Essays

A collection writings and thoughts by artist Gary Llama.

On shaving one’s head: Baldness and dysphoria

Most of my life, I’d say I have been aesthetically challenged. Despite having strong opinions on aesthetics, my own desire to manipulate myself to look good, has been pretty low. And when i comes to clothes, I look at the clothes themselves, rather than how they fit, as to qualify if good or bad. And if I do have an issue with the fit, 90% of the time it’s because it’s a physical sensation from the clothes that is distracting me, and 10% because the color is driving me nuts. So I default to ‘give up’, and find one thing I don’t hate, and wear it repeatedly.

My hair styles over the years have been much the same. And I never really paid attention to it, that was until I started losing it. Then I really paid attention to it. It took the loss of it for me to appreciate it. Sad, right?

So cue male pattern balding.

I hate my shaved head.

I mean, I love how it feels, breeze on the head and all. But I hate what I must come off to others as. And sometimes I see myself and the shaved head just pushes me over the edge in my opinion of myself. Sometimes I see ‘Gary’, other times I see ignorance, an idiot. Mean-ness. Really, any negative narrative I have carried over the years seems to come out when I see my bald head.

The truth is, I haven’t been able to feel like I looked decent in about eighteen years. Health issues leading to tooth decay and weight loss, and then Hidradenitis really make you feel disgusting. And the shaved head just tops it, literally.

Also, I’ve never really felt like I looked good ever. So I’m not sure if it’s just not possible for me to know that feeling, and if so, why? I don’t know…

Now cue gender dysphoria.

All I can say is thank god for sinead o’connor for publicly showing that beauty can be achieved with no hair. It gives me hope.

But I also know that a lot of what I’m feeling has little to do with the hair, and much more to do with me, and my issues with myself. Those mean narratives that pop in my head, they have always been there. And the skinnyness only really hurts because of the health behind it.

So I’ve been trying to work on accepting myself, physically. But with weight issues, as they ARE related to things going medically wrong, I think it’s harder to accept, as you know it’s not supposed to be like that, as opposed to being comfortable with something you were born with.

An extra layer to explore.

BTW, me actually taking and sharing the pictures of myself that are in this post was a step towards acceptance. I had to fight myself a bit to make it here. Every step counts.

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Llamatism is a collection of things, a cabinet of curiosities, and reports from explorations on things, by Gary Llama.

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