So last weekend, I shaved my cousin's head. Nothing special about that, right? Except my cousin is a girl who has beautiful hair and has always identified herself with her hair. The last week has been such a philosophical wake-up call for me as an observer watching her deal with both her adjusting to it and other people's reactions to it. It is amazing how many people judged or confronted her and wanted to know "what were you thinking!?". The reasoning behind her actions are nothing more than that it scared her and so she thought that if she did it she could then confront anything in her life because nothing would be as frightening as shaving off all her hair. So, I took some photos of her for "before" since it had been a long time since she'd had any photos done and had been asking me to get her into my little studio forever. And then we shaved her head and took some more "after" photos. Now granted, it was very easy for me to say "what the hell, just do it!" because it wasn't my hair we were talking about. But, still, I think that it IS just hair - which will grow back after all.... The amazing thing has been who reacted poorly and who reacted well to the new her. People she doesn't know or has just met at her new job are supportive and love it. But people in her family and in her life for 20+ years are saying things like they can't be proud of her anymore and that they don't want to see her until it grows back. Come on people, it isn't like she tattooed some mural on her face or even her head. And how would they feel if she had secretly been dealing with some cancer that was the cause of her hair loss but that she didn't want to freak people out? So, we were talking today and we came to the conclusion that most people just aren't very real. How many people - women especially - spend hundreds of dollars a year, nay thousands, to take care of their hair. From visits to the salon to hair care products to accessories, everything is about looking good. But, if you take the hair away there is nothing to hide behind and no one is comfortable with that. Go a little further... what if we as people put as much energy into taking care of our bodies instead of eating processed foods and artificial sweeteners that make us sick and fat and in need of more and more medicines that make us more and more sick with their side effects. What if it was more important how healthy we were both on the inside and the out than how we looked or acted or came across to other people? And what if we didn't think it was necessary to impose our own judgements on others and just let people be who and what they wanted no matter what that looked like? Sounds like an interesting world to live in, doesn't it? Here's one of my long-time philosophies: Life is more meaningful when it is based on what you want and not what others expect from you.