I shaved my hair last month for a United Way fundraising event. Since then, the reaction has ranged from comical to interesting. Appearance and image is important to many of us and hair plays a vital role in this. Hair, especially long, flowing styles, are associated with vitality and youthfulness. Hairstyle can alter one's looks either positively or negatively. To have one’s hair thin out can be a very difficult situation to deal with and impact the very essence of who we are and how we believe others will perceive us.
Positive self-esteem together with confidence drive our self-perception of being attractive. Hair loss will often lead to lower self-esteem. People faced with baldness are susceptible to psychological and emotional stresses, especially if it is coming at the early stages of their lives. A young adult who experiences hair loss will often be perceived to be an older individual, regardless of how young their face might look.
Frustration and helplessness is arguably the most common reaction associated with bald individuals. At the beginning, the person resorts to using shampoos, hair vitamins and other hair care or hair replacement products. Many, if not most of these solutions, will be seen as a poor substitute for natural hair and this can lead to depression and sometimes, anger issues.
Having just shaved my head, please be assured that being bald is not the end of the world. Attitude and how you carry yourself has far more to do with how the world perceives you than does your hair. Most women might not find this easy. However, consider that a good number of men feel comfortable with bald heads and carry these with pride. Firstly, focus more on the positive aspects of it rather than the negatives. Ever since l shaved my hair, I have added an extra 40 minutes to my sleeping time, eliminated salon expenses, discovered an entirely new and exciting hair accessory world, and permanently removed the discomfort of hair in my face. I have even improved my running times. My friends now call me “The Bullet” and had l known this could lead to running faster, I would have gotten rid of those curls years ago! I find people now focus more on my facial features and eyes than before. It has made me stand out from the crowd and have used this effectively in drawing people to engage them in conversations when promoting several charity events.
For me, being bald has meant using my image as a bald woman to communicate to people to love themselves unconditionally. And I know that I will never have a bad hair day!
Harriet Tinka is a Senior Accountant, BBA, CPA,CMA at City of Edmonton.