It was nearly six years ago when I first chopped my very long locks for an edgy bob, followed by an even more edgy pixie cut just a few days later, despite my stylist urging against it at the time. The year was 2012, I had just broken off an engagement…okaaay! scratch that, I was dumped because I was too chicken to break-up with someone I kept pushing away, so naturally there was this sense of freedom loving rebellion that prompted my decision to chop it ALL off and DO IT NOW! Nevertheless, it turned out to be one of the best impetuous decisions I have ever made and luckily short hair quite suited me. I loved the attention it/I received, the compliments and I never grew tired of hearing “Oh my God, I wish I could carry short hair like you!” Now in 2018, after numerous self-imposed changes (i.e. changing jobs, going to live in London for a Masters, changing career focus/industries, dating purely for fun, to name a few), I am back to my medium length long hair. And while I find myself terribly missing the effortlessly chic short-hair maintenance routine, I am strangely also yearning for that loud sense of “here I AM” I had with my pixie cut. Was it the cut? Was it my life in general at the time? Was it me proverbially ‘cutting’ the break-up out of my life? The questions are endless.
It is true that women use haircuts to symbolically hint at change; there is even a famous Coco Chanel quote that states “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” However, in seeing that quote now I’m puzzled because yes, I have made a lot of changes, but I still want to continue change many things in my life. The only difference is and this is so unlike for me to say, I want changes that create more meaning and stability in my life, all the while having a strong sense of “here I AM” and maintaining my freedom loving rebel nature. It has been about four months since I first began contemplating this need for hair change. I still haven’t made any hair changes. But I suppose I am rebelling in a different way, by not giving into this idea that I need to change hair to make change happen. I love Chanel’s quote because I have been there, but I know many women that have had the same hair since Middle school, and they too have had their share of change, adversity and heartbreaks. Comparatively, men also go through all these changes, but I don’t see too many blogposts dedicated to men shaving their heads or deliberately growing head or facial hair out post break-up. Regardless, the question remains for me, must I chop my hair off again to get that sense of “here I AM,” I have evolved and that is that?
As I was settling into writing this post about hair change, I came across “Why I Cut My Hair” yet another great post on ‘change’ and ‘hair.’ Within this post, Ella Dawson who loved her thick ‘lion’s mane,’ felt liberated after she chopped her hair to redefine herself from the long haired ex-girlfriend who was living on past validations, to a brand-new woman who didn’t need any validation from her former flames. It dawned on me that I was at a pivotal time in my life again, only this time it wasn’t about a personal break-up, rather it was this professional break-up I was dealing with. These days I am feverishly job hunting after: quitting a corporate job in Healthcare business development, finishing a full-time Master’s in Fashion Business and learning that I wanted to pursue a career in communications. I wanted to make this leap from what I was doing to what I wanted to do, but I was facing rejection, resistance and challenges, much like in a post break-up period where you want to move forward in life, however there is work to be done to remove yourself from past’s grip/hold.
This professional vs. personal break-up comparison really hit the nail on the head for me and I realized sometimes cutting hair for women is about matching what has changed on the inside to go with what is projected externally, while other times and in my case, it was a matter of impulsively changing the external so the internal received the message to MOVE ON! loud and clear. Additionally, for me it was also a matter of creating a distraction because the time I would spend on trying to fit into this new bolder character I created, is the time I’d lose on mourning over loss of love. As for my desire to get back that feeling of being fresh, super confident and edgy, I have decided to think like the men and women that don’t necessarily make extreme external changes, but instead continue to focus on making changes internally, more quietly. Frankly not only does this approach go against my true nature, it is also extremely uncomfortable for me to be still and not nudge change along. Right now, I couldn’t even advocate this approach because it really sucks in the short-term, but I strongly sense it to be far more impactful in the long-run.