I cut all my hair off again.
We cut it at home, my boyfriend and I, and we're both kind of shocked it came out well. I wrapped an old shower curtain around me, we buzzed the sides and back to an inch and scissor-cut the top into long pixie. I like it very much. Oddly, this short style feels more feminine to me than my long hair did and I actually feel more comfortable with short hair, though I've had hair past my shoulders for 95% of my life.
For a while now, I've been feeling disconnected from my own image. Pictures don't look like me, though I know rationally that they do. Even the face I see in the mirror only resembles my own. She is older, sadder, fatter, uglier, and I feel bad for that woman whenever I catch her image. Her clothes fit badly, her hair is unstyled, and she always looks tired. As a person who has struggled with body image and disordered eating, I've been unsure how to become comfortable with myself again.
But, cutting my hair has helped realign my mind and my body somewhat. I look in the mirror and I'm finally seeing myself again, not just a haggard, sick, fat, old, tired version of myself, but the real me. I mean, I can still see the weight, the exhaustion, how migraines have affected me and how my skin is changing as I'm seeing the first signs of middle age approaching, but it's not all I see. My face is mine again, without all that weight attached to it. Who knew I was just trapped under all that hair?
I do miss elaborate braids and wearing it all fancy, but I haven't been able to wear my hair like that in years anyway, my constant scalp tenderness makes any but the loosest of low ponytails intolerable. Besides, I'm always wearing a hat outside the house, what's the point of styling my hair to just smush it down?
I was hoping to see some migraine benefits from lopping it all off, but no dice. In fact, I've had a tension-like headache around the back of my head ever since we cut it, almost as if my scalp misses the weight.
The reactions I've gotten from other people have been entertaining. My mother hates it, but she always hates my hair short, so part of the fun of cutting it has always been watching her battle against herself to say something nice. She fights the urge to criticize me, and I know it really bothers her that HER mother (my grandma) gives my mom a hard time for straightening her hair, so she recognizes the pattern enough to not want to repeat it. My grandma thinks curls are THE THING and can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want them and makes a comment nearly every time they see each other. Therefore, my mom strives to be supportive of my hair choices, but sometimes makes this pursed-lips disappointed face, sighs, and touches my head like she's wistfully recalling when my hair was past my butt and took up HOURS of every day. I will never have hair that long again, sorry mom.
So, for the success of my new short 'do, I would like to thank the following people: Anne Hathaway and Ginnifer Goodwin for sporting the same style and being photographed from a thousand angles. The hairstylists I used to work for, and their techniques that I copied. Youtube. My boyfriend, for his epic patience. And C, for buzzing her own head and making it look like NBD.
Cutting my hair off was a feminist act, for me. So many people have discouraged me from going short, they said my face would look fatter (oh no!) or I would look like a lesbian (OH NO!), and those people were both assholes and wrong, because going shorter actually frames my face better, and sexuality can not be determined from hair length.
Moral of my story: If you want short hair: cut it. Or pay someone else to, but don't listen to the naysayers. It's hair, worst case: it'll grow back.