My life changed the day I shaved my head. I almost cried as I saw my almost armpit length hair fall to the floor. My hair dresser insisted that I face away from the mirror until the end, so as to prevent my freaking out.

But when I saw myself, truly bare and naked in a way, I couldn’t help but smile. I saw my personal beauty reflected back at me. I saw my strong jawline, and the bump in my nose, and all of my features for the first time without any adornments, and I LOVED it. I realized that “this is me.” Maybe not a traditional beauty, or maybe not even something that other people saw as beautiful, but it was MY beauty.

That day I realized a number of things: one, that if I could see myself without hair, and love what I saw, nothing should stand in the way of me loving myself to the core. As much as other women have, and even though I “knew better,” I ingested all of the standards of beauty that the world threw at me, and then felt bad about myself because I fell short of all of those standards. But here I was, the complete opposite of long, luscious, straight hair, and I saw BEAUTY. And I realized that that’s all that should matter, what I saw, not what others saw or wanted to see.

I also realized that I was stronger than I gave myself credit. I knew that a lot of people would react negatively to my new hair style. After all I lived in an extremely conservative town in West Michigan, and came from a culture that (although it doesn’t want to admit it) loves all things white washed (think Sammy Sosa). And I did find a number of neutral or flat out negative reactions, but I didn’t care. And I realized that if I could face every one I knew being the barest me I could be, and not care about their opinion because I knew I was doing something good for me, then I was in some ways stronger than I imagined.

Lastly, shaving my head was a turning point in my life because it marked the beginning of my path towards living the best life I can live. It paved the way towards me becoming the confident woman I am today, and therefore it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

keep up with Yissri on her blog– the naturaliste