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The first time I went nearly bald, was an accident. I mourned, gasping so loudly, in the barber shop that I had to be consoled. I cried for almost an hour, the tear flow increasing with the 77 times 7 times everyone at the barbershop kept saying sorry. It was so unexpected. Surreal. It happened in a second, immediately after I told this barber that I liked the fade on both sides of my head. I had not walked in for that, but I walked out a new person. Bald and bold. I rocked it. I guess that was my ‘due to unavoidable circumstances’ life defining moment.

3 years after that incident, I walked into a barbershop, to get a head as smooth as my face. The man asked me about 10 times if I was sure that was what I wanted. He even asked the reasons that informed such a look-altering decision. Huh! I wanted to. I wanted to. I WANTED to.

Most of the times, we do not even know how to be anything away from our normal. We have conditioned ourselves that certain looks are best for us, our face types, that trying something as drastic as willingly going bald is an abomination.
The shape of my head is new to me. The colour of my scalp is annoyingly yellow. A friend asked if I had dyed it. I wonder if it is possible to tone it. Sit in the sun and get a tan. I wouldn’t have known had I stayed with hair on it. I am glad that there is a possibility of knowing whether a scalp’s complexion can be even-toned to be as the rest of the body. I am happy that I know where my face begins, or not, and that I am seeing freckles I had never noticed before.

My face and look now are quite unsettling, especially for those who didn’t make this choice. I have been asked the why. I have been asked if I started chemotherapy. I have had a lot of disapproving looks and comments. I have had people supporting me and loving the look. I have had someone apply shiny hair sheen spray on my bald head and tell me “stop with the insecurities you look good.” I have had people who wish they had my spirit, there has always been a but though. ‘I wish I could BUT.’ It is okay to doubt yourself, to doubt the existence of God, to doubt your moves, to doubt your sanity, to doubt your beauty. It is okay. Whenever you are ready, walk past your fear, accidentally or with intent, you will be surprised by how much you can and will discover. Oh, and your face is gloriously beautiful, your hair choice matters not. Dare yourself. Jichoche.


By Wambui Ochieng'

Radical Feminist

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