My mother cried the first time I cut my long blonde curls at the age of seven. This moment cemented my hair’s role in shaping my identity and the way I saw myself. As I grew up, it became apparent that my mood was reflected in my hair. In high school, angry and angsty, I chopped off my hair à la Natalie Imbruglia. You remember her, don’t you?
Six years after I sported my one-hit-wonder hairdo, I was struggling through my last year of college while simultaneously floating in and out of bad relationships. So I went blonde one cold night in Philadelphia at my friend’s apartment.
The reactions I got to both looks were polar opposites. In high school when I had short hair, I was called a lesbian and a Communist. Later in college with my long blonde hair, men flirted with me in bars because of my hair color. (Having spent my whole life as a brunette, I knew that was the only reason, trust me!)
Throughout my life, hair has defined my beauty or lack thereof both to others and to myself. But why? I struggle with this question daily when I look in the mirror and see my long, thick and (now) brown hair. Similar to my high school and college days, my hair still reflects my feelings except this time it’s happiness and contentedness.
I love my hair and wouldn’t want to cut it short any time soon. My hair is what makes me “me” and that’s just going to have to be okay with everyone else. I’ve gotten to the point in life where I can love my hair despite the judgment of others. My beauty is not tied to what others think or say about the length of my hair. And I think that’s pretty awesome.
Think about it: Why not reclaim our hair for ourselves? Why not stop worrying what value others put on our beauty? On our hair?