Risking it All, Brittany Spears Style
Two years ago I worked with a beautiful woman who was in the throes of cancer treatment as a single mom of four.
She shaved her head in anticipation of her chemo and radiation treatments.
During the time she was my client she shared with me how liberating it was to free herself of her hair and all that was wrapped up in her appearance.
She told me that she wished every woman would take the opportunity to create this experience for themselves if only to feel the gentle breeze on their scalp.
A seed in my heart was planted and I promised myself that one day, I would chop all my hair off.
Then 2 weeks ago while sitting on my cruise ship balcony overlooking a glacier in the middle of Alaska I realized that the time had come.
I was ready to liberate myself from the last remnants of who I used to be and fully claim ALL of me.
As with all other revelations, I felt it, owned it, and then promptly buried it in my subconsciousness.
Because who really does the Brittany Spears and shaves their head?
I am far too cautious, calculated and considerate of how I show up in life much less my appearance to do something SO radical.
Besides I felt convicted not desperate (maybe Brittany was too?!?).
What if I looked bad?
What if I regretted it?
What if my husband didn’t think I was sexy?
What would my parents think?
What if I hated it?
How would I style it?
How would I find someone to cut it right as it grew out? -I’m in the midst of a relocation
Another week went by without thinking about chopping it all off.
In anticipation of my upcoming haircut I actually started to feel recommitted to growing it out and capitalize on the progress I've made over the last 9 months.
As soon as we got back from vacation it was like someone started shining a spotlight on all the uncertainty in my life.
Will I ever get pregnant?
When will our house sell?
When will we find a new one?
Will I like my new city?
Will I find new friends?
How will my business be affected by our relocation?
I reflected back on my life thinking about my divorce at 30, my career change at 34 and all the practical moves required along the way and I realized that I always figure it out.
I would figure out my hair as well.
The longer I thought about it the more I realized that I HAD to chop my hair off. This act was surrender, acceptance and rebirth all wrapped up in one.
It became clear, that NOW was the time to let was once a small desire, something that had been growing in size and strength, burst forth and become my reality.
Now this kind of revelation has happened to me before so I was prepared for the fear, anxiety, sleeplessness, distraction and bargaining to come.
I became determined to wait.
This couldn’t be the right time for such a drastic identity shift.
But of course, desire is desire, and when she’s ready to burst forth, SHE READY.
A few days later, I found myself at the Dakota Jazz club in Minneapolis featuring Jearlynn Steele who opened her performance with “Let it Go” from Frozen.
That was it.
I was chopping off my hair.
Jearlynn crooned and the combination of her voice and the lyrics wore down my fear and solidified my resolve.
It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
Let it go, let it go
After the concert we stopped to have a drink on an outdoor patio. Once we were settled with beverages in hand I looked at my husband and said:
Me: I’m going to do it.
Him: Cut all your hair off? Like really buzz it?
Me: YES, I replied. Yes, I am
Him: Can I do it for you? We can go back to the hotel and do it right now! (OMG he’s so cute!)
Me: No babe, I think I need a professional. I’m curious tho, how do you think I will look?
Him: Well, being that I’m a cancer doctor, I can say one thing is for sure, beautiful women are beautiful, regardless of whether or not they have hair.
I fell in love with him all over again in that moment and felt a sigh of relief.
Alright then, this shit is happening…...on MONDAY
I had a hard time sleeping on Sunday night and Monday morning I found myself anxious. I cried at my desk thinking…
What if I”m not pretty enough to pull this off?
What if I’m not strong enough?
Maybe I’ll just wait till my next haircut….
And then I realized that I always find myself and my way when I trust myself and DO the thing that I know I must do. Thus, I started emotionally preparing myself for what was to come.
I was however unprepared for how many revelations I would have during the process.
> I was going to be a fraud if I didn't get this haircut but no one else would have ever known that.
> Hair can be an extension of negative thoughts.
> Too much of our identity, ego, and life path are tied up in how we look.
> Being unrecognizable to yourself is as liberating as it is amusing.
> I've made great progress to living a #zerofucks life BUT there are a sacred few whose opinions matter deeply to me (but not in this situation).
> I've shed at least 20lbs of emotional weight.
> No matter what happens in my life whether on purpose or by fate, I always figure it out.
> There are many phases of change that are wildly uncomfortable but surrendering to the process, trusting your ability to make good decisions and handle what comes at you are critical key elements to having a positive outcome.
There was one point in the process where my hairstylist Mickie put me under the hairdryer and proceeded to apply color on another client. The delay was agonizing and I started to question myself all over again.
A voice rose through my thoughts and she said:
“No Lisa, STOP IT, you are going to ROCK this haircut so get your shit together and own it”.
OWN. THAT. SHIT.
The final stretch of my cut started unfolding and I could begin to see a new me being revealed, I gasped when I saw her and thought to myself, “Oh, THERE you are”.
Cue the waterworks, again.
I could SEE her!
The woman I had been looking for!
The version of myself that I had yet to connect with in real life.
I knew she was in there, I could feel her, see her and talk to her but I hadn’t ever seen her.
This was no simple haircut.
It was the last step of this stage of my becoming.
An action that could finally reveal a part of me that had always been hidden inside.
I had become a woman whose edges got blurred as a result of relationships, social expectations, past versions of myself, and acceptance of responsibilities.
Why, no, this was not really about hair at all.
It was an act of carving a clear line between myself and everything else.
Like taking a sharpie to a pencil drawing, redefining the lines that had gotten smudged over time.