“Ever since I shaved my head, I really bloomed,” said Alana Derksen, a 22-year-old Toronto resident, whose buzz cut frequently draws admiring comments from her more than 21,000 Instagram followers. “It’s given me this confidence I never had.”

As my hair dropped to the floor, and we went shorter and shorter with the clippers, I felt lighter, liberated, ecstatic.

It felt like an emboldening, a taking control of my identity, something anarchic and subversive in the face of a lifetime of Diet Coke, tea and early-to-bed. It also felt a bit brave, as if by doing it I could front away the fear of life without my crutch. In those early months, I felt raw, as if my skin had been removed, and having a shaved head somehow made me feel stronger.

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