Friday, 18 September 2015

A Little Bit More Than Just A New 'Do

"Since the disintegration of her parent's marriage she'd only loved two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing" 

- 500 Days of Summer

*


I'm 7 years old. 

I've been excited to turn 7 ever since I could remember, because my birthday is the 7th October, and it made neat, tidy sense to turn 7 on the 7th in my already chaotic mind.

I loom over those 7 little candles, my friends around me, sing-shouting in the tuneless way children do, and when they finish I squeeze my eyes closed and make a wish before blowing out those candles.

"I wanna be skinny and blonde and beautiful." 

Whether it was from Disney princesses, from my best friend Abbie - who's long golden hair she made a point to remind me daily that I didn't have - or maybe even at a tender young age from already being lead to believe that this is what all girls needed to be happy - I made that wish. And not just when I was 7. Annually, on my 8th, my 9th, my 10th... I made that same wish over and over again.

In fact, I'm pretty sure it was up until I was about 17 that it actually changed - along with some other important things in my life - which lead me to silently repeat I just want to be happy whilst blowing out those candles.


Throughout childhood, teenhood and pretty much for eternity, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that hair is more important to a girl than any man could attempt to empathise with. Arguably because we've been conditioned into believing it's our duty to comply with where it should be left, where it should be removed, and uphold our responsibility to make it look 'good.' But that's a debate for another day.

Personally for me, and no doubt countless others, having the longest hair as possible was always the aim. I'd spend hours researching growth supplements, swap stories in the girls toilets about what homemade hair masks people were using and even went through a stage of dousing my hair with ice water after showering because I once read Eva Longoria claimed that's what made her hair so shiny.

When the time came for haircuts, I'd kick up such a fuss, insisting split-ends weren't a thing and hold up my thumb and forefinger a microscopic distance apart, then watch the snippets of hair pool around my feet with mounting anxiety.

University was the first time I bleached my hair, resulting in an unsightly all-over brass colour that no amount of lilac toner shampoo could correct. With my first dabblings in blogging, my instagram feed was full of ethereal, organic hippy girls happily posing with their acai bowls, post-surf beach waves down to their navels and glamorous fashion bloggers flaunting their pastel dip-dyed mermaid locks, and I was suckered into forking out literally hundreds of pounds on various products that promised to make my hair grow, even spending £50 shipping over some special shampoo from Canada that smelled like burning Plasticine. 


It's funny because I look back on photos from then and I'm like holy shit, my hair was so fucking long, but at the time, I always felt like I had this shitty mid-length hair that never seemed to grow. I think my obsession with having long hair actually gave me a kind of dysmorphia about it.

Overall, what I'm trying to get at here, is that having long hair has always been scarily fucking important to me. Because I needed it so badly. It was my protection. Being able to hide inside this big, thick, wavy of mass around my face was so important to me because underneath it all, I was so insecure about everything else. In my eyes, long hair equaled pretty, and pretty was something I so desperately needed to be.

And it was only as recently as about a month ago, that I realised all this.

Just one of the man life-changing things I learnt in New York City, I looked into the mirror, lifted a strand of hair - the ends of which had probably sprouted from my scalp around that 7th birthday - and letting it fall limp against my face, I felt a sudden and complete liberation of an epiphany that I'd never been able to fathom before.

Not only did I not need it any more, I didn't want it.


'Men won't find you attractive without long hair!' The girl in me wailed, and I smiled with a genuinely thrilling 'I know.' Snip snip. 'It'll make you look fatter because your torso will be more exposed!' Snip snip. 'Oh well, at least I ain't fooling anyone right?' Snip snip. 'But... But... you won't be PRETTY!' She howled, and I paused, scissors aloft as a half-sympathetic smile spread across my face. 'I don't need to be pretty for anyone any more.' I said, grabbing a fistful of my hair. 'I'm ready to regain control of myself now, for me.'  

Snip.

Before I went away, I never, ever could have imagined being happy with having short hair. Sure, the radical notion to lop it all off came every once in a while, but I quickly shooed away the thought, dreading the instant and irrevocable regret I know I'd feel if I did.

But a month ago, my hair went from just above my navel, to not even touching the tops of my shoulders. I knew it couldn't happen in a salon, it had to be by hand - there was something carnal and ritualistic about amateurishly hacking off my hair with friends in a candlelit kitchen.

  And since then I haven't felt one single pinch of regret. I truly do not think I have ever been more confident and liberated within myself. 

And to anyone reading this is thinking, Jesus Christ how shallow, all this over getting a haircut?

You clearly do not understand the intense psychological bond between one girl and her hair.






53 comments :

  1. Well, I admire you. I think it looks goddamn sexy and just overall magnificent. Unfortunately, intensely curly hair is not something that agrees with being short, so I have to put up with that awkwardly shitty mid length stuff. ;) xx

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  2. YOU LOOK INCREDIBLE. I did exactly this two years ago, but now I'm in the position where I'm looking back at my long locks needing them back again. I guess us girls never know what we really want!

    www.ohjanuary.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thanks girl! I'm sure I'll change my mind and be desperate for a change in like 3 weeks haha x

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  3. I've always hated the idea that a woman wasn't attractive unless she had long hair. It's so archaic. Just one more thing that teaches women from a young age that all that's important is that they be pretty. Personally, I find short hair very liberating! I constantly alternate between mid-length hair and getting so tired of it I get it chopped to my shoulders again. I know it's not the point, but your hair seriously does look SO good like that.

    xx Alyssa — fragments of memories

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    1. Couldn't agree with you more yet it's so hard to shake off as you grow up. Short hair is for sure they way forward, thank you for the compliment! x

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  4. I love your short hair! It suits your look.. I definitely prefer mine now I've cut it all off. I always felt rank because I had shit hair compared to everyone else and I wanted it to be long and feel beautiful. But I had someone tell me the other day my hair game had peaked since I opted for the chop haha.. All hail the bob!

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    1. Haha yesssss same here! If anyone said anything before I'd be like this? nooo it's horrid I hate it but now I'm like YASS QUEEN - all hail the bob! x

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  5. Your hair looks amazing! I love it short! Really suits you! I've had mine cut to my shoulders, and I really don't like it. But my hair doesn't grow fast so! x

    www.beckieeschle.com

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  6. I love this SO MUCH as a girl whose gender presentation was a pinpoint for anyone who wanted to be mean to me as a kid. I wore baggy clothes and had a little mushroom of buoyant blonde hair, then hair to my shoulders I never brushed, then short and spiky hair, then Noel Edmunds hair that I hated, and at high school I felt like the ugliest boil ever and it was half due to my hair that just never looked nice at any length, or rather it always gave me away for the messy and adventurous little tomboy I would always be.

    I shaved my head aged 17 and I HATED it but it was one of the best things I've ever done, and I explicitly did it to test myself. At some point after that I just didn't care any more. About being ugly, about being feminine, about being attractive. I didn't tell myself I wasn't ugly, I told myself YEAH, I'M UGLY, AND UGLY IS GREAT, I AM UGLY AND COOL. Or something. These days I'm growing my hair as long as possible just because it's one thing I've never done with my hair. It's never been past the nipple. It's almost there now though. But I don't care for products and I don't care if I have hella split ends (which I do, actually I kinda like them, they remind me of fiber optics).

    I love my hair, I love your hair. Cool.

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    1. Haha I absoloutely love this comment! My friend shaved her head when she was 18 and I was always so envious she had the balls to do it... maybe that'll be my next thing! x

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  7. I actually love you a little bit for sharing this post.
    A long time ago, most of my hair fell out (toooooo much bleach) and I had all these thoughts like you about how I deperately needed to grow it, I NEEDED long hair etc.
    And at some point (after I'd been growing it for several years) I just thought no and snipped off my ponytail.
    My hair is quite long again now but it's nowhere near as important anymore.
    It feels so wonderful and refreshing to read these words coming from someone elses head.

    Thank you. x

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  8. Also, your hair looks phenomenal! <3

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jicsi, and I'm so glad you get what I mean! x

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  9. This was such a beautiful post to read! Your new hair looks wonderful on you, it suits you so much! x

    Check out my blog <3 | ANASOFIACHIC
    @anasofiachic

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  10. Your hair looks great, but healthy also! I went from shining red to white, and whilst I loved the white, my hair was waaaaay too thin to hande the bleach and it pretty much died and went to heaven. I'm a big short hair fan so I don't mind having to keep lopping it off!
    It is so strange how it's ingrained that guys don't like short hair, but I've come to the conclusion that guys really really really don't know what they like and what they do like! ......we can have fun looking like Blondie whilst they sit and try to figure it out! xxxxxxx

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    1. Thank you Jess! Honestly I am so grateful that my hair seems indestructible... the amount of trauma I've put it through is astronomical haha - hair masks are my saviour! I couldn't agree with you more, I'm over trying to impress gross boys too haha x

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  11. This might be the best post I've read in ages. The confidence that was portrayed through your words was incredibly empowering, and sexy. Also, can I just add that you hair was incredible? xx

    www.essibell.blogspot.com

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    1. Ahhh yes what a win! Thank you Jess, you da bomb x

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  12. At the beginning of the year I cut all my long hair off and donated it to charity so it could be used to make wigs for children suffering hair-loss. I cherished my long hair ridiculous amounts (probably due to the stereotypical views of 'beauty' that were instilled in me from an early age) but at the same time being able to cut my beloved hair off and hold it tightly in my hand as one giant plait felt liberating. It was as if I was free from those standards of beauty that had been etched into my brain since I was a young girl.
    So, I can totally understand the psychological bond that you can create for your hair. But also, how god damn bad-ass and free you feel for being able to cut it all off, disentangle yourself from those naive standards of beauty and stick a middle-finger up to anyone who begs to differ :)
    Tasmin | Grandiose Days

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    1. yes yes YES! Girl you've absolutely nailed it on the head and also you are a complete badass and inspirational person for what you did x

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  13. hi katie, had a similar "awakening" a few years back, not with hair, but with makeup. a guy couldn't for the love of god admit that he'd fallen for me - just because I didn't fit in his "beauty standards of women". he actually said that he couldn't date me because I'm not as pretty as the girl he used to date. after that, I was like, fuck this shit, I'm not playing along anymore and haven't worn makeup on a daily basis since.
    long story short - I know where you're coming from. you just gotta rock your own style!

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    1. What an absolute prick! Yes girl you show him! Thank you so much for this x

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  14. I just across your blog within the past few days, and I will be looking forward to every one of your posts. They are all great, this one in particular. It's strange how much hair can mean to us — having a lot of it or a little. I recently cut my hair from chest-length to chin-length. Since I was 16 I had always been positive that I would never have short hair again, but I chopped it off and didn't feel a thing, because like you said, I didn't need it anymore. I realized the other qualities I had that made me beautiful, inside and out. I loved the 500 Days of Summer quote. I loved the mention about having a sort of dysmorphia about hair length. I loved this entire post from beginning to end.

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    1. Welcome! This is such a wonderful comment to receive thank you so much and I'm really glad I made a good first impression! Honestly it's the best thing I've ever done and I never thought I'd be happy with it but it's really surprising how liberating it is x

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