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2020 has not been anybody’s friend.  Life as we knew it turned upside down, inside out and sideways. Exhibit 1—the COVID-19 pandemic.  I don’t remember the last time I went to a movie theater, a concert or really anywhere I couldn’t stay at least six feet away from other people.

At first, I tried to behave as if it were a temporary state of affairs. That didn’t last. Get up, shower, get dressed, fix my hair, lather, rinse, repeat. Bit by bit, though, my routine fell away. Would anyone really notice if I wore sweats all day? If I showered every other day? If I didn’t go through the minor ordeal that was fixing my hair every day? I wasn’t seeing anyone but my roommates, neither of whom cared what I look like so long as the "shower thing" didn’t go too far.

One afternoon, it finally hit me: I didn’t have to do any of that. There was an option that would give me control back. I’d always admired the girls who cut their long, beautiful hair to a shaved buzz-cut. Not only did they look incredible, but they also exuded confidence.  The part of me that wanted to shave my head was silenced by my insecurity about what other people would think. When COVID-19 shut us all inside, no one was there to judge me and my looks.

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The nail in my hair’s coffin was a sound on Tiktok—"A message to girls who want to shave their head." Her argument spoke to my need to have my hair gone. The longer I put the chop off, the more I wanted to do it. One night, I found myself unable to wait any longer. With one swift motion of the clippers, a clump of my hair fell to the ground. Then another. And another. Half an hour after I started, I found myself sitting in a pile of hair. When I stood up to look in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me. Sure, my hair was gone, but my chin was held higher, my eyes shined and I radiated the same confidence I once admired so deeply.

That brings us to today. Almost two months later, and I can’t believe I didn’t cut it sooner. Not only do I save time and money, but I have gained a new outlook on life. I know there are people who think my long hair was "prettier," but I choose to not hear these opinions. Instead, I listen to the ones who have encouraged my self-love journey. There is no pleasing everyone in the world. I held off shaving my head in fear people would think I was crazy or ugly. Instead, I recognized the bravery and power behind such a decision. The biggest challenge has been to love myself, even on days I don’t feel the prettiest. For every day, I miss my hair, there were 10 days I fought with a straightener or curler.

You can view my new haircut here.

My advice to those considering the big shave: do it. There is a sense of freedom in not caring what people think of you. Enjoy it.

Lila is a Sophomore who recently transferred to VCU. She is studying Mechanical Engineering, and enjoys writing, crochet and music.
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