I’ve been trying to think of a way to write about what’s been going on in my head for awhile now. It’s hard. I love to write. I don’t love thinking about how to write about what I’m feeling. Does that make sense? All philosophical and stuff. Which brings us to letting go.
There are A LOT of things I want to let go of. Baggage from the past, bad habits that impede my present and the circles that I run my mind in when thinking about the future. As a practicing Buddhist, my chief goal is to exist in the present: I actively seek to let go of all the extraneous and focus in on the now.
For quite some time now I’ve noticed that I’ve been thinking way WAY too much about myself. Of course we humans think about ourselves. We’re sentient beings, it’s a sign of our consciousness. This was more than that. It was me thinking about the superficial parts of myself. ALL THE TIME. It was getting bad enough that I was having a hard time focusing. I would find myself thinking about how I looked when I’d walk across the bridge at work, I’d bypass articles that I was genuinely interested in when I saw an article about beauty. It was ridiculous.
It got bad enough that I needed to do something drastic, something like… this:
In case that photo isn’t clear enough, that is about 7 inches of hair. I blame a fit of personal zeal and Pinterest. Seriously. From idea to scissors, this took 4 days. Drastic…. nuts… and totally effective.
I’d be lying if I said all of this wasn’t terrifying. I mean… really, I’m not that dedicated… usually. I’d been specifically growing out my hair for around a year. In that year my hair has gone from platinum blonde to a dark brown two or three times. It was COMPLETELY fried. Bringing life and shine back to that kind of damage would cost more money than a reasonable person would allow to be spent on something as fleeting as hair. I was prepared to do it, but what would that accomplish? I would spend a small fortune to make myself feel better about… my hair. Seriously.
So I made the decision to take a good hard look at my intentions. Why did I need to have my hair look a certain way? A certain color? What was I willing to sacrifice to do that? Could I, in good conscience, spend close to a thousand dollars and commit to several months of appointments and bleachings and trauma to already damaged hair? Why did I want to do that? I couldn’t come up with an answer that didn’t make me feel vain and self-serving. I couldn’t come up with an answer that took the rest of my life into account and felt right. That money could be better spent. We’ve just moved into a new apartment, that money could purchase a new rug for Sriracha and Pico to lounge on. It could pay off a big chunk of my student loans. It could go into our house fund. Hell, it could be a weekend in Charleston with the people we love and miss the most.
So I cut it. All of it. No buzzcuting or shaving or anything. A good clean cut that harkens back to the high era of Mod. It’s nice and sharp and very Vidal Sassoon-esque. Basically, it’s PERFECT for me.
I had this feeling of dread about what I would project as a woman with short hair. I know men who HATE women with short hair. They feel it’s too masculine. I read article after article after article about how short hair on a woman is something that can be viewed as a shedding of femininity. I worried about looking too “butch”, which is AWFUL. I worried that P wouldn’t think I was sexy anymore. I worried that I would be judged as less of a woman. It was stupid. As if my value or womanliness could be measured by the length of my hair. It was awful. I felt like I was playing right into that patriarchal system that I hate so much. My hair doesn’t determine my worth any more than my gender determines my intelligence. What matters my character, my thoughts, my actions and who I am. I cut my hair off because I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t the sum of my beauty. Even though everyone who has seen it loves it, it’s not the part of me that matters most.
I feel free.