real life

'Why I chopped all my hair off after 20 years of messy buns and lost elastics.'

PSA: this story is about a haircut.

I’ve had all of my hair chopped off. I have the shortest, most radical haircut I have put on top of my forehead for over 20 years. I’ve been wearing one of those messy ponytails for decades. DECADES.

That’s a lot of lost hair elastics and messy buns and occasional hair out with layers around the face (crazy, I know).

This year my hair became so much bigger than my hair. I kept returning to it and thinking about it. I kept catching my reflection in the mirror and thinking, who is that 40 something woman stuck in a lazy hair timewarp from when she was 24? I kept wondering what does it say about me that I have the same hairstyle as my teen and tween daughters? I kept thinking, who thinks this much about their hair.

Oh my god, it's not in a ponytail. The before shot.

 Then I started to hate it. I started to feel I was stuck. I started to think I’m becoming frightened of doing things differently. And when you become frightened of doing things differently I think your mind begins to close like those very slow elevator doors.

I never want those doors to shut. I want to be 75 and letting every single new and wonderful idea in.

So I finally did it. After the scouring of images in the dark night and scrolling over Tilda Swinton too many times. After watching The Night Manager and falling in love with Elizabeth Debicki
I stopped being so frightened. I stopped looking back. I stopped clinging to … to … hair!
I know it’s only hair. I know it grows back. But women have a funny relationship with their hair. It’s comforting. It’s familiar. There’s something about chopping it off that we make into a beauty mountain. Is it that we don’t feel feminine without it? Is it just too big a risk? Do we worry too much about what other people think? Do our partners “like us better” with longer hair?

You know you've made a drastic change when your hairdresser's floor resembles a small Poodle.

Everyone will have different answers to those questions. But I feel lighter, cleaner, newer. I'm wondering how many more elements of my life I'm clinging onto for no good reason.

I’m already contemplating the next thing to take me out of my comfort zone: training for a half marathon, being a foster parent to babies who need short term emergency care, writing letters to friends overseas instead of emailing, ocean swimming. I said I’m contemplating.
It’s just hair. Or is it?