A Bald Journey.

A Bald Journey. Travelling Through Grey and Moving on in Age.

This is a public announcement.  I declare it’s only a matter of time before I go from a full head of hair to a completely bald look.  It’s a future fact.  I want to document my journey.  Share why it’s important for me to go through such an experience.

I’m a consumer of hair dyes.  Years of wearing different shades of colours.  From lights to darks.  I don’t know what sits beneath the products I place on my noggin.

About seven years ago I started to see specks of white coming through.  In denial I put it down to living in a sunny state and having blond hair.  The answer was now clear.  The sun was naturally bleaching my wavy mop.

At the time I must have been more comfortable with failing eye sight.  Rather than coming to terms with this colour starting to surface on my head.

Over the last two years it was obvious greys were starting to dominate.  I could no longer fool myself.  Being blond was a part of my history now.

The grey realisation had me shocked.  I ignored it for a month.  Or more like seven years and one month.  I didn’t want to face it.  White and grey were my favourite colours.  Until they started to appear on my scalp.

How was I to consolidate aging?  Was this where I was meant to start seeing myself as matured?  What did that even mean?

When we age we shed many skins: ego, arrognace, dominance, self-opionated, unreliable, pessimism, rudeness, selfish, uncaring … Wow, it’s good to be old! – Stephen Richards

Always feeling like a child at heart.  A sense of adventure in my veins and a youth like attitude were all starting to wither away with this new observation.  There were tell tail signs that I was heading in an area that I had not given much thought.

I’m one of the most practical people I know.  Age is a part of life.  I won’t fight something that is naturally occurring.  For me there is only one alternative.  Face all the fears and embrace age.

Age is a part of life. I won’t fight something that is naturally occurring. Click To Tweet

I don’t want to go under the knife.  I’ve become fond of my wrinkles.  Now it’s the make-up companies who will benefit.  All I’ll have to do is tip the bottle of liquid foundation upside down and let it run into the creases in my face.  Similar to that of a cement truck.

I refuse to feel burdened by age.  I have plans.  My neighbours will think of me as ‘that kooky old lady’ who wears bright blue or green eye shadow.  Bursting into song at the most inconvenient of moments.  I haven’t decided if I want to go as far as mumble to myself, but it is an option.

All this has come from seeing a few grey hairs that will never get the better of me.  I overcome this is by going a step further.  The new me will be a shiny bald head.

Preparation for my pending new style.

  • I’ve been practicing wearing head scarfs.
  • I have become quite good with a bandanna (I call it my Pirate look).
  • I have croqueted a hat in preparation.

Once I commit to a scheme floating around in my mind, I go into free thinking.  This is where I allow my brain to play with the idea.

I begin to contemplate what bald means to me.  I come up with a number of possible scenarios that I may encounter.  From the serious to the ridiculous.  It’s brain storming.  There are no limitations and no rules in this timeframe.

I have a thing for the Statue of Liberty.  I’m known for calling her the Lib Lady.  She always seems to appear in my mind when I am faced with a challenge.  A symbol reminding me to stand tall in the face of adversity.  Be statue like!  While the storm is all around remain on your spot.

Once I see her and think about being bald I immediately feel liberated and empowered.  The flip side to that is there will be days I may want to shrink away from society.  Afraid to go out into the public until my hair has grown.

I felt nervous.  Hesitation got a lot of attention.  Wondering what I would think of myself.  I got angry.  I wanted to be more than just my hair.  The idea of my outer beauty holding significantly more value than a caring and kind heart stung.

True beauty is not related to what color your hair is or what color your eyes are. True beauty is about who you are as a human being, your principles, your moral compass. – Ellen DeGeneres

A surprising test run.

I want to observe the reaction of other people.

A day where I covered up.  Wearing my bandana, I noticed people looking at me strangely.  Yet when I have my hair in a ponytail away from my face, I am another person amongst the crowd.

I really noticed that people watched me with a head scarf on.

People with no choice.

There was a period of time when I felt for those who have no choice.  Cancer patients losing all their hair.  As if they don’t have enough going on.  Losing their physical identity while fighting for their life on the inside.

I felt like I would be ripping cancer survivors off because I had a choice.  I really had to do a lot of self-talk to right this in my mind.  This was not logical nor positive.

Fear.

My mind began a rant that I was all too familiar with.  ‘Why are you doing this?  You know you don’t have to.  What lunatic would voluntarily do this to themselves?’

Yet some part of me has always known there’d be a stage in my life where I would be shaving my hair off for the experience.

  • Am I scared? A little.
  • Am I excited? The same amount as scared.
  • Am I fascinated? I can’t wait for the experience.

RELATED:  What a Tandem Sky Dive Taught Me About The Fear Factor.

The Bald Journey

What am looking at?

We’re emotional beings.  The first three months I will be observing myself.  I want to look in the mirror every day and examine how I feel.

  • Will I feel lesser of a person on some days?
  • Will I feel bigger on other days?

Bald is facing my own vanity challenge.

I put an effort into looking good.  I work hard at it.  I wear make-up five to six days a week.  My appearance matters to me.  How will I feel when I have no hair?

Questions I have asked myself.

  • Have I planned for every emotion?
  • Do I know what I am getting myself into?
  • Am I prepared for regret?
  • Will I have that dreaded feeling of ‘what have I done?’
  • What will I think when I look into the mirror the first day of being bald?
  • I wonder if there will be a period where I accept being bald and grow to like it?
  • Will I go back to the same hair styles?
  • What happens if I don’t enjoy any of the process?
  • What happens if all my confidence is actually based on my appearance?

Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair.  But a confident bald man – there’s your diamond in the rough. – Larry David

The emotions of it all.

I’m allowed to love it, hate it and be insecure by it.  Adapt to it.  I want my emotions to present themselves naturally.  Experience all the feeling as they arise.  Not all of them will be pleasant.

I have prepared for everything I can possibly think of.  Yet I know there will be thoughts that I’ve not calculated.  There will be the unknown factors.

This has not been an overnight decision.  I am mentally prepared.  Whatever pops up that has not been calculated, I’ll be ready to manage it.  See my post on Risk Analysis – A Practiced Part of Project Management.

In conclusion

As I venture into the unknown, emotional turmoil surrounds my next step.  I’m not afraid to feel unsure and wobbly.

It’s an undiscovered part of me that I want to explore.  This is not something I take on lightly.  I’ve traveled a lot of mental miles over the years to feel a sense of stable strength.  I’m about to mess a solid foundation.  That’s exciting.

I’ve traveled a lot of mental miles over the years to feel a sense of stable strength. Click To Tweet

I’ve prepared myself the best I can.  I have set a date to action my plan.  The emotional outcomes are a mystery.

Fear exists yet it’s no reason to be deterred.  There will be things I have not thought about.  They will present themselves while I’m on this journey.  Feelings I did not take into account.  I have calculated the risk as best I can.

It’s only when I follow through and become bald will I truly know how I will feel.

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16 Comments

  1. Hey Rachel,

    Wow – so this is what you meant when you responded to my comment last night.
    I had meant to reply to that and the day got the better of me.

    Very brave my friend. I have a feeling this will only enhance your ability to help others regarding their own personal development.

    It sort of reminds me of the “fit to fat to fit” guy. He’s a fitness trainer and he was in fantastic shape. But because of this, he didn’t feel he could relate to his clients as well as he wanted to.

    So he got fat. Tracked this over the time he stopped exercising and started eating junk. Gained a ton of weight – just to work it all off again and go through the journey his clients go through.

    I didn’t have to do anything like that because I had already been fat, but I thought his approach was so creative and cool.

    I think the same of what you’re doing.
    Can’t wait to follow along on your journey.
    Dana recently posted…When You Change the Way You Look at Things…My Profile

    • Hey Dana,

      I used the Facebook chat with you last night as a practice. The tease everyone talks about before a post comes out. I thought if it went wrong Dana I could explain myself to you and you would get it. You were my safety net.

      It was back in October or November last year that I started feeling things about this journey I was going to venture into. After I had felt it back then, it was laid to rest. Over the last week bring it back into focus, I have had many different emotions stirring. Only three weeks until I do it. I can’t wait and then other moments I’m horrified at what I’m about to do.

      All I can say is that its going to be a period of strong emotions. The fitness guy you are talking about. I remember seeing him talking about it putting on weight. I thought it a lunatic idea at the time. Now you sharing your insight and comparing his venture into weight gain, and my venture in to balding I see the similarities. Thank you. It would be great to be able to put it into my practice.

      Rachel.

  2. I know you know me and Vice Versa through the Liebster. I have always wondered what being bald or more permanent such as a friend of mine who is blind. I know what its like to live with pain but that takes some strength and acceptance.

    I think what you are doing is amazing . We should all drop our walls of fear and self-vanity and look at others and ourselves as just people . I appreciate you sharing this journey and will be here to listen and watch and support you . Thank you for the strength it takes to do this . Deb

    • Hey Deb,

      Yes we do know one another. Hello and welcome.

      Wow what a wonderfully supportive comment. I too am fascinated by the same things you are Deb. Going blind, has fascinated me. Scared me but fascinated me. I’m always astounded by those who can live with pain. It’s so draining. It zaps energy and yet people live with it. Really they are my hero’s.

      There is a tiny part of me that does not see this as a hurdle at all. My hair will grow back. Only a small part, as the rest is full of fear. Mind you fear should be analysed and decisions made on what actions to take in regards to it. No need to act immediately on fear but it is one of those alarms that says an investigation is required. That’s how to manage fear. Never letting it go without giving it a thorough looking into.

      I am going to be keeping a diary and documenting it. Thanks for your support once again Deb,it is appreciated.

      Rachel.

      Rachel.

  3. Hi Rachel,

    This is truly an amazing post. Two of my worse nightmares about aging is losing my teeth and losing my hair. It’s totally a vanity thing, right?

    I think you’re amazing for writing this and the way you have written it. I admire your strength, my friend.

    Thank you for this.

    Bren
    Brenda Pace recently posted…The Best All-In-One Social Media WordPress PluginMy Profile

    • Hey Brenda,

      Oh boy, I never thought about losing my teeth. I agree it would be a nightmare. Costly as well. It is a vanity thing, but we do become comfortable with out looks.

      As the days start to tick away and my new hairless adventure gets closer, my mind yells in the negative more. But that makes me more determined. Thanks for your kind words.

      Rachel.

  4. Bold and brave Rachel and I admire that. Not many people take courage to talk about this in public and keep themselves busy in fighting with something which is natural and as you said is a part of life.

    Here is a question for you Rachel, do you think women are more worried and prone to this fear than men in general?

    Great article and I enjoyed reading it. Cheers, have a nice weekend.

    • Hey Ahmad,

      We either accept what is naturally occurring or we struggle with it. Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean we like it, we just aren’t about to go into battle with something that can’t be changed. Its like the Serenity Prayer. It goes something like, help me change what can be changed, help me accept what can’t be changed and give me the wisdom to know the difference.

      When we accept things as they are we work with the information available to us. As to your question Ahmad, Men enjoy their looks as much as woman. We all look in the mirror we just see things differently. I believe we all walk into age with fears. Yet with age come many changes and the one that can’t be seen that I think is incredible is mental strength. As a teenager I struggled with self doubt, fitting in rather than standing out. I wanted to be liked. I had a whole lot of ‘self’ issues.

      Now I am who I am. You’re welcome to like me, hate me, hold an opinion of me, but that’s not my issue. Where as years ago I would have done anything for your acceptance. While my hair goes grey, I make creaking noises in places and I get a little more tired, I am free in every sense of the word. Because I have escaped the mental jail I placed myself in and accepted myself. And that is a worth battle.

      Rachel.

  5. Very brave post, Rachel…

    I am one of those men who are naturally balding young…I think it started when I was about 21 and I don’t really try to make a big deal about it myself. I just keep my hair trimmed short.

    However, I can’t say I’m not insecure about myself sometimes because people my age (23) usually are blessed with a full head of hair and take it for granted. Growing old with a full head of grey hair wouldn’t have bothered me at all.

    But then again, aren’t we all insecure sometimes? When it comes down to it, I think I’m very comfortable in my own skin. EVEN if that means having to go completely bald at an early age.

    I certainly don’t look forward to it, but hey, I don’t CONTROL it! And that’s the point. I try to focus on things I can control in life. That’s where our personal power comes from.

    Glad you accepted yourself, Rachel! Acceptance is such a powerful thing…

    Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

    – Jasper
    Jasper Oldersom recently posted…13 Things Expert Copywriters Taught Me About Writing Persuasive CopyMy Profile

    • Hey Jasper,

      It’s your first time to my blog so welcome.

      You make a great point Jasper. When you say you would have preferred going grey to bald. I would have preferred thick dark curly hair. So we always know what we like and what we would have preferred. I have always enjoyed what I can’t have on others.

      Would you call it insecure or self-conscious? Accepting your naturally balding head at a young age would have been tough, although tougher had you not accepted it. When bald comes up in conversation or gets attention you feel a little uncomfortable but it would make you feel inadequate about yourself.

      I agree working with what is controllable is certainly power that we can put to good use rather than being blind to what is out of our control and hitting our heads on brick walls.

      I say power to the people who know how to accept and manage what is within themselves to control. Thanks for your comments.

      Rachel.

  6. Hi Rachel

    This topic gets the creeps out of people. Thinking about aging and having a bald hair isn’t a cool experience but you know I admire your thoughts and how you brought it forth in your post.

    I have family members that are bald and most of them tease me that I will join them soon which always makes me smile. As you shared, I guess it is better to be prepared mentally .

    Thanks for sharing. Take Care

    • Hey Ikechi,

      I agree Ikechi, everything to do with age scares the creeps out of people. I’ve heard lots of negatives towards getting old. Yet some of the best conversations I have had have come from people sharing their past, their lessons and difficulties. There are many things in life that we can change. I could wear a wig, get my face looking younger by injections or operations. The market is full of it.

      But I want to move through age effortlessly. Think about when we were younger the passage of life was a journey, something we could not wait for. My life is richer now than it was back then through experience with success and failure. I look back and go thank goodness I am where I am. Mentally strong, balanced and accepting of me entirely. I was a mental mess years before. The vibrancy of the young makes me appreciate them, but I now sit firmly. Bring on this age, this grey and everything else that comes with it. I am soldier marching towards it. I won’t fight nature but I won’t be defied by it either.

      Sounds like you have a bunch of people who love you, especially to tease you like that. They must enjoy how you respond. Enjoy that hair while you still can Ikechi, soon the top of your head may shine.

      Rachel.

  7. Hi Rachel,

    You are amazing! I had dreadlocks when I was 40 thinking that my grey hair would look awesome. Low and behold…there wasn’t enough grey. By the time my hair reached my waist, I cut off most of it giving it to “Locks for Love” I had a crew cut but left one lock at the nap of my neck.

    Yep…I got strange looks. This 50 year old woman looked so weird but I loved expressing me. Now my hair is short and boring.

    So go for it girl….I can just imagine how awesome you can work it. Scarves, hats and don’t forget not to get sunburned 🙂

    As far as grey hair….I just entered my 60th year and I still don’t have the grey that looks good. Just in spots and Its not so flattering so I’ll keep on coloring it until it evens out.

    I want to see pictures of my Sage Woman Friend!

    -Donna

    P.S. This is going on my FB group for women over 40!

    • Hey Donna,

      Love your story. Had I seen your one lock on the nap of your neck I would have appreciated your ‘strange’. I don’t always have to know the reason why people do what they do, but I admire originality. There’s something empowering about stares due to difference. We can feel vulnerable while feeling a sense of empowerment at the same time. I find it a rather odd combination, yet one I’m familiar with. Sounds like you are too.

      Scarves, hats and beanies over at my end, its winter. By the time summer comes around I will have a small amount of growth. I am determine to embrace bare with a sense of child like abandonment. Being okay to feel up and down with it and feel funky. Dancing to the tune I have set for myself. Celebrate such a dramatic change. While I know there will be bad days, I really want to enjoy this.

      As Donna enters into her 60 years young, spots of grey won’t pave the way. Not being disturbed by how we change as we move on in age is probably one of the sexiest and classiest things a woman can have as her strength Donna. Keep up that wonderful outlook.

      I will doing pictures and videos. I have this image in my mind of crying into the video camera. I don’t cry well, but I think I want to do this, not sure if I will post that one.

      I did not know you have a FB group of woman over 40, I’ll be over to have a nosy soon.

      Rachel.

  8. Hi Rachel

    I have always admired your level of transparency whether in your writing or commenting. Well this post has topped them all! I admire your courage. It takes a lot of courage to take a bold step such as this.

    The thought of grey hair makes some people nervous. So I can’t imagine having a whole head of grey hair.

    Be encouraged to go with the decision that please you and makes you most comfortable within yourself. It is not what anyone else may think. The stares will come but at the end of the day it is what you desire in your heart for yourself.

    Take care. Enjoy the rest of the week

    • Hey Yvonne,

      Oh grey hair was a little hard to deal with. I had to let it rummage around in my mind for a while before I decided to face it. It’s my usual process.

      As for going bald – its always had my attention and curiosity. No better time to get rid of the colours I put in my hair to see what will be revealed.

      I am looking forward to the stares. I want to see how it makes me feel internally. It’s a mini social experiment, one could say. How do I respond to the outside world on the inside, with something that will make me feel vulnerable. I don’t think I would have been able to cope as well as I will now a couple of years back. But as the time gets closer to the bald date – I am getting a little nervy when I think of it. Nevertheless it will grow back and I will have a tail or two to share.

      Thanks for your generous comments and support.

      Rachel.

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