Saturdays With Shivani- Buzz Off

2020 pushed us to the edge and as we grappled with it, quite a few of us did things we had never done before. Some of us were forced out of the comfort zone while others were rudely kicked out of it.

This may sound insignificant to many but I buzzed my hair off. When I posted it on Facebook, I added the caption- no explanations given, none needed. I wanted the world to know what I had done but wasn’t sure if I could answer the whys of it until recently when I met someone who asked me about it. There was no escape this time or maybe I didn’t want to evade it any longer. I don’t know if my answer disappointed her but I feel lighter having shared it and that has prompted me to share it with all of you here today.

I have been overweight for almost half of my life now. I have lost it only to find it crawling back to me again. I have been at the receiving end of well-meaning advice, bawdy jokes, barely concealed barbs, sympathetic looks and the oft repeated comment-oh you look so pretty, imagine how lovely you’d look if you lost that weight. Depending on my mood, I have responded (or not) but that hasn’t done much to deter people.

I may have smiled through these unpleasant exchanges but every comment, every look has hammered into my self esteem and made me extremely sensitive. People seem to forget that all those rolls of fat are covered by an extremely thin skin. What they say, even if they do not mean to hurt, often doesn’t serve the purpose. I know it is unhealthy and I know I should be physically more active but their comments are not going to achieve either. Shopping trips and family gatherings have been especially triggering.

Having said that, in the past few years I have been making an attempt to get past them. I am tired of being ashamed of myself, tired of being conscious of my pictures and what angle I should be posing in. I have been attempting to diss the physical aspect of beauty and that brought me to think about my hair, a department I am told I am blessed in abundance with.

That’s how the idea of buzzing them was born. I wanted to see if I was okay with the idea of going bald. Would I be able to look in the mirror without recoiling back? Would I be able to face people confidently? For that I had to cut them off. My daughter and my nephew did the honors and the husband finished the job. Since we were in the lockdown, I wasn’t sure if I had tested myself enough. So, I shared my pic on social media and did some ‘lives’. Now of course, I am actually meeting people too and I am quite pleased to report the results of this experiment.

I feel free, literally so, from the weight of the hair and others’ opinion. When I had to get ready for the live sessions, it was so hassle free. My nephew and my daughter look up to me with new found admiration. The best part however has been the realization that I am able to get past the idea of beauty and what people think or say bothers me much less now. Today I truly understand what liberated feels like. I haven’t just buzzed off my hair, I have buzzed off the weight of people’s opinion of me.

Dr. Shivani Salil

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