Last year, I shaved my head.

Yes, you read that correctly, it isn’t a typo. I shaved my head. And I’m a tween girl.

No, it wasn’t for attention, or for any specific reason, I was just up for something different. Thinking back, it was a choice that I’m still even a bit surprised I had the courage to do. But that’s me. That’s who Coco is. A risk taker, in fact, last year I received our school’s Excellence Award for Being a Risk Taker and I’m proud of that.

“Home of the brash, outrageous and free” 
You are repressed 
But you’re remarkably dressed 
Is it real? 

Hairdresser on Fire
Morrissey
neon pink hair

However, it was also a bit scary the next morning when I woke up. I had no hair! And did I mention I colored it with neon pink shampoo as well? And now I have to go to school. I really loved the style, but remember how I mentioned I didn’t shave my head for attention? Well on the car ride to school it dawned on me as we were turning into the school parking lot that I was going to get more attention than I realized.

Believe In Yourself

That made me nervous. See, I’m not a “Hey! Look at me!” kid. I’m more of a “hang out in the drama-free end-zone,” kind of person. But now, here I am with a buzzed head of neon peach fuzz, and I couldn’t hide if I tried. And in the end, it was pretty funny seeing peoples reactions. Some looked confused, some wanted to ask questions, but didn’t really know what to say, some loved it, and others rolled their eyes because once again, I stepped out of the box. But that’s me.

neon pink hair The Happy Place

So Why Did I Shave My Head?

It all started because I had been binging the Netflix show, Stranger Things, and I thought that the character, Eleven, had the coolest style. I had become obsessed. I know it is just a TV show, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how badly I wanted to try it. Something felt very strong and empowering about making this decision.

I’m not going to lie, the struggle was real. I was hesitant to make the decision because even though I don’t care if people like what I wear, but kids at school can go overboard and not let up. I’m pretty good turning a deaf ear, but everyone was going to notice a tall girl with a crewcut. Was I ready and willing to let myself be a target? Because let me tell you, EVERYONE at school has an opinion, and they are not afraid to tell you to your face or behind your back.

neon pink hair The Happy Place

Then I had to tell my mom…

My mom is the coolest, but I never know what she is going to say. Things I think she’s going to be upset about, she’s fine and understanding with. Then things that I think are no big deal, she flips out about. But she somehow always knows EVERYTHING. So I knew I had to come up with creative ways to approach her about it or she would know what I was going to ask even before I said a peep. I knew she’d be cool with the pink color, but a buzz cut? I was going to need to think of something good. I totally had my speech memorized, how I wanted a new cut because for years, (and I mean years,) I have had the same style. A “bob” that goes to the tip of my chin cut perfectly straight. And then I caught Dave Grohl on TV talking about his daughter who is about my age. They were fans of Stranger Things as well, and she wanted to shave her head too! This might be easier than I think.

Hmmm? He’s a dad, she had to ask him for permission, now I have to ask my mom, I held my breath to hear his reaction. WHAT WAS HE GOING TO SAY TO HER? WAS HE GOING TO LET HER SHAVE HER HEAD LIKE ELEVEN? His response was even better than I could imagine. He grabbed his own electric shavers and shaved her head himself.

“MOMMMMMMMMMMM…”

neon pink hair The Happy Place

That was the sign I needed. I marched into her office, told her I wanted to shave my head, and without even missing a beat, she said, “OK, grab my phone, let’s make an appointment. If you don’t like it, it will grow back.” See, I told you! She surprises me every time. I didn’t even need to bring up Dave Grohl. She is so supportive.

Even though she was excited for me to do this, she was worried that I would end up not liking it, so while I was in the chair she asked my stylist, Alex, to leave a bit on the top and some bangs so I could make a final decision.

That’s when she flipped my chair around and I looked in the mirror.

Did I Love It?

Yes, I loved it. Sips tea

I actually liked the pixie cut, so I didn’t shave the front entirely. It was shaved everywhere else with some bangs. It was fun, it was easy, not a hassle in the morning, and looked very pretty. I looooved the feeling and how soft it was. I felt so confident.

I was saying “my hair is sooo soft” for five days.

What were people’s reactions?

My mom loved the new cut, but I could come home looking like Tekashi 6ix9ine, and she would find the good in it. My dad missed my long hair, and I started to as well, but he liked the way the short hair made my blue eyes pop.

The kids at school barely paid attention. Well, that was until I was sitting in the front of the class, and I when I went to say, “Hi!” to a friend, and when I turned around, he SCREAMED, “OMG! I THOUGHT YOU WERE A BOY!” and the class LOSES IT.

The finished product thanks to Alex Muckey

That’s when I knew I made the right decision. Everything was going to be OK. It was awkward at first, it felt weird, the stares were predictable, but that’s what happens to influencers. They tackle things first, and pave the way. We don’t shop off the mannequins.

Would I shave my hair again?

Oh, HECK NO! I really liked it in the beginning, but I started to miss the feeling of putting my hair back in a ponytail, and it took so long to grow back. Total mullet.But the “Coco Standley” bob is back and I couldn’t be happier. Things are good, and I’m even going to let it grow a few more inches to my shoulders. Not too long, and not too short.

P.S. from Coco’s Mom: I was silently freaking out. I know, I know, it’s just hair and it will grow back, but watching all that gorgeous hair fall from her head made me queasy and hold my breath more than once. Letting her do this was not an easy decision, but I immediately agreed because I knew it was time. Coco was showing signs that she was mature enough to make a drastic decision and live with the consequences regardless if they were good or bad. As a parent, I want her to slowly feel more independent, yet still safe under our guidance in case the bottom falls out.

Soundtrack: Push Play

Morrissey — Hairdresser on Fire (Live)

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