When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming Alice from "Alice in Wonderland."
I watched the Disney "Alice in Wonderland" religiously from age three to age five, and I wanted it all. I wanted a white rabbit friend, I wanted to "learn a lot of things from the flowers," I thought those little pieces of cake or mushroom that Alice ate to make her huge or tiny looked DELICIOUS. I believed that I saw God in the Cheshire Cat.
But more than anything I wanted Alice's hair.
You see, I had the classic Asian-child bowl cut. Bobbed, cut above the chin, bangs straight across the forehead, adorable, but not whimsical. I think I looked a little like the love child of Spock and Dorothy Hamill, so maybe there was some whimsy in there.
But my mom was obstinate. Among my other weird obsessions (Cherry ChapStick was my favorite snack, sucking the detergent taste out of fresh towels was my second favorite snack, and I couldn't go poop without my trusty "Poo-Poo Bear"), I just don't think she wanted to deal with having to brush my long hair as well.
"You look so clean!" she'd tell me, like THAT was a selling point on hair-dos to a five-year-old.
When I turned seven, I finally wore my mom down and she allowed me to grow out my hair. But I did not grow luxurious Disney hair. I grew thick, knotty, mixed-race (I'm actually more Persian and English than Chinese, but not by much) hair that was frizzy, wavy and stick-straight all at once. Plus it was the late 80s/early 90s so I had a devotion to hairspray and crimping irons -- not only was my hair long, but it was also fried.
Then my mom let me get a perm.
WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?! Sometimes I wonder if this was her way of teaching her ungrateful little daughter a lesson: "Sure, you want long hair? You want to crimp the shit out of it? You want to perm your hair at Fantastic Sam's for your birthday? GO AHEAD! I'll get the bowl ready for when you're ready to see the error of your ways."
By the time I turned 13, I gave up. I hacked off my long hair and began almost a decade and a half of being a short hair girl.
At first I saw it as the only way to salvage my hair -- I had discovered that if I dumped a shit ton of "Sun In" in it, blasted it with a hair dryer for 15 minutes, then repeated for most of a Friday night, I could get it light enough to dye fire engine red with whatever cheap dye I could get my hands on. My short hair was a way to re-seed the crops.
However, as time passed, I began to love it. It became part of my identity, my "Louise-Look." I got more daring with my short hair -- asymmetrical, pixie, blunt 1920s bob. I looked at my longhair friends and wondered how they hell they could stand it.
Then three or so years ago, my looks turned from judgment to curiosity to envy. I think the day I officially changed my mind was when there was a long platinum wig being playfully passed around the office. I yanked it on over my short, blue-black bob at the time and my friend took a picture of me.
OK, I looked like I was wearing a "Kitty Wig", but when I saw myself with long hair again, my inner Alice woke up. I needed long hair again.
Fast forward three years, and I haven't had a major haircut since that day. Yeah, I get trims and layers, but nothing that takes off more than a few inches from my overall length.
I finally have the closest thing to "Alice in Wonderland" hair that I can have. My hair is pretty much "virgin" at this point -- I take obsessive care of it and don't dye it anymore. It's healthy (at least NOW it is, some of you may remember Operation Dandruff Storm), strong, often bouncy and falls halfway down my back. It's the longest it's ever been.
AND IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY.
Don't get me wrong, there are days, especially when my hair is clean, that I love running my fingers through it, playing with it, braiding it, smelling it. (You do it too, right?) I've always been a big "hair player wither" and my extra long hair is perfect for occupying my hands. And I'm not gonna lie, I love that I can totally rock the "local Hawaiian girl" beachy, salty, waves look when I want to.
However, the downside is that it also gives me a headache when I wear it up in the "Bun of Un-Sexy" for too long, and I swear I'm getting a receding hairline from said Bun. When I wear my hair down, with no aid from bobby pins or product, it takes over. I regularly close my hair in my car door.
So when my lovely friend Fran got her haircut and posted it on Facebook, my hair-envy flared up again.
I want to chop off all of my hair. I want that cute, simple, unfussy pixie cut. I WANT IT.
But I'm afraid, as ridiculous as that sounds. "It's just hair!" I keep telling myself. "It will grow back!"
But, the thing is, I'm afraid of the grow back. Everyone who has ever cut their hair super-short then grown it long again knows the months, even years of mullets and "growing out" haircuts that inevitably ensue. I swear I lived "The Year of the Mullet" when I was growing out my last pixie cut, and the thought of it chills me.
I love my long hair. I hate my long hair. I just want a change, but I tend to like extremes. So what do I do? I feel like I've put in so much work! I'm being a little nutty bananas aren't I?