I’ve let my writing slip to the back burner lately. You know, in order to live life and communicate with others about how we are living our lives. I’ve had a lot of time to think, reflect, and take control of my thoughts.
And, partly because everything seems to be changing, I added my hair to the list.
Once upon a time, when I was two or three, my mom caught me in the bathroom with a pair of scissors.
“Well, are you done?” she asked. I’d cut my own hair, as many children do at one point or another. I don’t remember caring, though. A year or so later, my grandmother took control of it and whisked me to her hairdresser, who cut it into a pixie cut. Now, folks, let’s remember that the early 90’s weren’t really good for anyone’s hair – especially a 4 year old whose hair has been hacked by a 54 year old woman’s stylist.
Anywho, I don’t think I really hated it until I was riding on an elevator in a Las Vegas casino and a man – who, by all adult reports of the incident, was more than likely not the most sober individual on the planet – looked down at me in my favorite blue tank top with a turtle on the chest and said, “Oh, what a cute little boy.” I remember him smiling at me as he said it. I glared back.
From that moment on, I was on a mission to grow it out.
Let me just say that when you’re 4, growing out a pixie takes even longer than it does for adults. I assume this is just because, as a child, two years was a third of my life by the time it grew back to my satisfaction. Anyway, somewhere in here, my mom also decided to “race” me to see who could grow their hair to their butt the fastest.
But at every hair appointment for trims, I still had one last adversary. Bangs. No, bangs aren’t bad on everyone, but goodness, were they bad on me back in the day! I have a scar about one inch from my hairline these days, but then it was a bit further down my forehead. It turns out I have a cowlick along my hairline that made my bangs split around that scar, framing and emphasizing it.
It grew out until the middle of fifth grade, when my hair became oily and generally harder to keep up. Of course this meant that I also needed to despise my hair cut, so I was forced to cut it again – this time to my chin. I’ll not provide any photos of this time. This is when the awkward years began, my friends.
Suffice it to say that haircut and our Midwestern move made me distrustful of all hair stylists because, in my experience:
- they didn’t give a damn what I wanted
- they didn’t listen
- I’d end up with a bad hair cut no matter what
- they always got frustrated about my hair’s texture and felt the need to bitch to me about it
- I just wanted it long; what’s the point of cutting it?
I ran into some roadblocks. First, I really didn’t know how to take care of my hair for a long time. Second, I really needed the trims I skipped for years, so I lost a lot of hard-earned length when I did finally go to a stylist again. Third, I didn’t know how to style long hair for a long time, so I got bored of it. Fourth, despite all of this, I was terrified to get a real hair cut or to confide in a stylist.
Now, mind you, it’s not like I didn’t have hair cut aspirations.
I was a victim of unrequited love, incredible awkwardness, and outcastedness for about half my life until age 22. So, you see, I I love P!nk and understood every lyric of Ashley Simpson’s debut album and I wanted nothing more than to wear the things they wore. I’ve wanted to dye my hair crazy colors since I could talk. I wanted to emulate my icons – chicks who were challenging the status quo, singing about the sadness, and making it work for them, when all I could do was struggle with my lot in life as a girl who was against the grain.
Around age 19, my friends’ family pseudo-adopted me and let me in on their secret hair styling weapon, a stylist who did the entire family’s hair perfectly every time. I never felt entirely comfortable with her, though, if only because it felt like she was always trying to talk me out of liking my hair the way it is. “It should have more body. Why don’t you want more volume?” She patiently tried a new trick each time to see if she could work some serious volume into my fine hair. I’m fine with fine hair at this point. I’ve accepted it and moved on. I also asked her once if I could get a short choppy cut and she told me no. I’ve been going to her for about seven years now and I’ve always loved her cuts.However, when we moved out to Valpo, it became annoying to have to drive an hour on a surface street to get a trim, maybe work in lunch with my grandpa, and drive home during rush hour. It’s stressful and it shouldn’t be an entire day affair to get your hair done, in my opinion. But I’ve done it.
About a month or so ago, Fox and I got into Once Upon a Time and I – much to my little girl heart’s chagrin, fell head-over-heels for Ginnifer Goodwin’s pixie cut. I mean, seriously. Is there anything that woman’s hair can’t do?
Naturally, being the investigative researcher I was trained to be, I researched the heck out of it. I have read countless articles and blogs and watched plenty of vlogs and gifs and posts of all sorts about pixie cuts. I started to obsess. And I was annoying myself.
So, to stop it, I made an appointment with a young local stylist I found on Facebook. She was very eager and excited.
I almost didn’t go today.
I couldn’t fall asleep until Tom’s morning alarm started going off, but when I woke from a few hours of fitful rest, I took photos of myself. “This is the last morning I’ll wake up with long hair.” And I laid around, worrying about it. Reading more articles. Re-watching videos of people who were upset with their cuts. I didn’t even eat. I avoided coffee so I wouldn’t get more nervous. I felt a bit barfy, honestly.
And then I put on my big girl pants… and shirts… and a scarf and a touch of mascara, looked myself in the mirror, and started reminding myself of why I wanted this.
I’ve outgrown the whole growing it down to my butt race – and if I had kept up with trims in the first place, I’d already have been there.
- I am a woman now; if a drunk man tells me I’m a cute little boy, I’ll tell him he’s an asshole.
- I have a supportive person by my side, so I don’t have to care at all what anyone else in the world thinks.
- Apparently the patriarchy is threatened by short hair on women. I like that.
- In approximately 26.5 years of life on this planet, no noticeable hair cut has been my decision.
- This will let me find the other things that are beautiful about myself. My hair is not, as Amy March said to her sister Jo, my “one beauty.”
- I think long hair has held me back, kept me feeling like the same chick I was when I first grew it long again, and restrained me from exploring certain avenues more fully.
- I’ll get to experiment with makeup more.
- I want to feel free like all the women ranting in YouTube videos do.
- I’ll be able to put sunblock on my neck this summer (without ending up with disgusting chunks of it in my locks)!!!
- I’ll get to show off the six ear piercings no one notices.
- I get to try new styles you definitely can never do on long hair. Here’s looking at you, fauxhawk.
- I don’t want to let fear control me.
- Someday, when I’m an old woman who can’t be bothered to brush out her long hair and I get it cut short, I’d like to have young, happy memories to remember.
And I marched myself out the door, down the stairs, and to my car. I kept repeating those reasons – and probably some others, too! – as I drove, almost trembling.
I went in, sat down, was given a cup of coffee and the most dramatic hair cut I’ve ever gotten.
It took a shameful 2.5 hours, but this cool chick was an absolute doll about the whole thing. She talked me through each snip, every section, asked countless questions – many of which I didn’t know how to answer, so she experimented – laughed, talked easily, and worked those thinning and cutting shears like nobody’s business. She styled my hair four different ways and tried different products and answered everything I thought to ask.
Never in my life have I felt so unsure of a hair decision. Then again, I’ve never really taken a risk before.
When she cut the pony tails, I thought of “David After Dentist“. “Is this real life?” I didn’t know. When she brought out the electric trimmer, I wanted to cry. When I saw the back of my head after the initial cutting, I couldn’t believe I’d just done this to myself. And when I walked out, I felt terrible. “Why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?!”
Then I got home and played with it: I can braid it, I happen to have a light holding product on hand that feels more real than all of the product I ended up with in my hair after a few demonstrations, I don’t use much shampoo now, and it feels really cool. Watch this if you’ve never experienced this.
The only one who’s not totally on board yet is Fox, but I think that’s just because he’s not used to the scents of styling products. He’ll get there – and my stylist assured me the static puff will go down over the next couple weeks, so maybe I’ll need less product then.
As it is, the shock value has gone down a bit and I’m feeling more comfortable by the minute. I think Suraiya at Serendipity Salon in Valparaiso, IN, is a budding star and I’m so happy to have found someone who listens to me and gives great advice. The fact that she has a team to help her with my weird hair – which she never put down, by the way – is the cherry on top.
I’ve heard pixie bedhead is a real pain. I’ll let you know how I cope in tomorrow’s Quick Thoughts Friday.
I’ll be doing a post in the coming week about what is beautiful about me now that I don’t have my hair to hide behind and rely upon.
Many thanks to everyone for kind words and for reading “From scars into sunshine,” in which I shared my best memory of my uncle Keith, whose life came to a tragic end on Saturday. If you can, please pray for comfort, understanding, peace, and love to guide his family through all of this. We now know a bit more, but it’s under investigation and prayers for everyone involved are greatly appreciated.