I always said I was going to do it. I swore that I would in my old age. I threatened to when I was under immense stress and pressure. These were, of course, only words until I actually did it in April 2021.
At 21 years old, I cut off all my hair — and I don’t have a single regret.
A spur of the moment decision and a razor to the back of my head rendered me both stylish and free — emancipated from social constructs that have prevented me from doing this sooner.
My hair and I have not had the best relationship. The feel of my hair on my shoulders and back gave me claustrophobia and an irrational inability to think. On most days, I would throw my frustratingly damaged ends up in a sloppy bun. My hair was an inconvenience, a mere afterthought in my morning routine.
This was not just a haircut. Nay, this was an emotional shedding. A transformation of my tresses and transcendental spirit.
The image of a woman with long hair has long been a symbol of fertility and sexual desirability in popular culture. Long hair on a woman is associated with femininity, youth, vitality, etc.
However, my femininity is not defined by the length of my hair. Let me say that again: Your femininity is not defined by the length of your hair. Nor is it defined by its color, texture or style.
You are a powerful force to reckon with no matter what you look like. You can challenge the status quo and still look cute as heck doing it. You do not have to live up to a standard if you feel that it does not serve you.
Cutting off all my hair taught me about gender expression, self-love, discomfort, patience and beauty.
I cut my hair because it was a part of a person that I no longer identified with. This me, the “before” me, had seen and been through some hard stuff — she deserved to let some of it go.
If you are a female-identifying individual in your 20s, I would encourage you to make the “Big Chop.” I cannot promise you the same magical experience that I had, but I can guarantee that you will inevitably grow as a person. And, hair grows back.
“You can’t take it with you,” the stylist joked as her scissors flung a chunk of my hair into my lap. “No,” I thought and smiled to myself, “I can’t.”