I chopped all my hair off last week.
And no, it wasn’t some big, outrageous move in protest of societal gender stereotypes. I wasn’t trying to make a feminist statement about beauty standards. I’m not having an emotional breakdown or rebirth. I’m not even going to bore you with some rant about how my hair doesn’t have to symbolize my sexuality or whatever.
I just got tired of my long hair, that’s all.
I woke up one day, looked at the frizzy, limp locks resting lifelessly on my shoulders, and I was over it. I was sick of making the choice between letting my wavy, crazy strands stay loose and pulling them back into a messy top knot every morning. I was tired of the time it took to tame my mane into submission if, god forbid, I actually wanted straight hair on any given day. I was sick of washing it and drying it and shopping for hair products that I wanted to believe would do the impossible. So I got rid of it.
Well, most of it anyway. I made an appointment and strode into the salon with nothing but the idea that I wanted “short hair.” I felt empowered. I felt that, if I was going to do this at any time in my life, this was as good a time as any. I’m moving in two weeks, this would help signify my “fresh start.” (Okay, maybe there’s at least one goopy metaphor to be found in this experience, so sue me.) So I babbled my half-baked ideas to my stylist and hoped to god I was giving her a clear enough picture that I wouldn’t end up bald. And then I watched as my long, lifeless, pain-in-the-ass locks fell straight to the floor.
I felt okay about it, even as my stylist kept snipping and trimming and my hair kept getting shorter and shorter. I watched my face in the mirror, a smiled plastered on in fear that if I stopped, I wouldn’t feel okay anymore. I thought about all pretty braids and curls that would no longer adorn my head and my smile got weaker. I watched as the stylist dried my hair and it no longer tickled my neck or back, and my smile started to disappear. I got nervous. I haven’t had hair this short since I was a toddler. Would this still look good tomorrow, when I had nothing but my inept hands attempting to shape and smooth it? Would I end up looking like Peter Pan? Or (worse) a 40 year-old soccer mom? OH GOD, WHY DID I DO THIS?!
But it was over, and I walked out of the salon, my head so light I worried it would fly up off my body like a lost balloon. I checked my reflection in the mirror of a public restroom and barely recognized myself. But I didn’t look like Peter Pan. Or a soccer mom. I looked like me, with short hair. And I liked it.
And yeah, it’s taking some getting used to. I’m still learning what products to use and how to style it the right way. But I don’t feel like I’ve lost my sense of femininity. If anything, I think my self-confidence has already gotten a boost. I’m still a woman, but now I don’t have long hair to hide behind. I have to get used to a new “pretty” and that’s okay. My own beauty standards can be changed, and I’m glad I get the chance to do that. That’s the awesome thing about hair: what matters is ultimately that you own it and make it your own kind of beautiful.
I look at this haircut as a symbol of growth, as well as one adding a level of simplicity to my life. So I’m happy to be embracing the short hair, because five years ago, I never would have had the guts to do this. And that, my friends, is called “growing up.”
…I guess there were more metaphors in there than I thought. Shit.