The truth is, I didn’t really want to shave my head. I simply had the desire for my hair to be my natural color. Unfortunately, after a test with the clippers, I found that only the shortest “1 guard” would remove all the pink. Yikes. I had never cut my hair that short.
I would have much rather let the roots grow out more – but that could take weeks. I considered dying all the pink back to a “natural” color – but a fake brown seemed to defeat the purpose.
Finally I decided to surrender to the idea. It was Xmas break and I had nothing important on my calendar in the near future. It was the night of the Winter Solstice, the new year was days away and if worse comes to worse – I have lots of hats. Plus, hair grows back.
I was startled by my first look in the reflection. I wasn’t just the lack of color, but the shape of my head that was different. I probably would not have recognized my own shadow. I was pleasantly surprised. It was drastic – but also kinda cool.
As the next week progressed I was continually surprised by my reflection. I saw glimpses of my shorn head and would have flashes of iconic shaved heads: prisoners, monks, soldiers, even Neo in the last Matrix movie.
I liked it visually more that I thought I would.
And it impacted me mentally more, too.
I have considered myself a “Lifestyle Artist” for many years. I enjoy seeing my days – and the way I look as I walk through them – as part of my artistic expression. But there is a level of pressure when every public appearance is an unstated gallery opening.
Having pink hair is asking for attention. It is the fashion equivalent of sounding a trumpet when you enter a room: “ATTENTION, ATTENTION: I AM A CREATIVE AND INTERESTING PERSON!”
Don’t get me wrong, I love this. It serves a dual purpose of repelling people who are too close-minded to click with me and drawing people in who are more on my wavelength.
It’s like a scarlet ass of a baboon or the intricate coloring of a flower. It helps all the other animals know what to expect.
But that is just it.
“Knowing what to expect” means that there are expectations. It means that I enter every situation with a story already attached to me. Normally I like this for the reasons above. And I may return to pink for this very reason.
But now that I am free from the visual legacy, I understand better what the effect is.
Without the story behind who I am, I find myself much more present in the moment.
I am untethered by a legacy or reputation.
(NOTE: I love my reputation and have worked very hard for it. But even the best reputation still forces you into a box of some sort.)
So as I walk the street, I am simply a man.
I am not an artist or performer.
I am not special or unique.
I have nothing to say until my mouth actually forms the words.
And this was the deeper goal of the change:
To minimize the impact of my appearance and allow the subtlety of my true self peek through. I have used my body and appearance as a crutch for a long time. Insecurity convinced me that I was “pretty smart for a model…” but I lacked faith in the worth of my thoughts alone.
In recent years I have worked on deepening my spiritual practice. And I feel like the ideas I share are less and less about “me” at all. I don’t feel like I am crafting any message, but simply chipping away at my ego and noticing what is left.
So as 2009 ended, I wanted to chip away at another part of my ego: my well-crafted appearance.
In this “naked” state, I feel a new level of honesty. This is who I am, without any attempts to *create* something and control how it is perceived. (NOTE: This is an exaggeration. I still wear earrings and choose my clothing.) If I am judged in this state, it has nothing to do with me. This is how I was created.
I understand the concept of uniforms much more now. Removing the option to decorate places much more importance on what is inside.
I’ve been visualizing it as “Turning off the porch lights so you can see the stars.”
So far, the view is fantastic.
Jan 4, 2010