Nine inches. A month ago, my hair was that much longer than it is now. Now, sitting right above shoulder length, my hair is shorter than it’s been in at least a dozen years.
It had been something I had been considering for a while, and eventually I just decided to go for it. Hair grows back, right? When I was sitting in the chair, my stylist looked me in the eyes right before she cut the initial eight inches off (to donate to Wigs for Kids) and asked me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” I nodded, and she smiled at said, “Good. I always ask that before a big change – but there wasn’t fear in your eyes. Let’s do this.”
Even if there wasn’t fear in my eyes, I was certainly terrified. Even if hair grows back, it’ll take a heck of a long time for it to grow nine inches. What if my mom hates it? What if my friends hate it? What if that guy I’m slowly falling for hates it? What if all of them are too polite to tell me?
Ten seconds later, the weight was off my shoulders (both literally and figuratively – ha!). And in the month that followed, these are some of the things I’ve learned.
1) Shorter hair equals considerably less money spent on products.
I still use way too much shampoo every single time I’m in the shower, but I’m getting there.
2) Shorter hair also equals way less time for maintenance.
Blow drying? Styling? Combing? Let’s quarter the time all of those used to take. I’m still too lazy to ever actually do much with my hair other than comb it and let it air dry, but on those rare occasions… I’m set!
3) I look significantly older. And other people think so, too.
People have perceived me as older than they ever have before (I’m not even twenty yet, so at this point that’s still a good thing), and even looking at myself, I look more sophisticated and mature – or at least I like to think so.
4) I’m more confident than ever before.
My long hair could be a mask to hide behind sometimes. Now, my shoulders, neck, and face are on display before in a way that they never were before. If I have a bad hair day, I just have to deal with it – I can’t just stick it up in a ponytail. Having short hair has forced me to deal with it when I don’t feel beautiful, and in the end, I realize that I look fabulous no matter what.
5) I feel like a rebel.
Even though the wavy bob is becoming more trendy nowadays, I still feel like this action says a little, “F*** you and your sexist standards, society! I’ll cut my hair whatever length I want!”
6) What I think matters more than what other people think.
So far, people have seemed to genuinely like my haircut. But what I’ve realized over time is that the more compliments I get, the more I realize that although I appreciate them and I’m happy that other people like it, I don’t really care. Because I love my hair now. I’m proud of it. And I’m proud of myself for being proud of it.
Own your hair. Whether you’re chopping it off, growing it out, keeping it at the same length that’s always worked for you. Whether it’s curly, straight, wavy, or something in between. Whether you let it dry natural or flat iron it every morning. Here’s to being brave and loving ourselves, no matter what our choices are.