Chop, chop!

So, I’d been thinking of cutting my hair for a while.  I’ve had long hair for 21 years.  I started growing my hair when I was six years old, and with the exception of a few trims I haven’t really cut it since then.  My hair was super duper long.  Like beginning to approach Rapunzel-like lengths.

DSCF8333I’ve always liked having long hair.  My hair was pretty healthy and I didn’t find it too much work to take care of.  I loved styling it and it gained me so many compliments.

After my boyfriend of nine years broke up with me, I’ve been faced with a lot of things that terrify me: the prospect of losing the person I love most, moving away from the home we were making for ourselves and having to completely redefine the parameters of my life are just a few.  I did not feel up to the task of contemplating these scary and awful things.  So I decided that it might be a good idea to do something else that scares me, but something that I can control.  I wanted to make a scary decision that was my choice to show myself that I could get through it.  So I decided to cut my hair.

DSCF7946You might not think that cutting your hair is a scary concept, but it was to me.  As I said, my hair has been this way for 21 years.  I know it, I’m comfortable with and and I was pretty happy with it.  I knew that my hair was beautiful and I was worried that by changing it, I’d be chopping off the most interesting part of myself.  I worried that without my mane of hair, I’d look boring, dull, even ugly.  I was scared to let go of it, but I decided to do it anyway.

I spent about a week mulling over the idea.  I looked at loads of photographs of different haircuts.  I did research on the different hairdressers in town.  I chatted to friends and family about it.  Finally I booked in with a hairdresser for a consultation.  She was absolutely lovely and talked me through the process.  She suggested a style that would flatter my face and would be easy to look after.  I also made sure that I would still be able to style it in lots of ways, because that’s something I really enjoy doing.  My mind was made up, and I booked an appointment to make the cut.

On Wednesday I brushed out my mermaid hair for the last time.  I got oddly emotional at this point.  This was the hair that had flowed down my back as I’d accepted my diplomas at my graduation.  It had been primped for my high school formals and teased into a beehive when I saw Hairspray.  This was the hair that Ross had smoothed back when I cried, which would sometimes tangle in his beard like velcro on windy days.  It was like saying goodbye to a friend, in a very strange way.

DSCF7656My hairdresser washed my hair and tied a ponytail just below the spot where we’d decided my new ‘do would finish.  She picked up the scissors and asked me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” and I said “Yes” without hesitation.  I made myself watch as she took the first cut.

I had imagined that my hair would all come off in a single snip.  Instead, the hairdresser had to chop away with the scissors for a minute or so to detach the lengths.  It felt awful, brutal somehow.  But then she snipped the final piece and I felt the ponytail come away from my head and it’s weight lifted away.  How could hair feel so heavy?

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Once that weight was gone, I began to feel excited rather than anxious.  I eagerly watched as she snipped away.  Shaping my hair around my face and evening up the ends.  I was beaming by the time my hair was dried and brushed.

DSCF8626My new hair is still long, but it’s much shorter than it was before.  I got a few light layers around my face.  It’s so sleek and I just love it.  I’ll be able to play around with loads of vintage styles and hair sets that I couldn’t do when my hair was mega long.  Plus, my hair feels much softer because I’ve lost all of the split ends.

DSCF8630It’s been really hard to adjust to it.  I still haven’t gotten used to seeing myself with short hair.  I got a shock when I undressed to shower for the first time, and felt the ends of my hair skimming my bare shoulders.  I realised too that I don’t have my hair to hide behind any more.  Before, when I was naked, I’d often pull my hair over my shoulders and it would cover most of my body.  I can’t do that anymore, and it’s both scary and liberating.

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I’m so pleased that I did this.

DSCF8639And what about the 45cm of hair I had chopped off?  Well, now that it’s all dry I’m going to be donating it.  My Nana suggested that I do this and I thought it was a brilliant idea.  I found an amazing campaign called Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths, which accepts donations of real hair.  The hair is used to make wigs, which are then given to women who have lost their hair to cancer.  I love the thought that my hair will be turned into something that will help somebody in need, even if it is in a very small way.  I hope it gives its new owner strength, courage and confidence.  If she feels even half as beautiful wearing it as I did, then that will really be something special.

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21 thoughts on “Chop, chop!

  1. Pingback: Read this before you cut your hair. | Nessbow

  2. Sweet Vanessa, thank you for sharing such a heartfelt, personal experience with us. I truly think your new length looks incredible (it’s so becoming!!!) and am really proud of you for making this exciting change.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Congrats on the hair cut! It’s amazing, break ups often lead a lot of ladies into drastic changes of hair. I’ve been known to do it.
    I have to say, while I thought your hair was rather majestic before, I’m reallllly loving it now! It seems so full and bouncy, like it’s been given a new lease on life. The weight of the length isn’t pulling it down.
    I know when I’ve had my hair cut, even just like 2 inches I always remark at how lighter my head feels, I can’t even begin to imagine how light your head would feel, its probably taken awhile for you to get used to the weightlessness. And hey, now you just need to find a spray in hair colour (or even one of those 6 wash hair dyes) and you could TOTALLY cosplay Amy Pond!!

    • One of the things that was holding me back from cutting my hair was the idea that there are so many long-hair cosplays that I wanted to try. Plus I was upset at the idea that I wouldn’t be able to cosplay as Luna anymore. But there are loads of costumes that I can do with my short hair. I hadn’t thought of Amy Pond. I think the first one I do will be Roxy Richter from Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

      • Apart from the colour, the cut and length reminded me straight away of Amy! I think you could totally pull her off! And hey, if you still want to be Luna, you just have to do what all the rest of us usually have to do and wear a wig! 😛

      • I hadn’t thought of it like that, but I might have to give the Amy Pond thing a go. Now all I need is a police-woman’s uniform!

  4. Holy shit, Ness!!! I loved your long hair, don’t get me wrong, but wow. You look absolutely amazingly stunning. WONDERFUL JOB!!! I remember when I had waist length hair, and got a cut much like you did. I felt SO GOOD. I was cooler, felt lighter and more carefree and now I just can’t go back to longer hair. I hope you feel that freedom too!!!

    • I do like the new-found lightness. It’s going to take a lot of getting used to though! I think it’s likely that I’ll grow it out again. Maybe not quite as crazy long as it was, but perhaps a bit longer than it is We’ll see. In a few weeks I might be more used to it and I’ll be happy to keep it shorter.

    • Thank you! I’m still getting used to it, but I’m really glad that I went through with it.
      I was so excited when I found out about the Beautiful Lengths campaign. It made me feel like there was a really good reason to cut my hair, like I could actually help someone out.

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