I just cut my hair ...
I just cut my hair … not that interesting. I cut my hair all the time, about 3 years ago I invested (£11) in some hair cutting scissors and figured I’d no longer pay for a hair cut and just do it myself. Since it was all basically one length an occasional chop was pretty painless and barely noticeable. But today, literally 5 minutes ago I decided to cut off approximately 7 inches. I’ve been subconsciously toying with the idea for a little while, but didn’t want it to be another fringe situation where I realise I don’t like it about a week after getting it cut, trying to block out all the people who had told me that would be the case. (Not a fan of “I told you so’s”.)
Cutting my hair has made me reflective …
I realised that I’ve been growing my hair since I was about 14, which was the last time I had it cut short. At that stage in my life I was envious of the confidence and beauty of someone from church so essentially tried to get my hair to look like hers. Unfortunately I knew nothing about getting my hair cut (layers, feathering etc.) so I ended up with a kind of bob and tiny side fringe that didn’t suit me and didn’t look the same as the girl I admired.
After that hair cut I decided to grow it out again, I regularly died it blonde and also regularly curled it because I was then at the stage of deeply envying the locks of my best friend Chloe as well as basically anyone who had a kink, ringlet or any kind of curl. My hair was perfectly straight. Thin and straight. No straighteners needed for me. I bought some anyway of course, because that’s what everyone was doing and perhaps I could also get it even straighter and look like the girls with shiny straight locks. Mine though, was thin, so didn’t really flow, it just sat limply on my head. My hair was also pretty oily, like my skin (puberty wasn’t kind to my face.) I’d be at a friends house, maybe after a football game or for a sleepover, I’d have a shower, wash my hair and be mortified when it would dry looking as greasy as it did beforehand. Thankfully dry shampoo came about not long after and this is when I transitioned from constantly greasy hair to being able to get through the week and only wash it a couple of times without it looking really freaking awful. This was an issue for me from about age 10-16. At 16 I went on roaccutane (strong medication for acne) which, simultaneously fixed my acne and greasy hair. The transition was pretty horrendous though; achey joints, major skin sensitivity, sensitivity to light, mild depression and dry everything (the skin on my face peeled off like the bark on eucalyptus trees.)
Anyway, I’m now 26 and have been growing my hair since then. If I’m honest, at age 16 when I started to actually like my hair it became my favourite thing about myself … or rather, the thing about myself that I thought people might find most attractive about me (if I could make it look right.) I associated long blonde hair with beauty (not surprising why) especially as I’d also started to take an interest in surfing.
In a social situation, if my hair went flat after curling it, or if it looked even a tiny bit greasy, I’d be in the bathroom applying dry shampoo and attempting to conjure volume. When taking photos with friends (which we did-a lot) I’d put my head upside down and shake it, willing it to rise a little and look beautiful. There was a crazy amount of control and insecurity going on, as I look back I can see how that was the case in a lot of areas in my life. My skin was the first and most challenging difficulty, the next was my hair and what I wore was the third. Throughout all this, I managed to like myself on the inside (most likely thanks to my incredible parents and also the amazing friendship group I grew up with) but the outside of me was a constant struggle.
I’m not unique in this, pretty much every single young person struggles with various insecurities. Probably worse now than when I was in school. The constant inner dialogue is exhausting. Trying to reassure yourself, trying to remember that you are beautiful despite what you feel or are being told, trying not to hate parts of yourself. Trying to be grateful for what you have, who you are. It’s a lot.
When I started thinking about chopping off my hair I wondered if I’d regret it, if I’d still feel beautiful. I asked Matthew what he thought and he casually encouraged me to do it if that’s what I wanted. The fear of not being attractive or feeling beautiful was difficult to ignore. I decided not to ask more people incase they encouraged me not to. I’ve seen that a lot. People are strangely attached to long hair and (I think) envy it in those who are able to grow it. I get it. I’ve seen people with long flowing hair cut it and wondered why they’d do such a thing. But what a crazy thing to think! Why are we so attached to physical attributes that we consider beautiful? Why have I allowed the length of my hair to define whether I think I am the person I want to be…whether I think I am beautiful? So, today, I cut my hair because I don’t want to feel so attached to a physical attribute. I don’t want my self worth to be tied to the length of my hair. I don’t want, at the age of 26, to still be perpetuating the lie that my beauty has anything to do with my hair. That my value has anything to do with my hair. I want to be free from these lies that we are bombarded with about what is or isn’t beautiful. Not just in regards to hair but everything. I want to stop giving life to the lies and start giving life to what does matter.
It might seem like i’ve gone to a lot of effort to write about cutting my hair, but it’s not really about hair at all.