For many, many years, I’ve wanted to be a woman with a buzz cut. But I didn’t think I could pull it off. “I’m too fat,” I thought. “I’ll do it after I lose XX pounds.” “I’m going on the job market, and a buzz cut will make me less employable.” “I already have plenty of piercings and tattoos. A buzz cut would be too much.” “I’m too old. This is the rebellion of late teens, early 20s at most.” “I’m not pretty enough to have no hair.”
It turns out, all those things might be true (whatever that means). Likely they aren’t, because none of them are real (whatever that means), but maybe they are. Maybe people around me might think it’s ridiculous for a woman my age (whatever that means) to sport a buzz cut. Maybe it doesn’t look good (whatever that means) on me. Maybe there are people who won’t want to hire me because of my hairstyle.
I don’t actually have to care. I choose to, and I want to see what it’s like to choose otherwise. So this morning, I buzzed off my hair. I started with the #8 comb and worked my way down to #3. I did a pretty good job for my first try with everything but my neckline, which is a bit wonky. But I will try again. And maybe next time I’ll use the #2 comb for the back and sides. Just because.
Even though this decision will look spontaneous, it wasn’t. I’ve considered it for a long time. I’ve looked at many pictures of women with buzz cuts online, trying to imagine myself as one of them. I watched YouTube instructional videos about tapering and fading, and then I opted to just go all in, at least the first time. I considered going to a barber shop for the first cut, but then part of what interests me about such a low maintenance hairstyle is that it is a form of opting out of a set of standards that I want to interrupt.
See, it doesn’t matter if I look good. That’s actually not the only thing that’s important. Yes, this choice will have some consequences. Yes, people may think things about me, make judgments and assumptions, but they were probably doing that already, and without any help from me. So I don’t have to care. I can choose to, but I don’t have to. And because I’m not a mind reader, I’m really making up that other people are judging me anyway, so I’ve decided to make up that people are thinking, “Look at that woman rocking that buzz cut. She doesn’t give a fuck. That’s what not giving a fuck looks like, and it looks awesome.”
It turns out that my version of negative self-talk is imagining that other people are thinking negative things about me. That way I don’t actually have to take any responsibility for it. Clever, huh?
I want to see if I mean what I say when I say I don’t give a fuck. Because really, I operate as though I give many fucks. So this is practice.
I don’t think one can arrive at not giving a fuck; I think one has to practice not giving a fuck in the present moment, and then again in the next one, and again in the next one. And there are lots of moments when one cannot not give a fuck. It’s just not the day for it. And there are moments when one needs to give a fuck, to give many fucks, not about what people think of one’s hair, but about the much, much more important things there are in this world about which we really must give all the fucks.
I’m experimenting with the idea of removing things about which I don’t want to give a fuck, to make room for things I want to give my limited resources of time and attention and money. For now, it’s my hair. I wonder what it will be next.