Letters from Cardiff in lockdown: Claire Parry-Witchell

Today’s instalment for the Letters from Cardiff in lockdown series comes from Claire Parry-Witchell, who decided to use the lockdown to experiment with shaving her head. We’re looking for your stories, so please contribute to Letters from Cardiff in lockdown

I shaved my head during lock-down.

I have always wanted to do it but never had the balls! Shave my head that is. Lockdown has been a challenge for everyone and in amongst the fear and uncertainty I have witnessed family and friends adapt and try to make the best of the strange new world. I have never spent so much time online and though it is great to be able to socialise and stay in touch it can be exhausting.

Part of my role as the business mentor for Cardiff University is to provide 1:2:1 guidance and support to student entrepreneurs and all of my meetings are now online. I also volunteer as a mentor for Business Wales and practice as a life-coach. All of these meetings sometimes cause what I think is being referred to as “Zoom fatigue” and that is a pretty good description.

With all of the screen time, escapism is a must. I have always enjoyed cooking, reading, yoga, meditation and walking and one of the benefits of lock-down for me has been more time to indulge in my passions. As someone who has lived with poor Mental Health all of my life, I sometimes get an impulse to do something radical, and this one was of those occasions! Due to a huge weight-loss of 14 stone, five years ago my hair fell out so I cut it short, I was tempted to shave it then but didn’t have the courage.

On my bike ride through Bute Park last week I spotted a young woman with a shaved head and immediately made the decision to do it as soon as I got home. I did talk to my husband first of course, he was in support as he always is when I say I am going to do something crazy like jump out of a plane or do a zip wire over The Eden Project!

I figured now is as good a time as any to shave my head, it’s not like I have any official engagements or do’s to attend and if I hated it I have time for it to grow back before going out in public and I can wear a hat out on my daily exercise. As it happens I LOVE IT, in fact I cannot stop stroking my head and I know that’s a bit weird but it is so soft. The best bit is no hair drying, straightening or styling, I feel so free. It is truly liberating. Though society is much more accepting of individuality and freedom of expression through appearance I think women shaving their heads is still considered a bit strange. Though it has to be said that I have only had one or two weird looks from the public!

Out on my walk yesterday I was crossing the road and stopped for a car. A lady in her late 60’s ish wound her window down and said “excuse me, I love your hair, did you do it yourself” I said yes, and that I was very happy with it. She then said “right, I’ve always wanted to shave my head, am going to do it!” She thanked me and waved me goodbye.

It is not for everyone, and I will probably grow it back again, but if you are thinking about it I highly recommend it. I wish everyone well and my hope for the future, when we return to some sort of normality, is that we all find the time to take care of our Health and Well-being in whatever form that takes.

Love and Light. Claire

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