Pretty much my whole life I’ve had short hair. I didn’t have hair at all until I was two years old, and even then it was only a couple wisps on top that couldn’t support a barrette. Then in childhood it was still thin, so my mom kept it above the shoulders. Once when I was eight it was bobbed above the ears and buzzed at the neck.
All through school I rocked a shorter do. My hair thickened up but grew slowly. I think I would get bored with the process and tell the stylist to chop away. Also in the short hair favor… 1) I have wavy-curly hair that always hit this point in growing out that looked bizarre like a triangle head, and 2) I started highlighting and dying my hair which was classified as “medium” length at the salon and would have cost extra for “long.”
I definitely spent three and a half of my four college years with chin to shoulder length hair. And I cut it extra, to just barely tuck-able behind the ears, for a trip to Vegas in 2010.
In summer 2011, I decided the saga needed a new chapter. I was going to grow my hair long. This doesn’t really require any talent except patience. I had to fight all the urges to simplify, to differentiate, to get it over with. I set a goal to help. I wanted “mermaid hair” – hair long enough to cover the boobs. Maybe I was too heavily influenced by Victoria’s Secret models or my true love for Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I was highly motivated by Locks of Love too. I hoped to be able to donate at least 10 inches for their good cause of making wigs for children with long-term medical hair loss.
I was determined. Just a trim. Just the dead ends. As little off the length as you have to. Much appreciation to my stylist who complimented and encouraged me the whole way. Bless anyone who interacted with the lion’s mane over the course, which may have whipped you in the face or left a trail of stray strands on your car seat. After three years, I finally made it. See More Photos >
Then I was faced with a super dilemma. Was I really prepared to cut it all off? I was panicked for some reason. I had completed the challenge – lived the long-hair life, taken many selfies to document my success and was ready to help a suffering kid. But I still had a hard time saying go. I dug deep on these complex emotions and came up with some surprising realizations.
I was ready for short hair because I had reached my goals. I was tired of washing, conditioning, combing, drying and curling the unruly mass. I was most exasperated when trying to keep it out of the way while exercising. It was summer and smotheringly hot and humid in South Carolina. I had a couple people question my bohemian look.
For one, I was going to miss the creative styles – braids, buns, etc. For two, long hair has a lot of connotations. Long hair represents youth, a precious exuberance. Long hair represents vivacity, a sparkling fun-loving nature. Long hair represents beauty, flowing locks that turn heads. Long hair represents sex, a fantasy of infatuation and chaos.
These long hair ideals aren’t set in stone, and they aren’t totally my own. It’s what’s pressed upon us by popular culture and historical musings. I seriously bet women hang on for such reasons. Yet we have all seen some long-haired chick who’s a “but-a-face.” We instantly think certain things about long hair and those sporting it, but when analyzed further, we know that’s not possibly a foolproof indicator of anything. No. We shouldn’t be stopped by societal shit. We make our own auras and decide our destinies!
I made the big cut on July 11 and could not be happier. I feel proud that I stuck to the plan and did a good deed. I feel lighter in so many ways, with a literal weight off my shoulders and much less time to spend coiffing each day. I feel as attractive and spunky as ever and want to “wave my hair back and forth” all day. I feel like a new me and my old self at the same time, and it’s scary how cool that is.