What I Learned From Cutting My Hair Off

Cutting off my super-long hair changed me -- but not exactly in the ways I'd been expecting.

Aug 3, 2013 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

image

 
 

Like a snake, my waist-length hair slid from my body as the hairstylist chopped it off. My reflection was no longer recognizable. 
 
I was elated. I was reborn. 
 
I decided to cut my hair because I thought it would lift my spirits, fulfill my need for change. I assumed that cutting my hair would also cut out my inner demons, but it only created more. Silly me.
 
At first, the haircut prompted insecurity, mostly because of what I thought society would think of me. It made me question my femininity, how I looked to the opposite sex. Most of all, it made me question myself. My tempestuous emotions became a depressive disaster. All I wanted to do was stay in. All I wanted was solitude. 
 
But slowly, through that solitude, I gained a new perspective on society, life and myself. I wouldn't let myself fall victim to vulnerability and uncertainty; my new haircut should be embraced and explored.
 
The idea that women are only beautiful if they have long hair is bullshit, and I realized my appearance to men hadn't changed. They didn’t ask questions. Actually, more guys made an effort to congratulate my courage; more guys were flattering and flirting with me. My appearance to women, however, was another story. They judged me. They pitied me. They mourned my long locks instead of rejoicing in my rebirth. It made me sad when they'd ask me, in overly concerned voices, “What happened to your beautiful long hair?” As if my hair defined me. As if I were only attractive with long hair, when ironically, I'd started feeling sexier and more mature with my new cut. 
 
I believe that in order for a woman to truly find her voice and understand who she is, she must do something extreme. Something beyond her comfort zone, something that allows her to adapt into what once seemed impossible. I think as curious adults we should push our boundaries, explore things that feel uncomfortable, in order to see progress.
 
In all honesty, I do sometimes miss my long hair. But the great thing about hair is that it grows. Nothing is permanent. It’s parallel to life. Everything we encounter and experience is temporary. The lessons they teach us are permanent, though -- forever implanted in our memories for future reference.
 
Now I can say I did something beyond the ordinary. If I were 70, and I'd lived life blindly following every social norm, I might look back on my early 20s and think, “Why didn't I experiment more?” Now, I can look back and embrace the short hair that caused such chaos, creativity and courage for me.
 
image
 
My short hair has taught me to take more risks. It's allowed me to grow alongside it. It's taught me to focus on myself. Most of all, it's given me the experience of change. And I regret nothing.