What is the definition of beautiful? What does it mean to you?
It’s a word that people use often; what a beautiful sunset, a beautiful wedding dress, a beautiful flower, a beautiful person. When it’s used to describe something about you, it makes you feel on top of the world, it’s an adjective that evokes an emotion that’s indescribable. But recently I’ve had to really think about this word because there is nothing about me that feels ‘beautiful’ right now. That’s nothing to do with anything anyone has said to me, it’s just how I feel about myself because of how I have grown up with society’s definition of beauty. This is sad because our appearance shouldn’t be something that defines beauty, it should be the hidden beauty, the actual person, the soul, that makes the definition.
I’ve been reading about and following a lot of very inspirational people on social media and seeing the confidence they exude in front of the camera without any hair. They are redefining the meaning of beauty by making bald normal and acceptable. They aren’t ashamed, they aren’t hiding it away, that is who they are and they are proud of that. Being ill, loosing your hair, it makes you acutely aware of how the public perceives you and how society portrays beauty. Hair is something that we don’t think twice about unless we are having a bad hair day – it’s true, if your hair is good, then typically you feel good. But when that element of beauty and feminity is taken away, you have to find other things to feel good about or learn to feel good having bald as your new hair style!
As humans we pass judgements on people on the TV, people we drive past on the street, in shopping centres – that doesn’t look good on her, that really doesn’t suit her, what a horrible colour….it’s something we all do and infact, I did this morning. Whilst in the car with dad we drove past a woman with bright orange hair and I said, “why on earth would you want your hair that colour?” Well Hannah, she has hair, she is allowed to dye it whatever colour she blimmin’ well wants, it’s her choice and her choice alone and if it makes her feel happy and good about herself, nobody else matters! Hair does not define beauty, only we get to define ourselves.
The more I thought about it and researched, the more I realised a few things. Men who shave their heads are, on the whole, seen as more masculine, sexy – you don’t assume they’re ill and feel sorry for them but for women, it is assumed you’re ill, probably cancer because why on earth would you want to shave your head otherwise?! Or it is widely perceived that she is now deemed less attractive or sexy to those around her because hair is quite strongly linked to how attractive a woman is – do you prefer blonde or brunette – bald is never an option. One example sprang to mind; the episode of Friends when Bonnie shaves her head. Rachel actively encourages her to shave her hair off because she knows Ross will hate it, not find it attractive and will therefore definitely take Rachel back. They laugh at her, mock her, no one wants to touch it and when they do – “you can feel the skull”. Yes, it’s an episode of Friends and a funny one at that but I must admit, now I am a self confessed Baldie myself, it’s things like that that put worries into my mind about how people perceive me.
This picture was brought to my attention this week and you could say was the catalyst to me writing this blog post. Adam Levine, the absolutely gorgeous lead singer of Maroon 5. He hasn’t got alopecia, or cancer, he decided that he wanted to shave his hair – so what?! When I Googled it I was horrified at the search results and some of the headlines:
- “Adam Levine shaves head, causes internet heartbreak.”
- “Adam Levine shaves head, internet freaks out.”
- “Adam Levine shaves his head and sends the internet reeling with sorrow.”
Hair is NOT everything. Yes, at the moment for me, it feels like everything because I don’t have any and I also don’t have any control over it but I am trying to train my brain into accepting that hair or no hair, I’m still me and my hair doesn’t have anything to do with that. I can’t let it define me. But seeing things like this on the internet doesn’t help. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but sometimes, as Thumper would say:
As promised, here are the sunshine points of my week!
- Feeling happy that I’ve managed to keep alive the lucky bamboo plant a friend gave me last week – believe me, I am not green fingered at all, this is a real achievement!
- My light box was delivered and although the men in the house disagree, I think it is amazing!
- Having a visit from one of my best friends and her gorgeous baby and seeing what a wonderful mother she is.
- Receiving several bits of post (I love post!) which made me smile.
- Getting a message from an ex colleague who has organised with her hairdresser to have a cake morning and raise money for Alopecia UK – just amazing, thank you so much x
- Starting to feel the benefits from reflexology and reiki.
- Shaving my own head. I managed a few minutes in front of the mirror but have now realised I don’t need one, I can shave my head quite well by feeling..my talent is endless people!