So last night, I did a thing. I did a thing that scared me, made me super uncomfortable, and something that changed something that played a big part in how I identified myself.
I cut about a foot of my hair off.
I come from a long line of strong, brave, hardworking, and classy women. My grandparents were farmers, and my grandmother served in the land army. In fact, one of my most favorite pictures is of her in her uniform. My mom and aunt worked the land for a while, as well as the markets. Most of the women in the family have a love of horses, the outdoors, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. That being said, when I was growing up, the women also had a soft, pretty and dainty side. At parties, everyone was always super well dressed, the faint smell of Chanel perfume in the air, and almost everyone shared one trait….long, flowing hair.
I suppose I have always associated long hair with my family. It has always stood for femininity. In a family of women who have battled through the best and worst of times, long hair has always symbolized the softness behind the strength. While I personally love loads of short hair styles, I’be never really found one I could wear comfortably, likely because of the shape of my face but also my love of long hair. I’ve had long hair almost my entire life. It has, like me, morphed and evolved over the years. As a child, it was bone straight, thick, and had a mind of its own. It didn’t like to be curled, refused to do anything more than lay the way it wanted to, but it did have a few cowlicks to keep things interesting. As I grew up, I wanted big hair like almost all women aspired to in the 80’s. Mine was still straight, so I attempted to combat its straightness with a perm. I was left with poodle hair, and it never got the volume I wanted. At some point, I was talked into a short, asymmetrical look. My son looked at a picture of this haircut and laughed heartily. The day of the cut, I LOVED it. A few days later, I hated it with a passion.
When I went to hair school, my long hair was coveted…by people who wanted to chop it off. I did hair modeling quite a bit, until I was talking into chopping it off by one of the stylists at a show. In front of tons of people, she lopped off all my long, flowing hair into a tight a line bob. It felt freeing to have the breeze on my neck, but I felt naked. I started growing it again, only to ask a fellow stylist at a salon I worked at to “clean it up”. I was busy doing the end of night bookwork when I suddenly felt a pair of clippers go straight up the back of my head. I screamed and lunged at him, unsure of just how bad it was. He had shaved the back of my hair way far up the back of my head. When I asked him what in the holy hell he was thinking, he said “I think you’re a fierce chick, and I thought you should have a fierce haircut.” I had no choice but to let him finish cutting it, but I cried the whole time, and wore hats for months.
I grew my hair out and never looked back. I tweaked it over the years, layers, no layers, razor cuts, scissor cuts, and an unfortunate crooked haircut (last time that person touched my hair). Babies were born, and my bone straight hair began a soft wave that has stuck with me, however it’s not the beachy wave one would hope for, so I typically blow dry it straight. It changed colors, from dark brown to lighter with caramel highlights, various shades of red and copper, and even blond for a short while (God, I look horrible as a blond, but hey, lessons learned, right?)
Good hair days brought confidence, bad days left me feeling off my game.
However, it’s January.
January makes me antsy for change. Change in location, change in surroundings, personal change, and growth. It also makes me antsy for a change with my hair. It seems to silly that a haircut can be such a big deal, but I’m nervous. I spent years trying unsuccessfully to do a messy bun. Silly, right? Yet I never could do it just so. Yesterday, I did a messy bun, and I’m gonna brag a little…I aced it. I got compliments at work and on the street on this bun. Of COURSE I pull it off the day I want to chop my hair off. I spent the day feeling anxious. It’s hard letting go of something that I have always associated myself with. Would I immediately regret the choice?
A haircut isn’t permanent. In fact, I have spent less time worrying over getting one of my tattoos. In the case of my tattoos, they all mean something sentimental, so I never question my choice to get them. The hair thing feels like a breaking of tradition. As someone who is so distant physically from her family, to cut it seems almost like another type of distancing, one I am not sure I wanted. That being said, sometimes you need to step away to value what you have.
So after getting my hair color freshened up, I had a few balayage highlights thrown in. I then sat in the chair and froze while I tried to make the decision. I decided to go for it. That’s when I saw in the mirror about a foot of hair waft silently to the ground behind me. My eyes teared up and I laughed nervously. Piles of hair dropped to the ground.
I left the salon feeling happy. Nervous…would my husband like it? Did I like it? I think I did! Do I miss my hair? Yes, a bit. Yet as I run my fingers though it, there are no tangles, just soft, silky hair. My ends are neat, not frizzy. There is no dryness. It feels….great. I walked in the door and got rave reviews from my husband, kids, and some friends. Today at the office, folks stopped me to tell me they liked it. A few clearly weren’t fans, but I realized, I simply don’t care. I am enjoying it, and that’s all that matters.
It’s interesting to take something I so defined as being a part of who I was and change it so much. It’s a good chance to expand my horizons.
I am gonna miss that perfect messy bun though.