I have always had a very strange relationship with my hair. This week I got a haircut for the first time in 2020, and it was quite the perspective change.
My whole life has been a battle between growing my hair out, to a ridiculous length, or cutting it off. Also, by a ridiculous length, I mean that my mom and I could not find any extensions any longer than my hair for my senior year hairstyle for prom.
Having long hair has its pros and cons. Pros: people compliment it all time, lots of options when it comes to hairstyles...and that’s about it, from my current perspective. Cons: It’s heavy, always in the way, literally chokes me in my sleep, gets tangled in every single strap on my purse, bags, camera, etc. I could go on for a while.
My hair had grown to nearly its length before I got a very short haircut in 2017. Three years of growth and I was entirely unhappy with it. After my quarantine, when I returned to the office, I was reminded just how much of a hassle it is to try to upkeep very long, thick hair. I could not keep a hairstyle to save my life, all buns fell, all braids pulled at my roots and ponytails caused headaches. One evening this week, I hit my breaking point.
I had just gotten off work and headed to my car, limping (I re-injured my ankle and I am tired of talking and writing about it) and had the biggest battle trying to get into my car. My hair was tangled around every strap of every bag I was carrying. I ended up ripping a bunch out, just trying to put my bag down to untangle it. I was done. I did a quick Google search and after a phone call, masking up and getting my temperature taken, I was sitting in a salon chair.
I told my stylist I wanted to donate my hair, so she tied off the rubber band at the minimum, eight inches of hair. She asked if I was sure as she held the scissors over the ponytail. For once, I didn’t hesitate, I just said yes.
A few hacks and chopped through (I am not kidding, my hair is very thick) and I was free of my literal dead weight. As soon as she held up the ponytail, I shook my hair and actually squealed with joy. I told her I could walk out that second and be happy. She didn’t know I was joking and asked me not to leave, and to let her cut and style it.
Two hours later, again, thick hair, even cut short, and I was a new woman. I took a photo of myself as soon as I got back to the car and I saw a spark in my own eye that I have not seen in a long time. I know it is just hair, but it can change your perspective, especially if at least a quarter of your life is spent taking care of the mess of dead skin cells that hang from your head.
Oops, I’m projecting. Sorry!
My only message here is that life is too short to have no fun with your hair and appearance. I’ve had an emotional attachment to that ponytail for most of my life, but at this age, I am much happier to be special for other reasons than 25-inch long hair.
— Contact Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice