Shaving my head and the road to inner beauty
By Andrea Jones
My name is Andrea Jones, I’m 19, and I just moved to Bridgeport, CT this past summer to go to school. My whole family is from Maryland, and that’s where I grew up for a majority of my life.
I grew up in a pretty strict family. My four sisters and I weren’t supposed to wear shorts that were too short, or low necklines, etc. We also couldn’t date or wear bikinis around “brothers” or guys in our church. In the summer of 2013, I went to a summer camp in California where all the girls there were challenged not to wear makeup for a month. And being the person that I am, who is always up for a challenge and wants to go above and beyond when I have the opportunity, I shaved my head. I wanted to take this “inner beauty” challenge to the next level. And let me tell you, it was one of the most revitalizing experiences ever. After my friends buzzed me down to a 2, they let me go to the bathroom, to see it for the first time. I went in alone, and to my surprise, I saw a baby shaved head looking back at me in the mirror, and I was shocked but so happy. I can’t believe I had done this. It took a lot to shave off my hair the summer before senior year. I took my senior pictures as soon as I got back to school, so they got the baby head full throttle in that yearbook.
I came to realize that shaving your head is a personal choice and different people do it for various reasons. On my plane ride home from the California leadership program, I sat next to a lady who told me she shaved her head twice in her life. Once when her dad died and the other when her husband passed away. Both times shaving her head allowed her to make a choice when events in her life took place that did not. She found it to be an empowering experience, uplifting her spirit when she felt down. She described her hair like a mop that when shaved off, felt so freeing. I value the experience of meeting this woman, even though I can’t remember her name. She was a stranger, but because of our shared ideas, we could connect on a deeper level.
Inner beauty is not about taking away all the “beautiful” attributes of someone. It is about embodying self-love and raising the standard of beauty in one’s mind. I cannot say I did not struggle with seeing myself as beautiful those next couple months. I had some awkward stages. However, that did not hinder my path to self-love in any way. If anything, it made me stronger. I always try to embody the awkward stages of my life and learn from them later on. I call them growing pains. I used to have these pains in my legs growing up, and my mom told me not to worry because they were just growing pains. I might not have seen the value of the experience at first, but later on, the meaning came about.
When I looked in the mirror, I had to look past what I initially saw and asked myself, what do I find beautiful in myself? And after a while, I became my best friend and realized I’m full of wonderful attributes. I love to laugh, I love making others laugh, and it’s hard for me to turn down a challenge. One’s happiness is about the love given to those around them. And no matter what I look like, I can still make a nice impact on those around me. Of course, this may seem drastic, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, to be honest, I did see myself as ugly sometimes. But that didn’t mean I would treat people badly. That didn’t give me the right to treat myself poorly. Sometimes you have to clean up your mind and say shut up; you’re dumb I don’t need your thoughts right now. Thank you, but no thank you. And move on.
The path to inner beauty is unending. I decide to make deliberate steps towards self-love such as telling myself I am unique and beautiful, being confident that I am beautiful with or without makeup, and realizing that I have a power within each decision I make each and every day. And that decision can say I will spread positivity within myself and others.