Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting used to the gazes

When people ask me about my long hair, I tell them that I have never cut it because of my religion.

That is true about the hair on my head, but not about the hair elsewhere on my body. That is - I have shaved, waxed, and threaded. Does this make me a bad person?

I am not sure. Clearly, 98% of the rest of "my world" - particularly the females - remove their body hair. And most of these people are not, necessarily, "bad".

Do I feel guilty about it? To be honest - not really. It was something I went through to fit in. But my actions were still in line with Sikhi: nam japna, vand chakna, kirt karni.

About 2 years ago, after much meditation, I slowly stopped these hair-removing processes. It wasn't something that I woke up and immediately decided. It just kind of happened. And with Guru's grace, I have been entirely okay with it.

The only thing that has taken some getting used to is the stares. I generally keep my body covered, but I also like to swim. My swimming suit, if you will, involves shorts and a t-shirt. A lot of people - especially women - stare at my legs. It's as though they are willing me to feel bad about my choice to keep my hair.

Yet I do not give in to their desire to make me feel ashamed. I actually find my choice liberating and motivating, not to mention economical. Sikhs are supposed to be leaders - leaders do not care about what other people think when they know what they are doing in their heart is right. I am also saving money on these "cosmetic supplies" - money that adds up when you notice that the "treatments" are lifelong. Is there a reason that our hair keeps growing back no matter how much we try to stop it? Why not give in to the way Waheguru has made our bodies?

The most exciting part about this, however, is the opportunities it brings up to educate my brothers and sisters. When I catch people, especially children, staring at me, I look back and smile. If these people ask me questions, I have this golden chance to explain to people that I am a Sikh, and talk about the basic principles of our religion.

Several years ago, when I did shave my legs, I did not have this confidence. Now, ironically, when I am subject to public scrutiny, I do believe - in myself, in humanity, in Waheguru.

1 comment:

Little Gem said...

Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!
Hats off to your sikhi