I’m As Free As My Hair

People have defining characteristics—things that others can’t help but notice right away. For some it’s a mole, for others it’s a tattoo, and for me, it’s always been my hair.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had wild, out-of-control, thick hair that, since I started high school, reached nearly the length of my back. I’ve dyed it different colors, it’s been yanked and pulled in a million different styles and no doubt saw the damages of many years of abuse.

On top of normal stylings, it saw me through lots of things: Dealing with my spur-of-the-moment breakup bangs, being yanked into french braids when I was in the marching band, and serving as my own personal tent when I need a quick crying session or to pretend that I wasn’t sleeping during a lecture.

Those who have read some of my more popular pieces know that I don’t exactly consider myself pretty, and my hair reflected that. It was amazing, but it was like me—way too big, damaged and a little too large for life. It became a crutch that would distract from messy eyebrows, my inability to draw a perfect cat eye and from the little bit of fat between my shoulders and underarms. It was so big and long that it was literally like a blanket that made me feel safe.

But, lately, I’ve been thinking it’s time for a change. I’m getting close to graduation and entering the “real world” and my ombre-d, frizzy bedhead was not exactly an office-appropriate look. When I mentioned to some of my friends about cutting my hair, some of them were excited for me and some were understandably shocked. My hair is a huge part of who I am and they knew, as did I, that this was not going to be easy on me. But, as so many lovely commenters and Twitter users pointed out to me, my hair was not healthy and needed to be chopped.

So, I made myself an appointment, dragged my best friend along and I made the big chop. The hairdresser was just as excited as I was to get that rats’ nest off of my head and I have to say she did an amazing job. I’m in love with this take on the “lob” and the color called “tobacco.” As my friend puts it, it’s very “Katie-Holmes divorce cut.”

I know it seems so silly to write a big introspective about chopping my hair, especially because I was not one of those girls who cried in the salon chair or freaked out a ton after (although I totally get that) but anyone that knows me knows that this is virtually a clean slate for me. There’s nothing like a beauty change to give you a new lease on life. I feel better than I have in a long time because I know that this larger than life thing is done taking all of the attention from me.

I am now forced to be the most interesting thing about myself and as dumb as that sounds, it’s a little intimidating. I still have to find out just how this cut is going to go with presenting myself to the world. Although it’s a lot more uniform, I’m still not.

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As much as I hate to conform myself to something so physical about me, as I’ve said before, the physical really does matter. It’s the first thing that people see about me. And now, that thing is not longer a knotted, matted blonde-brown mess. It’s just me. Who knew?

Not to mention that the color change and cut have made me totally re-evaluate my wardrobe and makeup styles. I feel like this is going to be a big year of transformations and I could not be more excited.

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“I’m as free as my hair.”

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