I wrote this post a few months ago, unsure of what I’d ever do with it. I had been sitting in my cousin’s salon chair for a trim, thinking about all of the times I cut my hair for more than just the sake of cutting my hair. All of the times I cut my hair as an act of shedding the past, the hurt, and moving forward.
A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.
A few months shy of our big wedding celebration, I cut all of my hair off.
At that point in time, it was below the middle of my back, as I had let it grow out since its last big chop.
Everyone thought I had lost my mind. Tradition always has women growing their hair for whatever hairstyle they want to have on their special day.
And until today, I never really told anyone why, other than – I needed a change.
The day I did it, I sat in my cousin’s chair for what had been an appointment for just a trim. I looked at her in the mirror after she asked how much we were taking off, and told her:
“To my chin.”
She asked if I was sure, and I nodded. Then she got to work cutting off the several inches of hair.
That hair needed to go. In those strands held ugly parts of my past. Parts that, because I had been letting my hair grow, stayed with me for far too long.
And they were not coming into this next chapter of my life, a chapter that was supposed to be fresh, new, and happy.
On to the salon floor went two abusive relationships, a sexual assault, long nights filled with uncertainty as my depression was kicking my ass, stretches of loneliness…
This was the second time in my life that I performed this act. After leaving my first abusive relationship, I ducked into the salon across from the place I was working at the time and asked the owner to give me a similar cut, to my chin (it was just below my shoulders at the time).
I had just read a piece in a magazine earlier that day, about a woman who did something similar at the beginning of a new relationship. Shed over a foot of hair for her new beginning, and she spoke of how free she felt after finally cutting what she called “dead weight” from her being.
Walking back across the street to my job that day, I felt lighter, and not just from the loss of a few inches of my super thick hair. Inside I felt lighter. I felt more hopeful. I felt brand new. Ready to tackle life ahead of me.
But… it’s just hair.
To some? Yes, it is just hair. Something to cut, color, grow, style, and think nothing of.
To others, changing hair is a symbol of moving forward. Letting go. Starting over. A part of their identity.