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.
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.
You 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.
My 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?
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.
My 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.
It’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.
I’m so pleased that I did this.
And 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.