First I have to say, whenever I think, write, or utter “IUD,” the lyrics to the song “Fuck the Pain Away” by the inimical and ingenious Peaches surface and crawl into my brain. It’s purely coincidental, and I don’t read huge meaning into it. It’s a clever bit of a refrain.

“IUD SIS, stay in school ’cause it’s the best.”

-Merrill Nisker, aka Peaches

That little earworm, however, does make me a bit feisty. And I’ve been bopping along with this little ditty for several weeks now, because I’m getting an IUD (Skyla to be exact) next week. So yeah, I’m hella feisty.

Let's talk about uteruses. (photo credit: Theater Festival Impulse/Flickr- Creative Commons)
Let’s talk about uteruses.

I expected I’d write a single post: “Hey I Did This IUD Thing and This Is What It Was Like.” But, this single act is tied to too many thoughts, opinions, and emotions. I’m inspired to over-share and blast out some controversy.

I guess consider this a warning? a cliffhanger? a tasty morsel to lead you into the imperceptible depths of the lady cave?

(Photo Credit: Theater Festival ImpulseCreative Commons)

I Shaved My Head (for No Particular Reason)

To say I shaved my head for no particular reason isn’t entirely true. My reasons are varied. But, what they boil down to is: I did it just because.

Shaved Head Shock

For close to four years now I’ve courted with the world of unnatural hair colors. Name a color, I’ve done it. But, the constant process of changing color absolutely wrecks your hair. It’s not the dye itself. It’s the bleach you use to get your hair as light as possible so that your application of Hi-Octane Orange pops. It’s the processes and applications you use to remove the old color to replace it with a new one. And there’s always a new one. Like the Lay’s Potato Chip, you can’t have just one.

I was fussing with my hair a week ago, and saw the color (a three-toned pink gradient) was fading fast. The idea of going back to my natural color had been swirling in my mind. I could take the slow, non-dramatic approach to transition my hair to match its newly emerging roots. Or, I could test my personal hair styling philosophy–It’s just hair and it grows back–and shave it all off. And so I did.

Pre-shaved hair
One last photo before we say goodbye.

It’s true–my husband and I had seen the new Mad Max movie the previous weekend and Charlize Theron looked pretty bad ass with her cropped head. There was precedence. There is, actually, a lot of precedence recently, beautiful actresses who sheer their hair for a role. Karen Gillan, in particular, comes to mind. She took her hair down to her scalp for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy. And then there are the numerous celebrities, models, musicians, random kick ass chicks who wear their hair shaved on purpose. It’s just the hair style they choose to rock.

So when I was pondering my hair in the bathroom, and I said, “Maybe I should just shave it all off.” My husband responded, “Do it.” The next day we sat on the porch and took turns clipping each other’s hair with a number 2 guard. It was an amusing bonding experience: particularly because my husband was envious of my intact hairline. I’m grateful that his scalp’s follicular retreat means that we don’t exactly have the same hair cut.

The Leftover Hair
Somehow, I don’t think Locks of Love wants these.

I like my shaved head. It’s fun to run my hand against the hair’s grain–the way I might do with my husband’s hair. And, now, he can do the same with mine. (Pet me like a cat, I don’t mind.) I still feel the wind blowing through my stubby, little strands. The shower has turned into an even more wonderful tactile experience–the cascade of water tickles my scalp. And the most surreal of all, I spend zero time styling my hair, and it still looks good.

Of course, there are negatives, most of which I’d already experienced. (I’ve been sporting some variation of an undercut for a year) I have a light pink birth mark on the back of my head that peaks through past my hairline. Random head acne cannot be disguised, and requires make up. I now need to protect my innocent, pale scalp from the sun with hats or SPF.

The hair dryer goes on long-term disability.
The hair dryer goes on long-term disability.

Reactions from others have been interesting. When I wore odd colors in my hair, strangers felt compelled to comment. New people in my life quickly learned that anytime they saw me, my hair had likely changed. So far, people who know me well, react in shock, “Where did your hair go? What’s the story?” I demur, because I can sum up the story with, “Because I felt like it.” Strangers, I assume, assume my hair is shaved due to a worse fate. Though I wouldn’t know, because suddenly people remember things like boundaries, which don’t exist when my hair is turquoise. I haven’t seen any random acquaintances–those people I know, but not very well. I’m prepared to reassure them that my shaved hair is not a reflection of illness or a loss of sanity.

Right now, I haven’t completely rid my hair of its previous color. Its ends are still tinged pink. I’m not quite at “clean slate” status. One more pass in a week with the clippers should take care of that. I don’t intend to keep my hair shorn. I want to grow it out. I want to see my natural hair color. I’m intensely curious. Is there gray hiding in there? How much has it darkened (the inevitable fate of all natural blondes)? Will it grow redder as my mother’s has?

And if I’m being honest (with myself), this whole process is and will be an act of symbolism. A search for self and authenticity through something equal parts significant and insignificant as how I wear my hair. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Rub the head. It feels gooood.
Rub the head. It feels gooood.

This Is My Beach Body

Because I am a human being, it should come as no surprise that I have a body. More so, because I am human, I am flawed. Following the Transitive Property, my body, too, is flawed.

I don’t like all it’s flaws. My body’s betrayals against me are numerous. But, the least of which is its tendency to shrink and expand in diameter.

When young, I was a skinny girl. Size 2, big boobs–a teenaged boy’s dream (and a teenaged girl’s nightmare). But, age, genetics, and life kicked in. I still have big boobs, but I hover in the size 16 category now. In my twenties, I mourned the loss of the body I had when I was a young thing–too young to appreciate what I had. Now, not so much. Perhaps body acceptance is easier for me, because it hasn’t been a struggle my whole life. My story doesn’t begin with, “I was an overweight child.”

Yet, I think it has more to do with with my quickly evolving capacity to accept me, period. (Therapy types like to call this “radical acceptance.”) It’s a process I’ve invested a lot of time and tears into as of late. It’s true, I’ve lost a teensy bit of weight recently, and that makes me happy. But, it’s not because each shed pound adds to my self-esteem and self-image. It’s because I’m finally “indulging” in a little self-care. It’s a sign of my physical and mental well-being–I’m not too sick or too depressed to get out of the house, to exercise, or to cook my own food.

So, last week I donned my bathing suit to go to our community pool on the first sunny day in a month. I observed myself in the mirror, mentally stated, “Yeah that’s me,” wished I could afford a suit with bra-sized cups, jiggled my boobs into a suitable configuration, and moved on.

This may not be “the beach body,” (to which I cry Bull Shit!) but it’s my beach body.

My beach body
Full body selfies are hard. There IS a head and legs attached to this torso.