From shearing to shaving

Shearing my own head this afternoon gave me assurance that sheep are not harmed or pained when they are clipped for their wool.

Maybe that’s a crazy thought, but it’s the one that came to me. So there.

I had intended to have the deed done much earlier this week. And I had expected that my honey would do it for me, as throughout the pandemic he has normally—and happily—been the one to cut my hair.

But for some reason, he was reluctant to take the borrowed shears to my head. Day after day, he resisted my requests.

When I finally asked my honey why the unwillingness, he just shrugged his shoulders. He can’t really explain his feelings about this in words.

I’ll take a stab at guessing: he doesn’t want to hurt me. He knows my scalp feels sensitive.

It could also be a visceral reaction to a sudden change in my appearance. In his character, he has more than a little of the Greek god of beauty and desire, Adonis. It’s a quality I’ve honored in my honey; he doesn’t use it to belittle anyone.

And I can’t help but wonder whether there isn’t also a faint message from his collective unconscious, from that deeper place in our psyche that comes from our shared humanity and history (as introduced by Carl Jung).

Consider this: shearing of women has historically been used to punish and degrade women.

There are many recorded incidents of women being terrorised by being dragged from their homes and their hair cut with violence, as well as other acts of violence and sexual assault. Such violence against civilian women has been common in warfare across the world for centuries – as a method of punishment and degradation of women, a degradation of their men who failed to protect them, and a dehumanisation of their people.

National Museum of Ireland

My honey adores me and would never intentionally harm me. He has been/is completely supportive of the anti-cancer treatment I’ve had little choice but to accept and with what’s going on with me in every way.

I think modern medicine has become like a prophet offering a life free of pain. It is nonsense. The only thing I know that truly heals people is unconditional love.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

It feels precious to be permitted to whine to a loved one who can tolerate it.
It feels precious to be allowed to feel vulnerable, less than strong and pretty.
It feels precious to be taken care of, to be fed, to be hugged.
It feels precious to be sure that there will be better days ahead.

So then as this day wore on, I got a funny surprise.

My honey seemed to have adjusted to the new sheared me. Maybe he just needed a little more time.

Maybe he just came to realize that in the shearing I was not harmed or pained.

He suggested he finish the job and shaved off my remaining hair. With love.

Now I am truly bald.

And loved. Unconditionally.

It feels precious.

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Have you learned this lesson? Where in your life do you give or receive unconditional love?

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