a short haircut head and eventually long hair again.


And in the meantime, if I don’t like it, there are lots of alternatives.



At this point, a month in, my head is getting furry. The difference is palpable. I’m actually thinking I need to enjoy the short hair while it lasts, because this, too, shall pass, and really quickly it seems. I've passed the hedge hog phase (where my hair stands up like a furry hedge hog) and I've entered the beaver phase, where my hair lies flat again, like a beaver coat.


Potentially it helped that I got super sick after Machu Picchu and ended up hanging out with my fear of death as I was struggling to breathe due to pus in my lungs. It quickly put things in perspective and I stopped worrying about my appearance.


The hair is still in my bag. I most likely will donate it. Or I may leave a piece of it here and there on my journey, in places that are important to me. Or both.


I am getting increasingly pleased with how this is turning out. That being said, I am still scared and insecure at times, and I am finding myself able to remember to drop into the moment when I am. And then the fear dissolves. So, my idea is working.


A friend of mine commented that she admires women who shave their heads and don’t give a shit. I replied that the shit giving doesn’t stop just because one doesn't have hair. Nah, mental programming has nothing to do with looks. However, consciously triggering ourselves and blowing up our comfort zone can force us to look at our beliefs and change them to something more useful. Going towards fear and pain (instead running away from them) is a fast track to transformation and growth.

This is not about rebelling. I am not wanting to say fork you to anyone. Okay, maybe a little bit to beauty standards, society and the pressure on women to look a certain way. Just a little. Mostly, however, it is a process of shedding identity, attachment to looks and owning who I am without protection barriers.


And yes, sometimes I look in the mirror and think “UH!” That’s an ugly naked butt head. And sometimes I look in the mirror and think “Fuck yeah.”



Furry friend

Love,

Annika

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