I’ve had short hair for about as long as I can remember. Looking through baby pictures or photos of me as a toddler always reveals a hairstyle that either resembles a bob or just barely grazes my shoulders. In the short history of my life, there is a marked absence of Rapunzel’s long locks.
Recently, I (and most fashion guides) have noticed a movement as women dye chop off their hair to various colors and lengths and styles, almost reminiscent of the “flapper girl” styles of the 1920’s. Just as that decade last century experienced a social upheaval, so are we. It seems that everyone is redefining where they fit in society and taking visible risks with their follicles as well. What was once considered avant-garde is simply street fashion now.
Needless to say, I was initially ecstatic. It was so exciting to welcome my friends to the “short hair club,” to rejoice with them about the ease of washing and drying hair. If I asked them why they decided to go short, a lot of them confessed that they just wanted to try something new.
I realized that I, too, wanted to try something new. I’d experimented with almost every bob my hairstylist suggested: with bangs, without bangs, straight cut, a-line, asymmetrical, layered, single length–need I continue? Being “that girl with the short hair” had become a part of my identity, and I used my lack of locks as a shield, as my quick and easy way to set myself apart.
At a point, everyone started asking me if I’d ever had long hair. My mom even wondered just how I would look, but I had long ruled out the possibility of growing mine out. Whenever my hair reached the awkward “in between” stage, I proclaimed that long hair did not suit my oval face and promptly visited my barber of choice. I cut my hair out of fear. I didn’t want to wait to see the promised change, and an impatient girl is never friends with time.
But when my friends chopped off their hair, most of them decided to donate it. I wanted to donate my hair. The problem was that I didn’t have enough hair to donate.
And so came a reevaluation of my priorities and my motivations. Who knows if in a few months I’ll change my mind again, since growing out hair does not provide the same instant relief and gratification as one quick cut. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll step out of my comfort zone. Here’s to hoping.