Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This was a long time coming. I had been thinking of cutting my hair for months, maybe a year. But I only had the urge every now and then, so I waited. And waited. And finally my hair reached my elbows, and I always had it tied up in a bun to get it out of the way. Realizing it was finally long enough to do something useful, I knew that I didn't just want to trim a few inches to get it to my "ideal" length, I wanted to cut enough off to donate. My thinking was that if I was going to cut 4 or 5 inches anyways, why not 12, if it could be "recycled" and do some good? But it took me a while to reach the point of readiness.

After I got permanent residence and began to look for work, I decided it was time to cut my hair. Following the instructions on Pantene Beautiful Length's website, I prepped my hair and gathered it at the nape of my neck. In the moment before I made the first cut, tears sprang to my eyes and I realized the connection between hair and identity, and how long those 12 inches had been a part of me. I took a deep breath, told myself that it would grow back, and cut. Cut after cut, until it seemed like I had made a hundred cuts. By the end, I was hacking it off without much precision, as I tried to free myself from the tenacious last strands. At last the elastic-banded foot of hair was separated from me, and suddenly it became hard to believe that my hair had really been so long. Looking in the mirror, I saw my hair at a length it had last been about 14 years before. Freshly cut and still uneven, the change made me feel more sassy. More awake.

The next day, I straightened my naturally wavy/curly hair so I could even it out more easily. Since the back part was much shorter than the front (because of the way it had to be cut in the pony tail), there was a lot of work to do. Instead of going to a salon, I stubbornly determined I would make it look good on my own. After some time, it was even and looked about the same level of quality as when I go to an inexpensive, walk-in salon.

I like my new look and have had positive feedback, but I don't think it's the optimal length for my hair type because my wave-curls seem to do much better at a longer length, when they have more weight to keep the poofiness down. However, I do think the change was exactly what I needed and I am enjoying the feeling of possibility these days.

PS. Pantene Beautiful Lengths only requires at least 8 inches for a donation. I had some split ends, and just wanted to give more to make sure they definitely had plenty of use-able hair.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I'm so impressed. Partly at your ability to have hair that long... mine always peters out somewhere below my shoulders. But mostly at your being able to just cut it off yourself. That is brave! I'm sure it looks fantastic!