It’s hard to believe I’ve finally done it!
I’ve had countless nightmares over the years that involved accidentally cutting my dreds, always followed by an unspeakably intense sadness at the loss. My only consolation was to immediately suspect that it MUST be just a dream… This time, it was my choice. It feels good to overcome a fear. It feels like freedom. The loss is still there, but it’s bearable because I chose it.
There have been many times in the past where I have retrospectively turned a situation around by my attitude. When everything is too much and I’m like a helpless victim I wonder how I could possibly survive another day. Then, feeling called to do the unthinkable and embrace the suffering, I make the conscious choice to accept it. Miraculously, not long afterwards, everything is ‘bearable’ again. All of a sudden the pain is ‘good’. I still feel it just as much, but a sense of purpose gives meaning to the suffering. It’s as if the metaphorical adrenaline kicks in and says “KEEP GOING!! PUSH THROUGH IT!!”
Fortunately, this time I was able to choose my path in advance. I am definitely glad to be rid of the anxiety. It was like a lingering knot in my stomach. Not overpowering, yet constantly there… It was perhaps a fortunate thing that my mind did not allow me to think of the day before it came. Yet ironically, my lack of worry caused me to worry. I felt insanely guilty, as though I should be ‘preparing’ in some way.
I was never going to be prepared. To be ‘ready’ implies you’re in control. You’re never ‘ready’ for life changing decisions. They’re too big! You can’t prepare, or at least not fully. That’s what makes them so scary! There’s no way of telling exactly what will happen after you ‘jump’… the only thing that is certain is that there’s no turning back!
So I was not prepared, but that’s ok. Everything was fine. I survived. Nothing went horribly wrong with the video. I’m very glad I made the last minute decision to shave my head completely. I was worried that no-one would understand my grief. As I wrote in my journal the morning before the chop, “What if I can’t explain it to anyone or people just don’t get how much it means to me?” Fortunately the impact of the total shave seems to have communicated the significance quite well. For me, it actually would have been about the same whether I shaved it completely or not, but communication is all about what is perceived by others. Finding new ways to communicate (without the help of my dreadlocks) will be my challenge for the future so I guess this decision was a good start…
Note: This video was made in support of AWEgust for AWEtism a month long fundraising campaign aimed at raising awareness of the everyday challenges of autism and helping to empower young people on the spectrum to say ‘I Can’ to life’s opportunities. For more info or to make a donation visit: