Last week, I chopped 5 1/2 inches of my hair off. Now to some, this may not seem like a big deal, and to be honest, it really didn’t end up being one, at least not in a negative way. However, considering I had been growing my hair out since grade 3, this was a pretty big step for me. Growing up, I always wanted long, luscious locks. When I was little, I aspired to have flowing, beautiful hair like the dainty princesses and gorgeous mermaids I read about in stories.
However, as I grew older and started junior high, my long hair became less so a fulfillment of my inner 5 year old and more of a crutch in terms of my physical appearance. The thing is that I have tons of hair. Like a lot. So much hair. When I had longer hair, this meant that everyone was amazed by the sheer amount of keratin that came out of my scalp. As narcissistic as it may sound, the constant compliments and positive feedback I received about my hair from others really did a lot to raise my self esteem, but maybe not in the healthiest way. I began to see my hair as something that defined me, made me different and distinct. Although I wasn’t the most confident in other aspects of my physical appearance, I always had my hair to make me special and I invested a lot of my self worth into this aspect of myself.
The mistake in this way of thinking is that I became very close minded as to what I expected of my outwards appearance, extremely reluctant to try anything different or new in regards to my hair for the longest time. It took me months to even convince myself to get something as simple and non-threatening as layers. I also felt that while I enjoyed the positive attention I received towards my hair, it really limited me as I was absolutely convinced that if I were to cut my hair, nothing about how I looked would be interesting or beautiful to others anymore (yay insecurites!). I also have a pretty round face shape and there seemed to be so many rules surrounding what “suits” people with less defined bone structure, and in my mind, short hair was definitely a no no for people with my face type.
So what changed? After all of this unnecessary value I put into this one tiny facet of my manifestation, what inspired me to just chop it all off? Well even though it was sort of a snap judgement one day, I do feel like it was a long time coming. With some more recent developments, I’ve come to understand the flaws that come with pouring most of your self love and significance into a single element of yourself. It’s unhealthy and limiting, and I truly do feel like I missed out on the important experience of exploring my look and appearance when I was younger. The fact of the matter is that I’m a multi-faceted human with so much more to offer than just some strands of protein that come out of my head. I have passions, quirks, interests, talents, and idiosyncrasies — those more meaningful and personal elements of my personality are more important to me now than my hair ever was and I’m so glad I’ve progressed onwards from that point. In terms of my confidence in my physical appearance, I’ve also come a long way and I am able to appreciate my body and features for what they are, accepting myself rather than hiding behind some odd disguise.
Overall, yes, cliche as it may be, I found the process of implementing this change to my hair to be so completely liberating. I love the feelings of renewal and revitalization that came with letting go of all of those stigmas, falsehoods, and sentiments I had been clinging on to for so long. Like I said, it turned out to not even be as big of a deal as I had always made it out to be, and maybe you’re reading this and thinking “jeez, what a drama queen”, but that’s ok! Maybe I am being dramatic but hopefully I still got my point across. My story was about hair, but yours doesn’t have to be. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put value or self worth into your own appearance, it is completely valid and important to have parts of your physical manifestation or personality that make you feel happy or unique. Instead, reserve the choice to define and appreciate these aspects of yourself and try not to let how you present yourself ever define you or your self worth.
[featured image // source]