We all know that when hair is damaged, you have three options. You can do nothing, and watch it split and break away until you have no hair left. You can try to repair it, and heal it – using special conditioners and protein treatments and taking more Vitamin B complex (but we all know that it’s probably not going to work). Or, and this is important, OR you can cut it off and start fresh.
Strangely enough, when presented with these same three options last year, I chose options A and B before I ever chose C, because I am a person with so much indecision running through their blood that I can’t even fathom making a real choice. So, a lot of times, my “not choice” is avoidance, which is a choice all of its own.
So, it’s 2016, my hair is breaking off from a failed dyeing attempt earlier that year, and (probably) from just being genuinely unhealthy in my everyday life. I was always taught that my hair was this really special part of me, something that I should wear with pride and not tamper with, so when my hairstylist of many years tells me, “your hair is breaking off and damaged, we need to cut it.” I found myself sinking down further and further in her chair, denying that I needed to cut off any hair and questioning her choices. Not my choices, but HER choices.
“Do we have to cut it?” I asked, already knowing the answer, but hoping that my repetitive questioning of my stylist’s expertise would yield different results.
“We don’t have to,” she said, “but if we don’t, your hair is going to continue splitting up through the middle.”
You see, the damage had already been done, and now it didn’t want to stop until it had taken the rest of my hair with it. And I know this may seem like a crazy comparison or a stretch of a metaphor, but this is exactly what happened to me when my ex and I stopped dating last year.
I know what you’re thinking, “How did we even get here? What the heck just happened to the hair story? Who even asked about this, and when and why?” But trust me, it’s relevant, stay with me.
My ex and I had dated, back in 2012, after being friends for a couple of years. After a few months of dating, I broke his heart, and things ended. I was devastated, but I was young and tried to move on. Somehow, someway, we got back into contact with each other in 2014…as friends. I wanted more, he didn’t feel that he could give me more. So, we kept sparse contact until mid-2015, when we began to talk almost every day. We talked, and laughed, and argued, much like a modern day The Notebook with a less awe-inspiring ending.
Towards the end of 2015, feeling antsy and empowered by the promise of a new year, I told him, “I can’t keep doing this back and forth. If you can’t decide if you want me after January 1st, I’m done, I can’t carry this with me into the new year.” It was probably one of the most nerve wracking ultimatums I had ever given, and, guess what? IT WORKED.
He called me a little after midnight and told me that he wanted to try, to actually try, to date me. I can’t explain how ecstatic I was. It was much like how I felt when I took my braids down in 2015 and found that my hair had grown significantly farther than it ever had before. I found myself telling my best friends and roommates, and anyone else who would listen about it, because I had finally got him back.
So, medium length story short (because the story of me and the ex from Christmas past wasn’t that long), it didn’t work. Not only didn’t it work, he ghosted me…right after my birthday. I was mortified, and horrified, and any other “fied” that a broken hearted person could be. I found myself moping around, eating pizzas and crying daily in, what could only be described as, an accurate depiction of any sad part in any romantic comedy that has ever been filmed.
So, there I was, heart broken and bruised, hair damaged and broken off, sitting in my hair stylist’s chair, refusing to make any kind of choice. I’d always kind of felt that choices were either made for me or just sort of happened to me. At that point in my life, I was accepting of that. I was accepting of that, and too many things. I was even accepting of the fact that my stylist made the right decision for me, which was, to cut away the damage.
And it was there, that I realized, that my hair was something I used to hide from the world. It was a means of distraction for me, I didn’t want anyone to see me at my core, and now it was all exposed. I was rubbed, raw, and reeling and crying all the way back to my house about my hair, and it took me forever to realize that it wasn’t what I was crying about at all.
My ex had left me. My hair had broken and split. All of these things were things that were happening to me that I felt I had little control over. So, it’s needless to say that I titled 2016 “the worst year ever,” because, in my head, 2016 had just HAPPENED to me. I didn’t have control over it.
But guess what guys? I took control. My hair grew back, stronger and faster and healthier than it ever has been before. I changed my eating habits from pizzas everyday to salads and no sodas. My skin cleared, I started shedding weight, and I met a new boy. I tried and failed, and tried and failed time and time again to have a friendship with my ex, but I realized that being friends with him was like holding onto that damaged hair. I could try to cover it up with masks and condition it with platonic vibes, and supplement it with familiar conversation, but I was only prolonging the inevitable. Sometimes, you just have to take those scissors and cut away from the damage in your own life, and move on.
Just cut away the damage, and move TF on.